Texas Legislature, Joint Anti-Nepotism Committee:
An Inventory of Reports at the Texas State Archives, 1933-1934
The Texas Legislature's Joint Anti-Nepotism Committee was created by House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 7 during the First Called Session of the 43rd Legislature in 1933. Representative Cathey introduced HCR 7 on September 22 for the purpose of clarifying a provision of the appropriations bill (known as the Anti-Nepotism Law), passed during the Regular Session of the 43rd Legislature, that stated that no more than one person in any family could be on the payroll and draw a salary from the state. Apparently the committee conference sessions on the appropriations bill had altered and revised the provision in such a way as to make it difficult for some heads of state departments to understand. Cathey clarified the provision, noted that numerous heads of state departments were wholly disregarding and blatantly violating both the spirit and letter of the Anti-Nepotism Law, and proposed a committee of three Representatives and two Senators to investigate cases of nepotism and job swapping. The Resolution was referred to the House Appropriations Committee, passed in the House on October 6, passed in the Senate on October 12, and assigned Representatives Cathey, James, and Griffith (replaced by Holloway in March of 1934) and Senators Murphy and Hornsby on October 13, 1933, the last day of the First Called Session.
The committee conducted the majority of its investigation during the interim between the First and Second Called Sessions of the 43rd Legislature; its first meeting was on November 8, 1933, at which time members chose Cathey to be Chair. The committee met throughout November and December of 1933 and then again in March of 1934. During the interim period the committee gathered information by sending questionnaires to all state employees, asking them to swear to the number of their relatives who worked for the state, heard testimony, and gathered shipping evidence regarding stolen Texas State oil (an outgrowth of the nepotism concern).
By the end of February 1934, near the end of the Second Called Session, the committee had yet to submit the report expected by the House. The House, therefore, passed House Concurrent Resolution 29 requesting the committee to submit a partial report by February 27 and then disband. The Senate concurred but amended the resolution to request the committee to submit its report within 45 days. The report was finally submitted on April 13, 1934 and, in it, the committee concluded that the anti-nepotism laws had been repeatedly violated. At worst, over 60% of some state agencies were staffed by relatives of other state employees. A few state agencies employed no relatives of other state employees. In the Legislature, over 45% of the House members and 84% of the Senate members had relatives on the state payroll. The committee remarked upon the likelihood that "job swapping" [i.e. you hire my son if I hire yours] was practiced. The committee decried the actions of all those engaged in the practice of nepotism but chose not to make specific recommendations for resolving the problems. Instead, it hoped that a member of the Legislature or a citizen of the state would make suggestions and develop legislation to "forever put an end to these damnable unscrupulous violations of the Nepotism Law, both in letter and spirit."
Records comprise copies of two reports (1933-1934) of the Texas Legislature's Joint Anti-Nepotism Committee. The reports document the prevalence of nepotism and "job-swapping" in Texas during the height of the Depression. The larger report contains four sections; one containing copies of the founding and dissolving legislation (including sections of the House Journal), one containing testimony and evidence of the practice of nepotism, one containing exhibits relating to stolen Texas oil (an outgrowth of the nepotism investigation), and a final report and recommendations section. The report is indexed at the beginning. The second report is an independent copy of the final report and recommendations (identical in content to section 4 of the large report).
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Restrictions on Use
(Identify the item), Reports, Joint Anti-Nepotism Committee, Texas Legislature. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 2000/181
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Secretary of State on May 23, 1940, but the records were not assigned an accession number until 1982. For purposes of control an individual accession number was assigned to this set of proceedings on August 7, 2000.
Nancy Enneking, August 2000
Detailed Description of the Collection