Challenged Elections to the Senate

November 20, 1946

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Powers of congress to exclude or expel
Exclusion of Senators-Elect
Expulsion of Sitting Members

Powers of congress to exclude or expel

Republican Movement to Oust Sentor Bilob

For the first time in nearly twenty years, a United States senator-elect faces a determined challenge of his right to a seat in the Senate when the 80th Congress meets in January. The special Campaign Investigating Committee of the Senate will open hearings in Mississippi early in December to determine the accuracy of charges that Sen. Theodore G. Bilbo incited the white population of his state “to commit acts of violence and intimidation against Negro voters” during his 1946 campaign for the Democratic senatorial nomination. The two Republican members of the special committee will report their findings, Dec. 30, to a general conference in Washington of the new Republican majority in the Senate. And Sen. Millikin (R. Col.), an authority on constitutional law, has been designated by the Republican Steering Committee as adviser on technical questions connected with the attempt to bar Sen. Bilbo.

Sen. Ellender (D., La.), chairman of the Campaign Investigating Committee, has criticized the movement against Bilbo as a Republican bid for the Negro vote in northern states for the 1948 election. “It is not an attack on Bilbo,” he said, Nov. 16, “but an attack on the sovereign state of Mississippi.” It is clear that Democratic members of Congress from the South would prefer almost any other ground for ousting Bilbo to one which questions the integrity of elections in southern states.

Other grounds for removal may be provided by inquiries in Mississippi by agents of the Senate War Investigating Committee. The charges before that committee are that Bilbo received checks for services to two war contractors in 1942 which total $33,750, that other war contractors built an elaborate mansion for him in 1941, that a parsonage erected on his property during the war has never been turned over to the church to which it was supposed to belong. Sen. Mead (D., N. Y.) was appointed chairman of a subcommittee, Nov. 19, to examine findings of the committee's investigators and prepare for open hearings.

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Campaigns and Elections
Investigations and Discipline