Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 17
Committee records discussed in this chapter:
- Committee on Enrolled Bills (1789-1946)
- Committee on Audit and Control of Contingent Expenses of the Senate (1807-1946)
- Committee on Printing (1841-1946)
- Committee on the Library (1849-1946)
- Committee on Privileges and Elections (1871-1946)
- Committee on Rules (1874-1946)
- Committee on Rules and Administration (1947-1968)
- Committee on Rules and Administration (1969-1986)
History and Jurisdiction
17.1. This chapter describes the records of the Committee on Rules and Administration and of earlier standing committees that were responsible for matters concerning the rules of the Senate, legislative agencies and services, and a variety of administrative and clerical functions that support the Senate and its committees. These earlier committees include the Committee on Enrolled Bills, the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate, the Committee on Printing, the Committee on the Library, the Committee on Privileges and Elections, and the Committee on Rules. Three of these committees—Enrolled Bills, Printing, and the Library—either began as or had counterparts that were joint committees at some time in their histories. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (Public Law 79-601) terminated all of these standing committees except Rules and merged their jurisdictions under a renamed Committee on Rules and Administration.
17.2. From the first Congress onward, the Senate also created special and select committees to handle administrative and internal matters; for example, in the 20th century, several special committees investigated campaign expenditure and financing in Senate elections (see Chapter 18).
17.3. For a brief history of the Committee on Rules and Administration and its predecessor committees, see History of the Committee on Rules and Administration, (S. Doc. 27, 96th Cong., 1st sess. Serial 13232).
17.4. The Committee on Enrolled Bills was established as a joint committee on July 27, 1789, to assure the accuracy of bills as passed before they were sent to the President for his signature. Records of the joint committee were maintained by its Senate members. At the beginning of the 1st session of the 44th Congress (1875-77), the Senate established a separate committee to carry out its portion of the enrolling function, and a few months later, the House followed suit. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 abolished the Committee on Enrolled Bills and transferred the formal examination of all bills, amendments, and joint resolutions to the newly created Committee on Rules and Administration. Shortly thereafter, by S. Res. 55, 80th Cong., the function of enrollment of bills was transferred to the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, where it currently resides.
17.5. The records of the committee consist solely of memorandums of bills and resolutions examined, presented, and approved, and related registers, 1789-1941 (13 ft.). The memorandums have little research value, but do document the process by which bills were handled after they were signed by officers of both Houses. Registers used by the committee clerk for the period 1919-33 accompany the memorandums. There are no records of this committee for the 43d-65th Congresses (1873-1919), 74th Congress (1935-37), and 77th-79th Congress (1941-46). The actual enrolled bills, bearing the signatures of the Presiding Officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and of the President of the United States, are in enrolled acts and resolutions of Congress, 1789-1986 (195 ft.), in Record Group 11, General Records of the United States Government.
Records of the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate, 10th-79th Congresses (1807-1946)
17.6. The Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate was established on November 4, 1807, upon approval of a motion of John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts. The motion amended the rules of the Senate by requiring that "at the commencement of every session a committee of three members shall be appointed, whose duty it shall be to audit and control the contingent expenses of the Senate." Such a committee is not, however, mentioned again in the Senate Journal until the beginning of the 1st session of the 16th Congress, when, on January 3, 1820, the committee was mandated by rule XXX of the new rules of the Senate. For every Congress thereafter, a committee to audit and control the contingent expenses of the Senate was appointed. The duties of the committee grew to include all proposals for the withdrawal of funds from the contingent fund not otherwise provided by law, including funds for investigations, salaries of Senate employees, travel funds for Senators, rental and purchase of office machines, and maintenance of home State offices. Records of contingent expenses, such as account books and similar financial records, are located among the records of the Office of the Secretary of the Senate (see Chapter 20).
17.7. The records of the committee (1 ft.) are extremely fragmentary and most are for the years 1941-44. The records include committee reports and papers, 1817-47 (2 in.); committee papers, 1861-1944 (9 in.); petitions and memorials referred to the committee, 1829-83 (1 in.); records of resolutions referred to the committee, 1941-46 (part of 1 roll, 35mm microfilm—see records of the Committee on Rules and Administration, 81st Cong.); and minutes of committee meetings, 1942-46 (1 vol., « in.). Despite the small volume of records and the significant gaps in each series, there are several interesting items. Among these are a petition of reporters of Congressional proceedings of the Senate asking for accommodations that will enable them to fulfill their duties (25A-G4; see also 27A-D20, under various select committees, for a drawing of a proposed press gallery); drawings of proposed alterations to the Senate Chamber by architect Robert Mills (29A-D3); a petition from a hotel proprietor seeking $307 damages for costs he incurred when a resident, Senator William Upham of Vermont, died of smallpox in the hotel in 1853 (32A-H4); and a memorial of Henry Johnson to asking the Senate to examine his invention for recording Senate votes or "yeas and nays" (33A-H4). Most of the committee papers (8 in.) consist of subject files and printed Senate resolutions for the 77th-78th Congresses (1941-44), during the chairmanship of Scott W. Lucas of Illinois.
17.8. The Committee on Printing was established by Senate resolution on December 15, 1841, because of the growing feeling in the Senate that the subject of printing had, as aptly put in a report on S. 279, 27th Cong., "from an early period of the Government, ... engaged more time than comported with the public interest." All questions on the printing of Senate documents and reports, petitions and memorials, accompanying documents, and all papers except bills, resolutions, communications from State legislatures, and motions to print were to be referred to the Committee on Printing, but the coexistence of the Joint Committee on Printing rendered this practice less than absolute. In 1855, the procurement of maps and drawings accompanying documents was added as a committee responsibility. Until it was terminated at the end of the 79th Congress, the basic functions of the committee changed little. The Joint Committee on Printing was established in 1846 by Public Law 29-16 and continues to exist; its records are in Record Group 128, Records of the Joint Committees of Congress.
17.9. The records of the committee (25 ft.) consist of committee reports and papers, 1842-47 (1 in.); committee papers, 1849-1946 (22 ft.); petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1841-1944 (1 ft.); and dockets, 1909-19 (7 vols., 2 ft.). Most of the records date from 1883 to 1931.
17.10. The vast majority of the committee papers document the committee's approval of simple or concurrent resolutions calling for the printing of congressional publications. The records normally consist of the printing resolutions referred to the committee, and sometimes either the original or a copy of the source document, such as an executive communication or a Presidential message. There is no obvious way to determine why some documents are among the records of the committee and others are not. There are also a few legislative case files concerning such matters as working conditions at the Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (51A-F23, 55A-F23) and establishment of Government depository libraries (50A-F20, 51A-F23, 55A-F23). Beginning in the 57th Congress (1901-03), these files are arranged by docket number, and each consists of the cost estimate supplied by the Public Printer, the printing resolution, and, in some instances, the document to be printed and related papers. A case file may also include a communication from the Public Printer concerning paper contracts and other functions associated with the operation of the GPO (e.g., 58A-F23). The committee papers also include a report and accompanying captioned photographs, prepared by the U.S. Army, on the relief efforts following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (60A-F20). From 1901 to 1946, additional legislative case files relating to printing may be found in the series of papers accompanying specific bills and resolutions ("accompanying papers") (see Chapter 20).
17.11. Although there are very few petitions among the records of the committee, a number of them concern working conditions, wages, and management of the GPO (39A-H17, 43A-H18, 51A-J22, 53A-J27, 56A-J32, 60A-J117). Probably misplaced, but also among these records is a transcript of a hearing concerning an investigation of the Office of the Public Printer in 1909 (60A-J117). Other petitions and memorials referred to the committee include a printed memorial and related documents of the Convention of Iron Masters in Philadelphia, 1849, which describes many aspects of the U.S. iron industry (35A-H14); a memorial of Franklin Rives complaining about the decision to have the GPO publish the debates of Congress, the Congressional Record (46A-H18); and a petition of Clara Barton requesting that Congress print additional copies of a history of the Red Cross of Geneva (48A-H20).
17.12. Senate interest in a congressional library can be documented in the Senate Journal as early as 1800 when Congress passed an act to appropriate $5,000 for the purchase and maintenance of books under direction of a joint committee. This act was followed in 1802 by another act providing that future supervision of expenditures be carried out by a joint committee. In 1809, in accordance with this statutory requirement, a concurrent resolution authorized appointment of a joint committee, which reported bills during the next several Congresses. In 1843, the Joint Committee on the Library was recognized formally when both Houses adopted the joint rules of Congress, and, for the first time, the Committee on the Library appears in the Journal among other standing committees. While the listing of a committee on the library suggests that it was by this time a standing committee, later journals indicate that this committee met jointly with its counterpart in the House of Representatives, reflecting the unique status of the Library Committee. Beginning with the 31st Congress (1849-51), many petitions and memorials and at least one bill were referred to the Committee on the Library, actually to the Senate members of the joint committee. The separate Senate standing Committee on the Library was not established until the joint rules ceased to exist in 1876; thereafter, until 1946, when its jurisdiction was transferred to the newly established Committee on Rules and Administration, the Senate committee coexisted with the Joint Committee on the Library. Even after 1876, records of the joint committee are occasionally found among the records of the standing committee.
17.13. Records of the committee (9 ft.), including those joint committee records that have been filed with the records of the Senate, consist of committee papers, 1873-1946 (5 ft.); petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1849-1946 (3 ft.); minutes, 1909-33 (3 vols., 3 in.); and legislative dockets, 1911-46 (5 vols., 7 in.). There are occasional gaps in each of these series, the most significant being in the minutes, 1915-26 (64th-68th Congresses). Legislative case files for bills and resolutions referred to the standing committee, 1901-46, are in the series of papers supporting specific bills and resolutions (see Chapter 20). Other records of the Joint Committee on the Library are in Record Group 128, Records of the Joint Committees of Congress.
17.14. Committee papers consist of legislative case files, 1873-1901; Presidential messages and executive communications, many of which were printed; miscellaneous correspondence; and a few photographs supporting bills and executive communications. The records are arranged by Congress and in most instances thereunder into legislative case files and papers on miscellaneous subjects, which include correspondence, messages, and communications. Primary subjects of these records include the physical plant and collections of the Library of Congress, the U.S. Botanic Gardens, various works of art for the Capitol, and monuments on Federal property and in the District of Columbia. Included among the papers are correspondence of historian J. Franklin Jameson relating to his proposal to copy and publish the papers of the Virginia Company (50A-F13); a communication from the Army Chief of Engineers, including a photograph, providing a progress report on the construction of the Library of Congress, 1891-92; a subject file of correspondence and related records during the chairmanship of Frank B. Brandegee of Connecticut, including material on the U.S. Botanic Gardens, racially segregated eating facilities in the Library of Congress, and several proposed monuments (66A-F12.1, 67A-F13.1); correspondence between Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts and sculptor Daniel Chester French, and between Senator William M. Evarts and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (51A-F17); and records relating to a 1924 investigation of charges against the director of the U.S. Botanic Gardens (68A-F13). For the 68th Congress, there are also minutes of the Joint Committee on the Library (68A-F13). During the 1930's and 1940's, the records consist chiefly of annual reports of the Librarian of Congress and Archivist of the United States, other executive communications, and small amounts of correspondence.
17.15. Petitions and memorials referred to the committee concern a wide variety of specific subjects. Generally the petitions are arranged chronologically for each Congress, irrespective of subject. Among the records of this series are petitions relating to copyright law (32A-H10, 40A-H11, 42A-H12, 48A-H14), including two dated 1852 favoring an international copyright law signed by James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, Herman Melville, and William Cullen Bryant (32A-H10); two letters from painter Rembrandt Peale in 1858 relating to his equestrian portrait of George Washington (35A-H8); an 1869 petition from Mathew Brady, with related papers, asking Congress to purchase his collection of Civil War photographs (40A-H11.1); petitions from American sculptors in Rome dated 1884 requesting repeal of the tax on imported art (48A-H14.2); numerous demands during the mid-1890's for the removal of the statue of Pere Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit priest, missionary, and explorer, from Statuary Hall in the Capitol (54A-J20.1); and many petitions dated 1897 or 1898 supporting evening hours for the Library of Congress (55A-J19).
17.16. The Committee on Privileges and Elections was established by a Senate resolution approved March 10, 1871. Among the matters referred to the committee were contested elections for Senate seats, questions regarding credentials of Senators, financing of senatorial elections, and expenses of contestants in contested election cases. Prior to its creation, these matters had been referred either to a select committee or to the Committee on the Judiciary. The committee also considered most legislation proposing the direct election of Senators and some legislation concerning voting rights issues such as poll taxes and woman suffrage. Several Senate select and special committees also investigated Senate campaign expenditures. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 abolished the Committee on Privileges and Elections and transferred its jurisdiction to the Committee on Rules and Administration, which had a subcommittee on privileges and elections until 1977. A history of cases referred to this and other committees has been printed as Senate Election, Expulsion, and Censure Cases from 1793 to 1972 (S. Doc. 7, 92d Cong., 1st sess., Serial 12935-1).
17.17. The records of the committee (52 ft.) include committee papers, 1871-1946 (35 ft.); petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1871-1944 (16 ft.); dockets, 1871-1932 (5 vols., 6 in.); minutes, 1873-1946 (5 vols., 5 in., and part of 1 roll of 35mm microfilm); and "Examinations as to the matter of Hon. J. J. Ingalls at Topeka, Kansas," September 22-October 8, 1879 (1 vol., 1 in.). There are no committee papers for the 43d (1873-75) and 60th (1907-09) Congresses and no petitions for the 46th Congress (1879-81) and more than half of the Congresses after 1913. There are also gaps in the dockets and the minutes. The minutes for the 57th-63d Congresses (1901-15) are located in the docket volume covering those Congresses, and minutes for the second session of the 77th Congress through the 79th Congress (1942-46) are on one of two rolls of microfilm among the records of the Committee on Rules and Administration, 81st Congress (1949-50). Several series or parts of series from five committees are reproduced on the two rolls of microfilm.
17.18. The records of the Committee on Privileges and Elections are a rich source of information on many of the candidates for the Senate who were involved in contested elections and on Senators-elect whose credentials were challenged. Many of the earliest cases arose from disputes over the credentials of Senators elected to represent former Confederate States. The types of records relating to these and similar cases vary greatly, ranging from originals of records that were printed, such as transcripts of hearings, to very detailed, unpublished material. The volume of records on each case is also highly variable, from a single document to as much as 11 feet of records for a contested election. The following paragraphs describe selected cases for which the committee preserved substantial original documentation.
17.19. John J. Ingalls of Kansas, 46th Congress (1879-81): Senator Ingalls was an incumbent Senator whose reelection by the Kansas Legislature was marred by charges of bribery. Records (4 in.) of the investigation of these charges include a volume of minutes of committee meetings held in Topeka, KS, and subsequent records relating to Ingalls' claim for reimbursement of expenses in connection with the investigation (46A-E20, 47A-E20).
17.20. William Andrews Clark of Montana, 56th Congress (1899-1901): Clark was elected to the Senate by the Montana Legislature in 1899, but shortly thereafter he was charged with bribery and corruption. The committee investigated the charges and found that Clark was not entitled to the seat. Clark resigned before the Senate could act on a resolution proposing his expulsion. In March 1901, he was reelected and seated without incident. Records of the investigation consist of original transcripts of hearings, investigative files, exhibits, and indexes (56A-F31, 5 ft.).
17.21. Reed Smoot of Utah, 58th Congress (1903-5): Smoot's election to the Senate was challenged because he was affiliated with the Mormon Church, which was still strongly associated in the minds of many people with the practice of polygamy. The committee investigated the Smoot case for more than 2 years. A majority of the committee believed that Smoot was not entitled to a seat, but the Senate voted against his expulsion. The records consist of transcripts of hearings and subpoenas (58A-F24, 6 in.) and hundreds of memorials (11 ft.) supporting his expulsion because of the polygamist practices of the Mormon church (58A-J68, 59A-J97).
17.22. William Lorimer of Illinois, 61st and 62d Congress (1909-12): Lorimer was subjected to two Senate investigations of alleged bribery in connection with his election. The Senate agreed with the minority report of the committee that Lorimer's election was invalid. Records include Lorimer's printed brief, a volume of minutes of subcommittee meetings, a transcript of a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Union League Club of Chicago, a transcript of a Cook County (IL) Criminal Court proceedings in the case, People v. Erbstein, and various other exhibits (62A-F22, 1 ft.).
17.23. Robert M. LaFollette of Wisconsin, 65th Congress (1917-19): A group in Minnesota presented a resolution seeking LaFollette's expulsion from the Senate on the grounds of disloyalty and sedition because of a speech delivered at a large convention in St. Paul in 1917. Hearings were conducted but no action was taken by the Senate. Records (4 ft.) include original transcripts of hearings and a committee print (65A-F18), but consist mainly of numerous petitions and letters largely favoring his expulsion (65A-J50).
17.24. Henry Ford-Truman H. Newberry of Michigan, 65th-67th Congresses (1918-22): Records (3 in.) relating to this contested election include Ford's original petition charging his opponent with unlawful campaign expenditures and the exercise of undue influence in the conduct of the election (65A-F18). Subsequently, Newberry and others were indicted and convicted of violating the Federal Corrupt Practices Act, but the conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court. In January 1922, the Senate declared in a very close vote that Newberry was a duly elected senator, but the following November he resigned his seat. Committee papers for the 67th Congress contain several printed items (67A-F20).
17.25. George E. B. Peddy-Earle B. Mayfield of Texas, 68th Congress (1923-25): Peddy challenged Mayfield's election on several grounds, including vote fraud and a conspiracy between Mayfield and the Ku Klux Klan. The committee investigated and recommended in its report that the charges be dismissed. Records of the investigation include petitions, briefs, and hearing exhibits such as a transcript of the case, King v. Staples, heard in the Navarro County (TX) Court, and correspondence relating the role of the Ku Klux Klan in the election (68A-F18, 5 in.).
17.26. Holm O. Bursum-Samuel G. Bratton of New Mexico, 68th-69th Congresses (1924-26): Bursum, the incumbent, was defeated by Bratton in the 1924 election. Bursum charged Bratton with various election violations, but at the committee hearing he abandoned most of these allegations and stated that he relied entirely on a recount. The committee and the Senate sided with Bratton. Records include petitions, affidavits, correspondence, and both minutes and a transcript of the hearings of the subcommittee (69A-F23, 3 in.).
17.27. Daniel F. Steck-Smith W. Brookhart of Iowa, 69th Congress (1925-26): Steck contested the election of Brookhart, the incumbent, on the grounds of voting irregularities and alleged that Brookhart, a Progressive Republican, had obtained the Republican party nomination under false pretenses. The committee investigated the charges and offered a resolution declaring that Brookhart had not been elected; this resolution was passed narrowly, and Steck took his seat on April 12, 1926. Records of the investigation consist of correspondence and a hearing transcript (69A-F23, 7 in.).
17.28. William B. Wilson-William S. Vare of Pennsylvania, 69th-71st Congresses (1926-29): This complex case initially revolved around questions of campaign financing, particularly in the 1926 Pennsylvania Republican primary, but expanded during the course of the investigation into several precedent-setting areas. In that primary, Vare defeated the incumbent, George Wharton Pepper. Wilson was the Democratic nominee against Vare in the general election, and after his defeat, he contested Vare's election on the grounds of corrupt practices, illegal registration and voting, and other irregularities. In a break from customary practice, the case was investigated by a special committee of the Senate as well as by the Committee on Privileges and Elections. In 1929, it was determined that neither Vare nor Wilson was entitled to the seat, and, ironically, the seat was filled when Governor John S. Fisher appointed Joseph R. Grundy to the remainder of the term. Grundy, a wealthy manufacturer, was a central figure in the investigation of the primary for allegedly contributing approximately $400,000 to Senator Pepper. Records (4 ft.) of the case are in the committee papers of both the 70th (70A-F20) and 71st Congresses (71A-F24) and include minutes and notes of committee meetings; unpublished transcripts of hearings (vols. 1-20 in 70A-F20 and vols. 21-25 in 71A-F24; vol. 21 missing); unpublished transcripts of arguments, May 23-29, 1929 (71A-F24); and petitions and briefs of candidates, Senate resolutions, campaign expenditure data, exhibits presented at the hearings, and other records (71A-F24).
17.29. J. Thomas Heflin-John H. Bankhead of Alabama, 71st and 72d Congresses (1930-31): Heflin charged that he had been defrauded of the right to run in the regular Democratic primary and that there were other irregularities at the general election. Although the subcommittee of the Privileges and Elections Committee agreed with Heflin, a majority of the full committee found that Bankhead's nomination was valid and that the election irregularities did not affect the outcome of the election. Records (6 ft.) of the case are among the committee papers of both the 71st and 72d Congresses and include transcripts of grand jury sessions in Madison and Jackson Counties, AL, in September 1930 (71A-F24); petitions, newspaper clippings, and correspondence (71A-F24); committee and subcommittee prints, transcripts of hearings, correspondence with Senators, correspondence with and reports of local election officials, and a report of election violations in each county prepared by subcommittee chairman Daniel O. Hastings of Delaware (72A-F23).
17.30. George M. Pritchard-Josiah W. Bailey of North Carolina, 72d Congress (1931-33): Pritchard filed a petition in which he alleged various fraudulent election activities by Democrats in the general election. The committee held a hearing on the petition, but no separate investigation was funded. Pritchard's petition was dismissed on February 3, 1933. Records include the candidate's petition, related correspondence, and subject files arranged by county (72A-F23, 9 in.).
17.31. John Overton and Huey Long of Louisiana, 73d Congress, 1933-35: Long and Overton were elected to the Senate in 1930 and 1932, respectively, and were close political associates. Overton's opponent in the 1932 Louisiana primary was incumbent Edwin S. Broussard, who filed petitions alleging various frauds in the primary; these allegations were investigated by a special committee established in 1932. Broussard never formally challenged Overton's election; however, a petition from the Women's Committee on Louisiana seeking Overton's expulsion was referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elections. Public hearings were held in May 1934, and the petitions were discharged June 16, 1934. Records consist of executive session transcripts for February 14 and May 27, 1934, miscellaneous correspondence, and printed matter (73A-F22); and petitions attacking Long referred to the committee (73A-J42, 74A-J32).
17.32. Henry D. Hatfield-Rush D. Holt of West Virginia, 74th Congress (1935): Hatfield, the incumbent, was defeated by Holt in the 1934 Democratic primary and again in the general election in which he ran as the Republican nominee. He challenged Holt's election on the basis of age qualification. Holt was not 30 years old until June 18, 1935, but he did not present himself to be sworn in until after that date. Holt's election was upheld by the Senate. Records include several committee prints, original and printed transcripts of hearings, and correspondence generally supporting Holt (74A-F21, 8 in.).
17.33. Dennis Chavez-Bronson M. Cutting of New Mexico, 74th Congress (1935): When he lost by 1,261 votes, Chavez contested Cutting's right to the seat. He petitioned for a recount and made other charges relating to the election. Cutting went to New Mexico to conduct an investigation of the accuracy of Chavez's list of particulars. On his return trip to Washington, Cutting was killed in an airplane accident. Chavez informed the committee that he wished to withdraw his petition, but the committee continued to consider the matter until it could report unanimously that there was nothing in the record to support Chavez's petition. Records include petitions, transcripts of hearings that were also printed, and various legal documents and exhibits submitted by Chavez (74A-F21, 1 ft.).
17.34. Clarence E. Martin-Joseph Rosier of West Virginia, 71st Congress (1941): The dispute between Martin and Rosier stemmed from their respective appointments by outgoing Governor Homer A. Holt and ex-Senator and incoming Governor Matthew Neely. Neely had resigned his Senate seat to become Governor and the appointments were made to take his place. The committee recommended that Rosier be seated, and the Senate, by a narrow margin, agreed. Records of the case include copies of transcripts of hearings and correspondence (77A-F25, 9 in.).
17.35. William Langer of North Dakota, 71st Congress (1941-42): Langer, a former Governor of North Dakota, was charged, in a petition of certain citizens of his State, with moral turpitude, acceptance of bribes and kickbacks, and other offenses. Although the committee voted that Langer was not entitled to a seat, the Senate ignored their recommendation and upheld Langer's right to his seat. Records of the investigation of the committee are varied and voluminous. They include minutes of subcommittee meetings; transcripts of hearings, which were also printed, and related exhibits; correspondence with North Dakota residents; correspondence of Elbert Smith and Sam Hood, Jr., investigators for the committee; testimony taken by the investigators; transcripts of court proceedings involving Langer; and reference material (77A-F25, 7 ft.).
17.36. While these cases are the most extensively documented, many other cases involving the seating of Senators and related matters are documented in the records of the committee.
17.37. Other subjects of the records of the committee include woman suffrage, voting rights for blacks, direct election of Senators, and campaign financing. Beginning in 1874 and continuing until the creation of a select committee on woman suffrage in 1882, many petitions supporting woman suffrage were referred to the committee (43A-H20, 44A-H19, 45A-H20); the committee papers include the original "arguments of the delegates of the Woman's Suffrage Association" (45A-E18). Petitions protesting discrimination against black voters in elections and related mob violence and petitions supporting a bill, S. 4252, 56th Cong. (1899-1901), to prevent voting discrimination were also referred to the committee (53A-J29.1, 54A-J30.1, 56A-J33.1). Beginning in the late 1880's and continuing until 1909, the committee also received numerous petitions favoring direct election of Senators, especially from State legislatures in Western and Midwestern States and populist organizations such as the Grange (50A-J23, 51A-J24, 52A-J22, 55A-J29, 56A-J33, 57A-J59, 59A-J96, 60A-J119).
17.38. The committee papers also include final statements of expenditures and contributions of $100 or more and related correspondence from both the Democratic and Republican National Committees for the 1920 national elections (66A-F19) and a small amount of correspondence relating to the Soldiers Voting Act of 1942 and its 1944 amendments, which provided for absentee voting by members of the armed services (78A-F25, 79A-F24).
17.39. The standing Committee on Rules was established on December 9, 1874, following adoption of a resolution submitted by Henry Anthony of Rhode Island. The committee replaced the Select Committee to Revise the Rules of the Senate, which had been established in 1867 and produced the 1868 revision in the rules of the Senate. With the passage of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, the functions and duties of the Committees on Rules and other administrative committees were consolidated to form the Committee on Rules and Administration.
17.40. The records of the Committee on Rules (3 ft.) are very limited. They include committee papers, 1885-1946 (3 ft.); petitions and memorials referred to the committee, 1900-44 (1 in.); minutes, 1893-1946 (3 vols., 2 in., and part of 1 roll of microfilm); and legislative dockets, 1920-46 (2 vols., 2 in., and part of 1 roll of microfilm). For each of these series, there are significant gaps. All but 1 inch of the committee papers are dated 1934-46; papers for these years include a small subject file that contains information on the 1937 Presidential inauguration (76A-F23); Senate Press Galleries, 1935-40 (76A-F23); and operation of the Senate restaurant (77A-F28, 78A-F28). Among the older committee papers is a drawing of the floor plan of the kitchen of the Capitol (c. 1886), accompanying a letter from the chief engineer of the Senate (49A-E28). The committee papers also include two transcripts of executive sessions, 1941-42 (77A-F28). Among the petitions are those opposing Sunday sessions of the Senate (58A-J74, 60A-J124), favoring transferring District of Columbia appropriations bills from the Committee on Appropriations to the Committee on the District of Columbia (57A-J66, 62A-J81), and favoring a 1943 bill, S. 1823, 78th Cong., to provide for radio broadcasts of the proceedings of the Congress (78A-J24). The minutes of the committee are its most complete series of records, but there are no minutes for the years 1927-31 and most for the years 1943-44 are also missing. The minutes for the 72d-76th Congresses (1932-40) and 79th Congress (1945-46) are on 35mm microfilm, with records of the Committee on Rules and Administration, 81st Congress. The legislative dockets consist of two volumes: one for the 66th Congress, 2d session through the 67th Congress, 1st session, and the other for the 72d-79th Congresses (1931-46). This latter volume also includes the original minutes, 1932-40, and the entire volume appears on the above-mentioned microfilm.
- Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections
- Special Subcommittee on Amendments to Senate Rule XXII
- Special Subcommittee on Financial and Business Activities of Senate Employees and Former Senate Employees
17.41. The Committee on Rules and Administration was established under the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, which consolidated the functions of the Committees on Rules, Audit and Control of the Contingent Expenses of the Senate, Library, Printing, Privileges and Elections, and Enrolled Bills. Under this legislation, the jurisdiction of the committee included all of the areas previously within the purview of the predecessor committees, such as matters relating to the contingent expenses of the Senate; the Senate Library and the Library of Congress; works of art for the Capitol; erection of monuments; most matters relating to the Smithsonian Institution; election of President, Vice President, and Members of Congress; corrupt election practices; contested elections; credentials and qualifications of Senators; Presidential succession; parliamentary rules; floor and gallery rules; the Senate restaurant; administration of the Senate wing of the Capitol, including assignment of office space; printing and correction of the Congressional Record; and enrollment of bills.
17.42. The committee maintained several standing subcommittees, generally representing the specialized jurisdiction of the predecessor committees. However, only one of these, the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections, has transferred any records to the National Archives. In fact, nearly half of all records of the committee since 1947 are records of the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections. Since 1977, the Committee on Rules and Administration has operated without subcommittees.
17.43. There are 314 feet of records for the committee and its subcommittees for this period.
17.44. Documenting the legislative activities of the Committee on Rules and Administration are its legislative case files, 1947-68 (70 ft.). Arranged by Congress, thereunder by type of bill or resolution, and thereunder numerically, these files may include copies of printed bills and resolutions, printed hearings or transcripts of hearings, original and printed reports, copies of slip laws, newspaper clippings, and related correspondence and staff memorandums. Many of the resolutions referred to the committee concern approval of funds to support specific investigations or studies that cannot be funded by regular legislative appropriations, and typically these files are very brief. Others, pertaining to Senate rules or procedures, can be more extensive; for example, S. Res. 25, 80th Cong. (3 in.), and S. Res. 11, 81st Cong. (7 in.), both concern efforts to amend Senate Rule XXII on the precedence of motions and the closing of debate, also known as cloture. The largest case file of this kind is for S. Res. 65, 83d Cong. (3 ft.), to establish rules of procedure for Senate investigating committees; it consists of a subject file, an original copy of the transcript of the hearing, and copies of statements submitted by witnesses. Bills referred to the committee often concern broader issues, such as the conduct of Federal elections. Other large case files on bills are S. 2150, 85th Cong., relating to the Federal Corrupt Practices Act and elections, and S. 1211, 89th Cong., relating to a proposal to change the national election day to the first Sunday in November.
17.45. Because the preponderance of the committee's business concerns internal Senate matters, few Presidential messages and executive communications, 1947-68 (2 ft.), and few petitions and memorials, 1947-68 (2 ft.), were referred to the committee. The former series consists largely of reports of the Librarian of Congress, the Public Printer, the Chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts, and the Director of the Smithsonian Institution. For the 80th Congress, the series also contains original petitions from contestants in the 1946 Senate elections in Maryland and West Virginia (see also para. 17.54).
17.46. One of the major series of committee records is the general subject files, 1947-68 (40 ft.). For each Congress, the records include correspondence, printed materials such as legislative calendars and newspaper clippings, and financial records on administrative and legislative subjects. Among the better documented subjects are the battles over amendment of the cloture rule, room assignments, the case of Louis R. Lautier and racial integration of the Senate Press Gallery (80th Congress), the 1950 Maryland election investigation (82d Congress), and operation of the Senate restaurant (numerous Congresses). Committee business meetings are documented in this series by subject files on agenda and, for 1953-64 and 1967-68, minutes of committee meetings. Also included is a small amount of correspondence with subcommittees, 1947-54.
17.47. Minutes of committee meetings, 1947-52 (parts of 2 rolls), are on 35mm microfilm, which also includes the minutes of the Joint Committee on the Library, 1947-52, and earlier records of the Committee on Rules, the Committee on Privileges and Elections, and the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expenses of the Senate.
17.48. The committee also maintained its outgoing letters, 1947-68 (4 ft.), that serve as a name index to correspondence in the general subject files and legislative case files. Except for the 88th Congress (1965-66) where these letters are interfiled in the general subject files, the records have been maintained separately for each Congress.
17.49. Another important series is the historical subject file, 1945-85 (27 ft.). Unlike the general subject files (see 17.46.), this series serves as a reference file over a broad time period. It contains some correspondence and staff memorandums, though it is predominately a collection of printed material. It is divided into three segments, each arranged alphabetically; the first of these contains most of the pre-1969 material, although some more recent records are present. The focuses of the file are Senate administration, rules, and facilities. A folder title list prepared by the committee serves as a finding aid.
17.50. The committee has preserved as a separate series its transcripts of unpublished hearings and executive sessions, 1957-68 (5 ft.). The transcripts are verbatim accounts of committee business meetings held in executive session where administrative and legislative matters were discussed, as well as executive session and unpublished public hearings. These also include hearings on nominations for the Public Printer.
17.51. The remaining records of the full committee include nomination files, 1947-48 (¬ in.); copies of printed bills, resolutions, and reports, 1947-52 (1 ft.); and miscellaneous records, 1947-52 (1 ft.).
Records of Subcommittees
17.52. Until 1977, the Committee on Rules and Administration maintained several standing subcommittees. Of these, the records of only one, the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections, have been transferred to the National Archives. Records of and relating to the others may be found in series of full committee records, such as the general subject files, minutes, and unpublished transcripts of public hearings and executive sessions. The committee has also transferred to the National Archives records of two special subcommittees, one considering a change in the cloture rule and the other investigating the financial activities of Robert G. "Bobby" Baker, secretary to the Senate majority leader.
17.53. The records of the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections, 1947-68 (141 ft.), contain records on several contested elections, 1946-56; investigations of William Benton of Connecticut and Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin, 1951-52; broad investigations of Senate and Presidential elections during the 1950's; general and administrative subject files, 1947-68; and legislative case files, 1961-68.
17.54. Most of the records were created as the result of investigations into elections from 1946 through 1956. The records of some of the better-documented investigations are described below.
17.55. D. John Markey-Herbert R. O'Conor of Maryland, 80th Congress (1947-48): Markey requested a recount in a very close election. The records (11 ft.) consist largely of investigative material accumulated in the recounts of certain counties and Baltimore City, investigators' reports, unpublished executive session transcripts, and general subject files. 17.56. Tom Sweeney-Harley M. Kilgore of West Virginia, 80th-81st Congresses (1947-49): Sweeney also requested a recount in a close election, basing his petition on allegedly fraudulent election practices in 12 counties. The records (19 ft.) document voting results and practices, particularly in Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, and Mingo Counties.
17.57. Frank E. Hook-Homer Ferguson of Michigan, 81st Congress (1949): Hook charged numerous election irregularities in his challenge, which was rejected. As in the cases above, most of the records (4 ft.) stem from the investigation of election practices at the county level, and include vote tally sheets, investigators' reports, and statements of election officials. In addition, correspondence and staff memorandums are present.
17.58. Millard E. Tydings-John Marshall Butler of Maryland, 82d Congress (1951): Following his defeat in 1950, Senator Tydings, the incumbent, charged that Butler had used unfair election practices and had violated State and Federal election laws. Butler's election was upheld. The case was also noteworthy for the role Senator Joseph R. McCarthy played in the campaign against Tydings. The records (2 ft.) include exhibits and related correspondence concerning the election practices of the Butler campaign.
17.59. Joseph T. Ferguson-Robert A. Taft, 82d Congress (1951-52): Informal charges were exchanged between Ferguson and Taft. Ferguson complained about Taft's campaign expenditures and Taft charged that the Ferguson campaign used defamatory and scurrilous literature. No formal petition was filed and no subcommittee report was issued in this case. The records (5 ft.) consist largely of exhibits supporting the candidates' charges. Additional evidence of scurrilous literature in this and other campaigns is located in the general records of the subcommittee for the 82d Congress.
17.60. Patrick J. Hurley-Dennis Chavez of New Mexico, 83d Congress (1953-54): Hurley contested the election result on the basis of alleged election law violations. A detailed investigation by the subcommittee supported these charges, and its chairman reported a resolution to the effect that the seat was vacant. The Senate rejected this resolution, and Chavez retained his seat. The records of the investigation (44 ft.) consist largely of reports of and exhibits collected by the subcommittee's investigators; these records are arranged by county. Other records include general and administrative subject files.
17.61. The subcommittee records also document investigations into the 1948 Texas Democratic primary contest between Coke Stevenson and Lyndon B. Johnson (80th and 81st Congress, 2 ft.) and charges of excessive campaign expenditures against Robert S. Kerr in the 1948 Oklahoma Democratic Party primary (80th Congress, 5 in.), among others. Additional records on these and other contested elections may be found in the minutes of committee meetings, where these matters were often discussed at length.
17.62. The records of the subcommittee also document the charges, countercharges, and resulting investigations of Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin and William Benton of Connecticut, 82d-83d Congresses (1951-53). Benton sought McCarthy's expulsion from the Senate for his campaign activities against Millard Tydings in the 1950 Maryland Senate election. McCarthy countered by filing a civil suit against Benton for libel and obtained approval of a resolution authorizing an investigation of Benton's campaign finances. In 1952 McCarthy was reelected, and Benton was defeated. The Senate took no further action, and McCarthy dropped his lawsuit. The records relating to the McCarthy investigation (9 ft.) are arranged alphabetically by subject and include correspondence, investigators' notes, copies of transcripts of hearings, newspaper clippings, and copies of financial records of McCarthy and his family. The records relating to the Benton investigation (1 ft.) contain transcripts of executive session hearings.
17.63. The subcommittee also investigated the 1952 Presidential election by sending questionnaires to every committee, organization, and association "tending to influence, directly or indirectly" the election. There were three types of questionnaires, including one sent to radio and television stations and networks. In addition to the completed questionnaires, the records (10 ft.) include related correspondence and staff memorandums.
17.64. During the 84th Congress the subcommittee investigated campaign contributions and expenditures in Presidential and senatorial elections in 1956. The records (25 ft.) again consist largely of questionnaires that were sent to labor and political organizations and to radio and television stations. Also documenting the investigation are correspondence, hearing and legislative files, exhibits (such as lists of major contributors), lists of State and local political leaders, and computer printout reports of campaign expenditures.
17.65. The records of the subcommittee for 1957-68 (8 ft.) are much less voluminous and include administrative subject files, legislative case files, and miscellaneous records.
17.66. The records of this subcommittee document its inquiry into whether rule XXII relating to cloture should be modified. Although Mike Mansfield of Montana was originally appointed chairman when the subcommittee was established on April 3, 1957, two of its members—Jacob Javits of New York and Herman Talmadge of Georgia—were the key members of the committee and eventually served as co-chairmen. While no action was taken in the 85th Congress, in 1959 the cloture rule was modified to permit cloture of debate by a vote of two-thirds of the Senators present. The records, 1957-58 (2 ft.), are arranged alphabetically in a subject file and include correspondence and copies of hearing transcripts, among other records.
17.67. A major investigation during the 88th and 89th Congress relating to ethics issues was conducted by a special subcommittee of the Rules and Administration Committee. The Special Subcommittee on Financial and Business Activities of Senate Employees and Former Senate Employees focused on the charges against Robert G. "Bobby" Baker, secretary to Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and protege of Lyndon B. Johnson. Baker resigned from his position, but the Senate, spurred on by John J. Williams of Delaware, approved S. Res. 212, 88th Cong., and investigated Baker's complex financial dealings. The records, 1963-66 (19 ft.), consist largely of copies of Baker's financial records and related correspondence, working papers of subcommittee investigators, and copies of transcripts of hearings, among other records. There is no index to these unarranged records.
Records of the committee include legislative case files, correspondence, administrative records, and a small number of executive communications and petitions. The committee maintained a historical subject file, 1945-86 (28 ft.), that covers many of the issues brought before the committee in the post-World War II era. There are also records relating to the Vice-Presidential nominations of Gerald R. Ford (1973) and Nelson A. Rockefeller (1974) and the impeachment of Judge Harry E. Claiborne (1986). For additional information, see paras. 22.37-22.38.
Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42). By Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1989.