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Letter from Mrs. Florence Wood to Committee Chairman Owen Brewster, July 29, 1947

The Truman Committee continued after World War II under other chairmen and with wide public support. Citizens like Florence Wood voluntarily reported abuses in defense manufacturing. In this letter, she described how Hughes Aircraft Company collected federal funds based on recorded work time, which was often more than actual hours worked.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Letter from Mrs. Florence Wood to Committee Chairman Owen Brewster, July 29, 1947

The Defense Industry

Anticipating the nation’s possible entry into World War II, Congress appropriated $10.5 billion for defense contracts in 1940. To observe how those funds were used, Senator Harry Truman of Missouri toured military bases and plants and then pressed Congress to investigate the defense industry. The Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, created in 1941 with Truman as chairman, saved taxpayer dollars—and soldiers’ lives—by reducing corruption, waste, and inefficiency. In 1948 the Senate created a Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to continue the Truman Committee’s oversight mission.

I consider public funds to be sacred funds, and I think they ought to have every safeguard possible to prevent their being misused and mishandled.

Senator Harry Truman of Missouri, Speech to the Senate, February 10, 1941