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In the beginning of the 50's, United States seeked to expose and bring into public attention the growing issue of organized crime at that time.

It started on April 1950, when a dead body of a gambling kingpin from Kansas City was found in a Democratic clubhouse. That assassination raised concerns about the growth of organized crime and its involvement with politics. The need for an investigation committee concerning this issue was discovered, and on May 3, 1950, the Senate created an investigation committee of 5 members, lead by a Democratic Senator from Tennessee, Estes Kefauver.

In its 15 months of hearings, the committee, investigating corruption, crime syndicates and illegal activities, visited several large cities, in which TV broadcasts were interrupted to bring the work of the committee to the attention of the public. The most notable hearing was when the committee reached Broadway, New York, to interview Frank Costello. An estimated number of 30 million watched or listened to the hearings.

In Illinois, the Committee helped to expose a Chicago Police scandal, which later brought down the Senate career of Scott Lucas, a Democratic Majority Leader.

The completion of the hearings signaled the Senate to implement some suggestions about how to better tighten the laws concerning the prevention of corruption and organized crime. It caused the FBI to stop denying the existence of the underworld.

summarized from sources:
http://www.senate.gov/learning/min_6cxyc.html
http://www.murderinc.com/feds/kefauver.html

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