Suppression of Crime Syndicates

March 17, 1950

Report Outline
Organized Crime and Crime Syndicates
Law Enforcement and Legalized Gambling
Federal Police Powers and Organized Crime
State and Local Attacks on Organized Crime

Organized Crime and Crime Syndicates

Concern Over Growing Power of Crime Syndicates

Public officials and investigating bodies have repeatedly asserted that organized crime in the United States has grown in extent and power to a point where it cannot be effectively controlled by state and local law-enforcement agencies. Their concern over the situation is reflected in pending proposals before Congress which probably will result in renewed scrutiny of the whole question this spring. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved a resolution by Sen. Kefauver (D., Tenn.) calling for an investigation of the interstate aspects of crime syndicate operations. The resolution is now before the Senate Rules Committee for decision as to whether the proposed investigation should be conducted by a Judiciary subcommittee, as Kefauver recommended, or by the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee. Chairman Johnson (D., Colo.) of the latter group contends that his committee should have jurisdiction because it would have to consider proposals for new legislation resulting from the study. Meanwhile, Rep. Macy (R., N. Y.) has offered a resolution for an inquiry into organized crime by a special House committee.

The need for broad-gauge investigation was indicated at the Attorney General's Conference on Law Enforcement Problems, held at Washington in mid-February, when state and local officials met with Justice Department officials to consider ways of combating interstate crime. Mayor Morrison of New Orleans cited “mounting evidence concerning several highly organized gambling and racketeering syndicates whose wealth, power, scope of operations, and influence have recently grown to gigantic and alarming proportions …an ugly, vicious, un-American picture of systematic law violation, huge profits, corruption of public officials who can be bought, and operations outside the jurisdiction of those who cannot be purchased.” According to Morrison and other informed persons, two major criminal syndicates are operating in the United States today—one controlling slot machines and allied gambling and the other dominating off-track betting on horse and dog races.

Organized Crime and Corruption of Public Officials

Of fundamental importance in any consideration of organized crime is its deleterious effect on the nation's governmental structure. Because commercial gambling, except betting at race tracks, is illegal in most states, it follows that an unlawful business running into billions of dollars must be carried on to large extent with the connivance of officials charged with law enforcement. The California Commission on Organized Crime has estimated, on the basis of known data, that slot machine racketeers alone spend $400 million a year for bribery of public officials.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Organized Crime
May 14, 2004  Gang Crisis
Mar. 27, 1992  Mafia Crackdown
Oct. 11, 1991  Youth Gangs
Mar. 17, 1989  Racketeering Law Comes Under Attack
Jun. 19, 1981  Organized Crime: The American Shakedown
Mar. 11, 1970  Drive on Organized Crime
Jan. 18, 1961  Interstate Crime Syndicates
Mar. 04, 1953  Criminality in Labor Unions
Mar. 17, 1950  Suppression of Crime Syndicates
Aug. 10, 1934  The Federal Government and Organized Crime
Oct. 20, 1931  Mob Disturbances in the United States
Crime and Law Enforcement
Organized Crime