Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 11: Executive Department

Chapter 11. Records of the Government Operations Committee and Its Predecessors

Table of Contents

Records of the Government Operations Committee and Its Predecessors, 1814-1988 from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States

Committees discussed in this chapter:
Records of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department, 70th-82d Congresses (1927-52)

11.73 This committee was created on December 5, 1927, to replace the 11 expenditures committees that were terminated at that time.

Record TypeVolumeDates (Congresses)
Petitions and Memorials4 inches1931-33 (72d), 1947-52 (80th-82d)
Committee Papers125 feet1927-52 (70th-82d)
Bill Files9 feet1927-49 (70th-80th), 1951-52 (82d)
Total volume134 feet 
Committee Records Summary Table

11.74 Most of the petitions and memorials are calls for additional benefits for disabled veterans (72A-H3.1) and the implementation of various recommendations of the Hoover Commission (81A-H4.1).

11.75 War Department accountability forms for 1931-38 and ledger-type reports for 1939-42, constitute most of the committee papers before the 80th Congress. Similar forms for earlier periods are found in the records of the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department (see para. 11.45). Most of the committee papers for the full committee for the 1927-52 period consist of mandatory agency reports, legislative recommendations and reports submitted by the Comptroller General, and original messages and executive orders from the President.

11.76 The committee papers also include unbound minutes of committee meetings held in 1941-42 (77A-F12.3), 1943 (78A-F14.4) 1945-46 (79A-F13.3), and 1947 (80A-F6.4).

11.77 Hearings and investigations are documented in the committee papers as well. There are records pertaining to hearings on St. Elizabeths Hospital in 1928 (70A-F12.1); hearings on the National Archives in 1936 (74A-F13.2); hearings on the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Board in 1943 (78A-F13.2); a 1937 investigation of executive agency expenditures on publicity, travel, and reproduction work (75A-F14.1); and an investigation in 1948 of the effectiveness of Civil Service Commission investigations (80A-F6.4).

11.78 The committee papers also contain information on efforts in 1937-38 to reorganize the government (75A-F14.4), the work of the Hoover Commission and reorganization plans for 1946-50 (79A-F13.2, 80A-F6.7, 81A-F6.3, 81A-F6.6), and reorganization of the Armed Forces under the National Security Act of 1947 (80A-F6.4).

11.79 Much of the work of the Committee was accomplished by its subcommittees. In most instances the subcommittee records (104 ft.) include correspondence, memoranda, transcripts of hearings, minutes of meetings, reports, bills and resolutions with accompanying papers and exhibits, general administrative records and reference materials, investigative files, and questionnaires and exhibits.

11.80 While most of the subcommittee records are filed separately, the committee papers contain records related to a 1935-36 effort by a subcommittee to investigate the organization of all agencies with a view to reducing expenditures and increasing efficiency through consolidation and coordination of governmental activities (74A-F13.4).

11.81 Information about various reorganization plans are provided in the records of the Subcommittee on Executive and Legislative Reorganization (81A-F6.7, 82A-F6.5, 6 in.).

11.82 The records of the Subcommittee on Extra Legal Activities (2 in.) provide information on investigations of irregularities in the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Reserve Board, and other organizations (80A-F6.13).

11.83 The records of the Subcommittee on Federal Relations with International Organizations (3 ft.) relate to studies of international organizations and the cost of American participation in related programs, international narcotics control, inter-American cooperation, and efforts to create a department of peace (81A-F6.3, 81A-F6.7, 82A-F6.6).

11.84 The records of the Subcommittee on Government Operations (13 ft.) pertain to a wide range of investigations and studies, including those relating to the operations of the General Accounting Office, Government use of consultants and advisory committees, activities of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the War Housing Disposal Program (81A-F6.3, 81A-F6.7). Housing construction at Andrews Air Force Base, procurement practices, and the operations of various governmental housing programs and agencies were also monitored by the subcommittee (82A-F6.7).

11.85 The records of the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations (13 ft.) involve several studies and investigations, including those related to military procurement, disposition of war surplus property, and the operations of the Bunker Hill School of Aeronautics. (81A-F6.3, 81A-F6.7, 82A-F6.1, 82A-F6.8)

11.86 The records of the Subcommittee on Paroles (1 ft.) were created in the course of a 1947 investigation to determine why four of Al Capone's friends received early paroles (80A-F6.12).

11.87 The records of the Subcommittee on Procurement and Public Buildings (20 ft.) document its investigations into waste and fraud, and its attempts to improve efficiency and economy in government procurement and building construction and related operations (80A-F6.5, 80A-F6.14).

11.88 The records of the Subcommittee on Surplus Property (28 ft.) concern efforts by the War Assets Administration and other agencies to dispose of surplus property during the 1946-48 period (80A-F6.9, 80A-F6.11). Some of the records were created during the 79th Congress as part of the Select Committee to Investigate Disposition of Surplus Property. For additional information on the Select Committee see Chapter 22, paras. 22.127-22.130.

11.89 The records of the Subcommittee on Public Accounts (1 in.) are primarily administrative and are part of a series of records on subcommittees kept by the committee chairman (81A-F6.7).

11.90 The records of the Subcommittee on Publicity and Propaganda (12 ft.) document investigations held to determine the degree to which civil servants, particularly those in the Agricultural Adjustment Agency, Bureau of Reclamation, and Federal Security Agency, were attempting to shape public opinion (80A-F6.6, 80A-F6.15).

11.91 Information pertaining to various studies and investigations of the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations of the State Department is found in the records of the Subcommittee on the State Department (80A-F6.8, 80A-F6.16, 7 in.).

11.92 There are records of several special subcommittees for the 82d Congress (1951-52). They include those of the Special Subcommittee Investigating the Home Loan Board (82A-F6.2, 10 ft.), the Special Subcommittee Investigating House Construction in Alaska (82A-F6.3, 10 in.), and the Special Subcommittee Investigating the Veterans Administration (82A-F6.4, 5 in.).

11.93 The bill files of the 1930's contain information about efforts to create a department of national defense (72A-D6, 73A-D8, 74A-D12, 75A-D11), the Public Works Administration (72A-D6), the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (72A-D6), and several other agencies. There is also information about a public works function in Government (70A-D8, 74A-D12), the organizational placement and coordination of veterans affairs (70A-D8, 71A-D8, 74A-D12), and the 1932 and 1945-46 governmental reorganization plans (72A-D6, 79A-D12).

11.94 For the 1930's the bill files contain information about the committee's efforts to get contractors to name their subcontractors on Government-sponsored projects (72A-D6, 74A-D12, 75A-D11); to provide military pensions and disability compensation for World War I veterans (74A-D12); and to require Government agencies to purchase American manufactured goods (72A-D6), to give preference to American citizens in hiring (75A-D11), and to provide night differential pay (75A-D11).

11.95 The committee's effort to improve the economy, efficiency, and the integrity of the Government is also documented in the bill files. Included is information about attempts to regulate government-related travel (71A-D8, 75A-D11), improve records disposition (76A-D12), reduce Federal and congressional wages (72A-D6), provide for uniform cost accounting and reporting systems for executive agencies (73A-D8, 74A-D12, 75A-D11), improve Government statistics (74A-D12, 75A-D11), reduce the number of reports the public is required to submit to the Government (77A-D11), restrict nepotism in governmental appointments (74A-D12), limit the employment of more than one family member in the Government (74A-D12), and improve the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (78A-D9).

11.96 One of the largest collections of bill files is that dating from 1938 concerning H.R. 9848, which provided for the disposition of Army horses and mules. The legislation prompted a substantial number of letters from a wide variety of sources, including school children and Dale Carnegie (75A-D11).

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.