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About Investigations | Selected List

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1859–1860 Harper's Ferry

Committee: Select Committee to Inquire into the Facts of the Recent Invasion and Seizure of the United States Armory at Harper's Ferry
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 Conduct of the Civil War

Committee: Joint Committee on the Conduct of the 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 Ku Klux Klan Activities in North Carolina

Committee: Select Committee to Investigate Alleged Outrages in the Southern States
Resolution passed: January 19, 1871
Chairman: John Scott (R-PA)
Investigation of Ku Klux Klan activities in North Carolina.

1885–1886 Railroad and Water Interstate Transportation Regulation

Committee: 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 Titanic Disaster

Committee: Subcommittee of the Committee on Commerce
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 Contributions to Presidential Election Campaigns of 1904 and 1908

Committee: Committee on Privileges and Elections—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 Lobbying Activities

Committee: Committee on the Judiciary
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 Teapot Dome

Committee: Committee on Public Lands and Surveys
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 Wall Street Practices

Committee: Committee on Banking and Currency—the Pecora Committee
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 Air Mail and Ocean Mail Contracts

Committee: Special Committee to Investigate Air Mail and Ocean Mail Contracts
Resolution passed: February 25, 1933
Chairman: Hugo Black (D-AL)
Investigation into use of government mail subsidies; led to passage of Air Mail Act of 1933.

1934–1936 Munitions Industry

Committee: Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry—The Nye Munitions Committee
Hearings: September 1934, to February 1936
Chairman: Gerald R. Nye (R-ND)
Investigation of the manufacturing and sale of munitions and the economic circumstances of U.S. entry into World War I.

1935–1938 Public Utility Companies' Lobbying Activities

Committee: Special Committee to Investigate Lobbying Activities
Resolution passed: July 11, 1935
Chairman: Hugo Black (D-AL),1935–1937; Sherman Minton (D-IN), 1937–1938
Investigation of public utility company lobbyists.

1936–1940 Antiunion Practices

Committee: Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Civil Liberties—The 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 National Defense Program

Committee: 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.

1945–1946 Pearl Harbor Attack

Committee: Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack—The Pearl Harbor Committee
Hearings: November 1945 to May 1946
Chairman: Alben Barkley (D-KY)
Investigation of the attack at Pearl Harbor.

1949 "Five Percenters" Influence Peddling

Committee: Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments, Investigations Subcommittee
Hearings: August 8 to 26, 1949
Report: January 18, 1950
Chairman: Clyde R. Hoey (D-NC)
Investigation of influence peddling in defense contracts.

1950 Allegations Against State Department Employees

Committee: Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee—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 Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce

Committee: 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 General MacArthur's Dismissal

Committee: Committees on Armed Services and Foreign Relations
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 Communist Influence in Media and Government

Note: 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.
Committee: Committee on Government Operations, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations—The McCarthy Hearings
Report: January 25, 1954
Chairman: Joseph R. McCarthy (R-WI)

Note: The second phase involved the committee's investigation of Senator McCarthy's attacks on the army. These hearings were broadcast on national television.
Committee: Committee on Government Operations, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations—The Army-McCarthy Hearings
Hearings: April 22 to June 17, 1954
Report: August 31, 1954.
Acting Chairman: Karl E. Mundt (R-SD)

1957–1960 Labor Racketeering

Committee: Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor-Management Relations
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 Bobby Baker Case

Committee: Committee on Rules and Administration
Hearings: October and December 1963; February, October, December, 1964
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 Watergate

Committee: Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities—The Ervin 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 Intelligence Activities

Committee: Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities—The 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 CIA and the FBI.

1987–1989 Iran-Contra

Committee: Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition
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.

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