In 1950, Kefauver headed a U.S. Senate committee investigating organized crime. The committee, officially known as the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, was popularly known as the Kefauver Committee or the Kefauver hearings. The Committee held hearings in fourteen cities and heard testimony from over 600 witnesses. Many of the witnesses were high-profile crime bosses, including such well-known names as Willie Moretti, Joe Adonis, and Frank Costello, the latter making himself famous by refusing to allow his face to be filmed during his questioning and then staging a much-publicized walkout. A number of politicians also appeared before the committee and saw their careers ruined. Among them were former Governor Harold G. Hoffman of New Jersey and Mayor William O'Dwyer of New York City. The committee's hearings, which were televised live just as many Americans were buying televisions, made Kefauver nationally famous and introduced many Americans to the concept of a criminal organization known as the Mafia for the first time ever. In fact, in 1951, Kefauver appeared as a celebrity guest on the new game show What's My Line? discussing the hearings briefly with the panel, showing how popular these hearings were with early television viewers.
Although the hearings boosted Kefauver's political prospects, they helped to end the twelve-year Senate career of Democratic Majority Leader Scott Lucas. In a tight 1950 reelection race against former Illinois Representative Everett Dirksen, Lucas urged Kefauver to keep his investigation away from an emerging Chicago police scandal until after election day, but Kefauver refused. Election-eve publication of stolen secret committee documents hurt the Democratic Party in Cook County, cost Lucas the election, and gave Dirksen national prominence as the man who defeated the Senate majority leader.
Other articles related to "kefauver committee, committee, kefauver":
... Senate Kefauver Committee in its investigations of organized crime ... even know what the Mafia is." Later on, Gizzo had the following exchange with the Committee when asked if he knew Balestrere "Yes, sir", Gizzo replied ... a prominent man in the Mafia, isn’t he?" asked the committee ...
... Senate special committee, chaired by Democratic Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, determined that a "sinister criminal organization" known as the Mafia operated around the United States ... The United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce (known as the "Kefauver Hearings"), televised nationwide, captured the attention of the American people and forced the FBI ...
... Barkley, as President of the Senate, was empowered to choose the committee's members ... They included Kefauver Herbert O'Conor (Maryland), Lester C ... The Kefauver Committee held hearings in 14 major cities across the United States ...
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“Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”
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