Calvin Coolidge Says, April 15, 1931

Date: April 15, 1931

Location: Boston, MA

(Original document available here)

The use of fact-finding commissions is again being criticized. About twenty-five years ago agitation caused the Congress to prohibit spending public money for such purpose. Recently the subject has returned.

Some people are born with a complete set of ready-made opinions. Facts do not affect them. But no executive, from first selectman to President, can know everything necessary to discharge his office or be able to learn it from official sources. He must call on some body which can gather the information. Public duty requires it.

But a good system can be abused. If it appears that a commission is established to relieve the executive from making his own decision, or to displace the ordinary functions and powers of the legislative branch of government, criticism will be made. Legislators suspect commissions of usurping the law-making power. It is well, therefore, to put some legislators on the commission. They can defend a report on the floor if legislation is sought. When these difficulties are avoided, when a candid and sincere search for truth appears, very helpful commissions can usually be appointed without the legislators feeling slighted and without creating just cause for criticism.

Citation: Calvin Coolidge Says: Dispatches Written by Former-President Coolidge and Syndicated to Newspapers in 1930-1931 (Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation)

The Coolidge Foundation gratefully acknowledges the volunteer efforts of Craig Eyermann who prepared this document for digital publication.

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