McClellan Committee Hearings

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McCLELLAN COMMITTEE HEARINGS. The McClellan Committee opened Senate hearings on 26 February 1957 to investigate corruption, criminal infiltration, and illegal activities in the nation's labor unions. Chaired by Democrat John McClellan, the committee included John F. Kennedy and Barry Goldwater, along with Robert Kennedy as chief counsel. The committee's investigation focused on the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamster president Dave Beck, and Beck's successor Jimmy Hoffa. In televised hearings watched by 1.2 million American households, the committee detailed the Teamsters' misuse of union funds and ties to labor racketeers and organized crime. While the inquiry led to the conviction of more than twenty individuals including Beck, it failed to convict Hoffa and in fact, strengthened his leadership. The investigation also led to the Teamsters' expulsion from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in December 1957.

The McClellan Committee's efforts culminated in the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, which established for the first time close regulation of unions by the federal government. The law created requirements for union elections and for annual financial reports to the Labor Department, banned convicted criminals from holding union office, and established union members' rights against coercive labor practices.


Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field. 85th Congress, 1st session, 1957; 85th Congress, 2nd session, 1958; and 86th Congress, 1st Session, 1959.

Kennedy, Robert F. The Enemy Within. New York: Harper and Row, 1960.

McClellan, John L. Crime Without Punishment. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1962.

Petro, Sylvester. Power Unlimited: The Corruption of Union Leadership: A Report on the McClellan Committee Hearings. New York: Ronald Press, 1959.


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McClellan Committee Hearings

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