Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 22: 1947-1968 Lobbying Activities

Chapter 22. Records of the Select Committees of the House of Representatives

Table of Contents

Records of the Select Committees of the House of Representatives (1789-1988) from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committee records described in this chapter:

Select Committee on Lobbying Activities (1949-50)

Select Committee on:VolumeCongress (dates)
Lobbying Activities22 feet81st (1949-50)

22.154 During World War II and the immediate postwar years, there was a marked increase in efforts of outside individuals and groups to influence Congress with regard to legislation. One result of this activity was Title III of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. This section was entitled the Regulation of Lobbying Act; it required lobbyists to register with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate, to keep detailed financial records, and to file certain statements publicly disclosing information regarding the identity of contributors and amounts of the contributions. The continuing growth in lobbying activities and the need to monitor the effectiveness of the new law, led the House to establish the Select Committee on Lobbying Activities on August 12, 1949, to conduct a study and investigation of all lobbying activities. The committee was also directed to study efforts of Federal agencies to influence legislation. Frank Buchanan of Pennsylvania was appointed chairman.

22.155 The committee inquired generally into the role of lobbying in representative government, then proceeded to investigate the activities of particular organizations, including the United States Savings and Loan League, the American Enterprise Association, the National Economic Council, the Civil Rights Congress, and Americans for Democratic Action, in addition to its study of Federal agency activities. The committee sent questionnaires to Members of Congress; business, labor, and farm organizations; political scientists; journalists; and others. It held intermittent hearings from March to August 1950 and submitted several reports to the House. The presentation of the minority report marked the end of the committee's work (H. Rept. 3239, Pt. 2, 81st Cong., 2d sess., Serial 11385).

22.156 Records include transcripts of committee meetings held in executive session and of the committee hearings, and copies of the committee reports. All other records comprise a single, consolidated alphabetical file. Included are correspondence, memorandums, investigative reports, photostatic copies of materials from the files of persons and organizations being investigated, publications issued by such organizations, press releases, newspaper clippings, and replies to questionnaires. There are also vouchers and other administrative records of the committee.

22.157 Subjects covered by the records are the identity of lobbyists and lobbying groups, interrelationships among them, their expenditures, their sources of funds, and direct and indirect lobbying techniques.

22.158 There is a finding aid to the records of the committee.

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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.