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S. Res. 60, Resolution to establish a select committee . . . , February 7, 1973

A “red hot” Senate resolution proposed to establish a select committee to study any illegal, improper, or unethical activities associated with the presidential election of 1972. The resolution passed unanimously, and the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (popularly called the Watergate Committee), chaired by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, began its hearings on March 28, 1973.

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

S. Res. 60, Resolution to establish a select committee . . . , February 7, 1973

The Watergate Break-in

On June 17, 1972, police arrested burglars wiretapping the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Evidence linked the break-in to President Richard Nixon’s re-election committee, and the Justice Department appointed a special prosecutor for the case. In February 1973 the Senate established a select committee chaired by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina to investigate the 1972 presidential election campaigns. The investigation revealed audiotapes incriminating President Nixon, which eventually led to Nixon’s resignation. Nationally televised, the hearings of the Watergate Committee inquiry boosted public confidence in Congress.

It has been alleged that, following the Watergate break-in, there has been a massive attempt to cover up all the improper activities . . . which, if true, represent interference in the integrity of the prosecutorial and judicial processes of the Nation.

Senator Sam Ervin of South Carolina, Hearings before the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities . . . , 1973