Due to a special event taking place in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, September 18, there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol that day until approximately noon. The Capitol Visitor Center will remain open during this time, and guided tours in the Capitol Visitor Center will be available.

1792 Federal Fact Finders

Good government depends on good information. To get an accurate understanding of issues, congressional committees investigate. One goal of investigations is to uncover whether government agencies are performing effectively or whether new laws are needed.

The first congressional investigation, in 1792, was in response to news that Shawnee and Miami Indians had destroyed General Arthur St. Clair's army. The House formed a committee of inquiry, which asked for War Department papers. President Washington agreed—cautiously. The inquiry that followed blamed the War and Treasury departments for the defeat. Although the president's supporters prevented the House report from becoming public, the process firmly established the power of Congress to investigate.

"It was due to justice, to truth, and to the national honor, to take effectual measures to investigate the business thoroughly."
— Representative Fisher Ames of Massachusetts, 1792