National Committee for an Effective Congress
The National Committee for an Effective Congress (NCEC) is a Political Action Committee that was founded and organized in 1948 under the laws of the State of New York by Eleanor Roosevelt and her friends in order to pool funds together in an effort to elect left-wing candidates to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate.
The NCEC promotes itself as, "a progressive, full-service political committee". Their services include:
- Electoral precinct targeting
- Demographic precinct targeting
- Voter profile analysis
- Get-out-the-vote plans
- Candidate scheduling plans
- Media market analyses
- Polling sample selections
- Vote goal analyses
While the NCEC does not consider itself a lobbying organization, in 1954, it was very influential and worked strongly towards the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Sidney H. Scheuer, one of the founders and most influential of all NCEC members, stated to the Senate Special Committee in 1956, "We do not consider ourselves a lobby. The only item of legislation before either House in connection with which we have ever been active, was the resolution of censure of Senator McCarthy. At that time we received numerous requests from Members of Congress and the press to provide such background and information as we might have. We were also asked to compile material and organize research data in such a way that it could be readily understood. To this end we retained both volunteer and paid counsel and provided such material as was requested. At that time we also indicated in one issue of our newsletter, Congressional Reporter, that mail to members of the Senate might be desirable, and we provided facilities in connection with a telegram to the Members of the Senate by 23 prominent Americans."
On July 23, 1954, the telegram that Scheuer spoke about was sent to every member of the Senate. In a July 1, 1967 Human Events article, the effort by the NCEC was characterized as, "asking for support of measures which would stifle congressional investigations of communism." According to the July 30, 1954, issue of the Congressional Record, the telegram was signed by the following people:
Douglas M. Black, Fred Lazarus, Jr., Cass Canfield, J. P. Marquand, Will Clayton, Ralph McGill, John Cowles, Reinhold Niebuhr, L. W. Douglas, and J. R. Parten, Samuel Goldwyn, Erwin N. Griswold, Frederick D. Patterson, Albert J. Hayes, Howard C. Paterson, Paul Helms, Walter Reuther, Paul Hoffman, Spyros P. Skouras, Palmer Hoyt, Henry M. Wriston, Chester J. Laroche, and J. D. Zellerbach.
In addition to signing the above-cited telegram, Paul Hoffman contributed about $1,000 to the NCEC to aid in the payment of legal expenses associated with the preparation of the censure resolution that was introduced by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont.
The NCEC devoted a great deal of both time and money to the censure effort. According to a Human Events account, it stated that Chicago Tribune columnist Willard Edwards estimated "that NCEC spent more than $57,000 in" this campaign. However in an article published on December 16, 1958 in Our Sunday Visitor, and reportedly based on a report filed by the NCEC under requirements of the Corrupt Practices Act, the NCEC actually "contributed a total of $73,372 to the censure of the late Senator McCarthy." In the organization's Winter 1976 mailing, the NCEC boasts about its role and clearly claims a major share of the credit for bringing the censure resolution to fruition. In that mailing, it states:
|“||The year is 1952: The radical right is in its heyday. Senator Joseph McCarthy and his anti-communist crusade is [sic] in high gear. NCEC decides something-must be-done. Working behind the scenes with NCEC-backed Senators, the Committee for an Effective Congress helped engineer his censure. On December 2, 1954, the Senate votes 67-22 to censure McCarthy.||”|
Finally, the mailing states that Senator McCarthy said that, "The NCEC masterminded the censure of Joe McCarthy." There is no evidence that Senator McCarthy made this statement and has been denied by Roy Cohn in his biography of Senator McCarthy.
- Cohn, Roy (1968). McCarthy. The New American Library. Page 244. ASIN B000KIR8FC.
- Poole, William T. (April 19, 1978). The National Committee for an Effective Congress. The Heritage Foundation.