THE results of Congressional investigations are not always perceptible to the casual observer. A committee's accomplishments, it is true, may be easily traced when, after its study, it recommends measures which quickly become law. Likewise, the effects of a supervisory inquiry will be obvious if they lead to resignations or to disciplinary action in the executive branch of the government.
Many of the results, however, are not immediate, and many others are so indirect or abstract that their measurement is by no means easy. An inquiry may, for example, gather information which, although it is not used at once, may serve as a partial basis for legislation in later years. In any study of recent inquiries, of course, little evaluation can be made of the long time effects of investigations. An estimate of investigatory results is still more difficult because an important purpose of many inquiries is to mould public opinion. Thus, the investigators may aim to propel the public and the Congress into the support of a specific bill or of general legislation on a particular subject. Yet the actual effect of an investigation in shaping opinion can only be surmised. It is unquestionable, furthermore, that one fruit of investigations is that they help to restrain wrongdoing, both public and private; Representative McSwain, for example, voiced the obvious when he insisted: " It is not merely what Congress discovers that is the measure of the good done. It is the fact that Congress may investigate that restrains the ordinary impulse and tendency to corruption." 1 The threat of a possible Congressional inquiry undoubtedly serves, on occasion, as a check on individuals outside the government; and just as surely it is one of the safeguards against corruption in the administration. But any attempts to demonstrate that this threat prevents wrongdoing____________________