SOURCE: HOW CONGRESS WORKS
“‘How Congress Works’ & ‘Senate Investigations’ will be my response to a comment written on the post, ‘Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States’. Instead of challenging a valid concern, I thought I’d bring the process of choice and conclusion in Congress and a selected list of investigations by the Senate Committees to the table. My point being… after looking at the sometimes labored and methodical process of passing a bill by Congress and the futures made or the end of futures decided by the Senate Committees, I would wager to say, not all Congressmen and Senators are in these elected positions just for the ‘GREEN’. ‘POWER’ can only be achieved if given by another person or persons. Two examples would be; out of fear and contentment.
The following paragraph is a response given by Robert F. Kennedy regarding a comment made by Senator Kenneth Keating.”
Soon after President Kennedy’s death, Robert Kennedy resigned as Attorney General and, in 1964, ran for the United States Senate from New York. His opponent, incumbent Republican Senator Kenneth Keating, labeled Kennedy a “carpetbagger” during the closely contested campaign. Kennedy responded to the attacks with humor. “I have [had] really two choices over the period of the last ten months,“ he said at Columbia University. “I could have stayed in – I could have retired. And I – my father has done very well and I could have lived off him. I tell you frankly I don’t need this title because I [could] be called General, I understand, for the rest of my life. And I don’t need the money and I don’t need the office space. Frank as it is – and maybe it’s difficult to believe in the state of New York – I’d like to just be a good United States Senator. I’d like to serve.”
A Selected List
1859-1860 Select Committee to Inquire into the Facts of the Recent Invasion and Seizure of the United States Armory at Harper’s Ferry (The Harper’s Ferry Inquiry)
Resolution passed: December 15, 1859. Report: June 15, 1860.
Chairman: James Murray Mason (D-VA)
Investigation of John Brown’s raid on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.
1861-1865 Joint Committee on the Conduct of War
Resolution passed: December 10, 1861. Report: May 22, 1865.
Chairman: Senator Benjamin Wade (R-OH)
Investigation of the executive branch’s conduct of the Civil War.
1871-1873 Select Committee to Investigate Alleged Outrages in the Southern States
Resolution passed: January 19, 1871. Terminated: March 12, 1873.
Chairman: John Scott (R-PA)
Investigation of Ku Klux Klan activities in North Carolina.
1885-1886 Select Committee to Investigate Interstate Commerce
Resolution passed: March 17, 1885. Report: January 18, 1886.
Chairman: Shelby Cullom (R-IL)
Investigation of railroad and water interstate transportation regulation; led to 1887 passage of Interstate Commerce Act.
1912 Senate Committee on Commerce,Subcommittee Hearings (Titanic Disaster Investigation)
Hearings: April 18, 19, 22, 1912. Report: May 28, 1912. Chairman: William Alden Smith (R-MI)
Investigation of the sinking of the H.M.S. Titanic
1912 Committee on Privileges and Elections, Subcommittee Hearings (The Clapp Committee)
Resolution passed: April 27, 1912. Hearings: June, October 1912.
Chairman: Moses E. Clapp (R-MN)
Investigation of campaign contributions during the presidential elections of 1904 and 1908.
1913-1917 Senate Committee on the Judiciary Special Lobby Investigation
Hearings: June to September 1913, January to July 1914. Report: July 16, 1917.
Chairman: Charles A. Culberson (D-TX)
Investigation of alleged lobbying activities in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.
1923-1924 Committee on Public Lands and Surveys (The Teapot Dome Investigation)
Hearings: October 22, 1923 to May 14, 1924. Report: June 6, 1924.
Chairman: Thomas J. Walsh (D-MT)
Investigation of government oil reserves in Wyoming leased to oilmen and developers.
1932-1934 Committee on Banking and Currency Investigation of Wall Street (The Pecora Wall Street Expose)
Hearings: April 11, 1932 to May 4, 1934.
Chairman: Peter Norbeck (R-SD), 1932-1933; Duncan U. Fletcher (D-FL), 1933-1936
Investigation of Wall Street banking and stock exchange practices; led to passage of the Securities Act of 1933, the Banking Act of 1933, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
1933 Special Committee to Investigate Air Mail and Ocean Mail Contracts. Resolution passed: February 25, 1933. Terminated: June 30, 1936.
Chairman: Hugo Black (D-AL)
Investigation into use of government mail subsidies; led to passage of Air Mail Act of 1933.
1934-1936 Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry (The Nye Munitions Committee)
Hearings: September 1934 to February 1936.
Chairman: Gerald P. Nye (R-ND)
Investigation of the manufacturing and sale of munitions and the economic circumstances of U.S. entry into WWI.
1935-1938 Special Committee to Investigate Lobbying Activities (Public Utility Companies Investigation)
Resolution passed: July 11, 1935. Terminated: June 16, 1938.
Chairman: Hugo Black (D-AL), 1935-1937; Sherman Minton (D-IN), 1937-1938
Investigation of public utility company lobbyists.
1936-1940 Education and Labor Committee, Subcommittee on Civil Liberties (Senate Civil Liberties Committee)
Hearings: April 10, 1936 to July 1, 1940.
Chairman: Robert M. La Follette, Jr. (R-WI)
Investigation of antiunion practices.
1941-1948 Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program (The Truman Committee)
Resolution passed: March 1, 1941. Last hearing: November 22, 1948.
Chairman: Harry S. Truman (D-MO), 1941-1945; James M. Mead (D-NY), 1945-1947; Owen Brewster (R-ME), 1947-1948. Investigation of defense contracts.
1949 Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments, Investigations Subcommittee (“Five Percenters” Investigation)
Hearings: August 8 to 26, 1949. Report: January 18, 1950.
Chairman: Clyde R. Hoey (D-NC)
Investigation of influence peddling in defense contracts.
1950 Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee Investigation of Charges by Senator McCarthy (The Tydings Committee)
Hearings: March 8 to June 28, 1950. Report: July 20, 1950.
Chairman: Millard E. Tydings (D-MD)
Investigation of alleged disloyalty by State Department employees.
1950-1951 Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce (The Kefauver Committee)
Resolution passed: May 3, 1950. Report: August 31, 1951.
Chairman: Estes Kefauver (D-TN), 1950-1951; Herbert R. O’Conor (D-MD), 1951
An investigation of organized crime in America. Many of the hearings were broadcast nationally on television.
1951 Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Relations Inquiry into MacArthur Dismissal (The MacArthur Inquiry)
Hearings: May 3 to June 27, 1951.
Chairman: Richard Russell (D-GA)
Investigation of the dismissal of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur and of U.S. policy in the Far East.
1953-1954 Senate Committee on Government Operations, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (The McCarthy Hearings) and (The Army-McCarthy Hearings). The investigations by this subcommittee can be divided into two distinct phases. The first consisted of a series of hearings conducted by Joseph McCarthy throughout 1953 regarding alleged Communist influence on the press and on government, including “The Voice of America,” the State Department’s overseas information centers, and the U.S. Army.
Report: January 25, 1954.
Chairman: Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI)
The second phase involved the committee’s investigation of Senator McCarthy’s attacks on the army. These hearings were broadcast on national television.
Hearings: April 22 to June 17, 1954. Report: August 31, 1954.
Acting Chairman: Karl E. Mundt (R-SD)
1957-1960 Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor-Management Relations (Labor Racketeering Investigation)
Resolution passed: January 30, 1957. Report: March 31, 1960.
Chairman: John L. McClellan (D-AR)
Investigation into corruption in the labor or management field, including in the Teamsters union. The committee heard from more than 1,500 witnesses over 270 days of hearings.
1964 Rules and Administration Committee (Bobby Baker Case)
Hearings: October and December 1963; February, October, December, l964. Report: July 8, 1964.
Chairman: B. Everett Jordan (D-NC)
Investigation of conflicts of interest and financial improprieties engaged in by Baker, who served as secretary to the majority until he resigned on October 7, 1963.
1973-1974 Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (The Watergate Committee)
Resolution passed: February 7, 1973. Report: June 27, 1974.
Chairman: Samuel Ervin (D-NC). Investigation of possible corruption in the 1972 presidential election campaign.
1975 Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (Church Committee)
Resolution passed: January 27, 1975. Report: April 29, 1976.
Chairman: Frank F. Church (D-ID)
Investigation into abuse of power in intelligence-gathering by the CIA and the FBI.
1987-1989 Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition (Iran-Contra Hearings)
Hearings: May 5 to August 3, 1987. Report: November 17, 1987.
Chairman: Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Investigation into alleged covert sales of military equipment to Iran and diversion of the proceeds to aid the Nicaraguan Contras.
This is an excerpt from Robert F. Kennedy’s eulogy for Martin Luther King Jr.
It is a work in progress.