Election 1944: No complaints heard yet against CIO political unit (8-26-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 27, 1944)


No complaints heard yet against CIO political unit

House committee conducting hearing waits, but nothing so far has happened

Washington (UP) – (Aug. 26)
The special House committee to investigate campaign expenditures ended its first week of hearings today without a single complaint being filed with it by a House member, although previous reports indicated that several would protest political activities of the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Chairman Clinton P. Anderson (D-NM) said some members has urged him to take action against the CIO and its Political Action Committee prior to his group’s organization, but since the committee opened its doors for business, no one has filed a formal protest for the record.

He said:

Upshot of all this is that probably the most the committee can accomplish will be to recommend remedial legislation where it may be found necessary to correct provisions in present law.

Members fear CIO

One such recommendation, he suggested, might be to make the Smith-Connally Act, prohibiting political campaign contributions by labor unions, corporations and other organizations, apply to primaries as well as general elections.

The CIO was recently exonerated by a Senate Investigating Committee for its primary activities.

Mr. Anderson did not account for failure of members to make formal protests, but other committee members indicated that Congressmen who had “weathered the storm” of CIO opposition did not want to “make a kick” for fear the union would throw up an even greater barrage in November.

To hear Hillman Monday

Others, they said, especially Democrats who survived CIO scraps in primaries, are reluctant to complain because they hope to get the CIO’s support against Republican candidates in the final election.

The committee is scheduled to meet Monday to hear testimony of CIO chairman Sidney Hillman, his assistant C. B. Baldwin and CIO-PAC counsel John J. Abt.

Mr. Anderson said that when hearings are concluded, the committee will have a thorough knowledge of PAC campaign efforts, the amount of money expended and how it was used and will be in a position to recommend changes in present laws.