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S. Res. 202, Amendment (in the nature of a substitute) to investigate interstate gambling and racketeering activities, May 2, 1950

In January 1950 Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee introduced a resolution that the Senate Committee on the Judiciary investigate racketeering in interstate commerce, but the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce also claimed authority for such an investigation. Kefauver amended his resolution to propose a special committee comprising members of both standing committees.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

S. Res. 202, Amendment (in the nature of a substitute) to investigate interstate gambling and racketeering activities, May 2, 1950

Gambling and Racketeering

Facing a crime surge after World War II, local officials requested help from Congress. The Senate’s Judiciary and Commerce committees vied to tackle the issue. Finally a vice-presidential, tie-breaking vote passed an amended resolution by Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee to create a Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce. In 1950 and 1951 the five-member committee investigated gambling and organized crime in fourteen cities. Its televised hearings raised public awareness of crime syndicates, led to more effective local law enforcement, and enhanced the political profile of committee chairman Kefauver.