LAS VEGAS (October 2012) – On Nov. 15, The Mob Museum will commemorate the anniversary of the Kefauver Committee hearings, which took place in its building in 1950, with a day featuring special programming as well as free admission during regular operating hours for Nevada residents. The events are being held to raise awareness of the significance of the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce—as the Kefauver Committee hearings were officially called—on the nation’s fight against organized crime and development of Las Vegas as the nation’s gaming capital.

In addition to free admission for Nevada residents, Kefauver Day programming will include: highlights of filmmaker Jon Rubin’s new hour-long documentary about the Kefauver Committee hearings, “Crimebuster: Senator Estes Kefauver, Politics, Television and Organized Crime” beginning at 10 a.m. in the Museum’s multipurpose room; a proclamation by city of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman declaring Nov. 15 Kefauver Day, which will be presented to Diane Kefauver, daughter of U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver (D – Tenn.) and a courtroom presentation to area school students about the Kefauver Committee hearings, followed by a Museum-wide educational scavenger hunt.

Although she was only 3-years-old during the hearings, Diane Kefauver still remembers how the first televised political event affected her family, “My family watched the hearings. I remember touching my father’s face on the TV screen because we weren’t seeing him much at home during this time. Although the hearings were taking over the country, and I recall hearing talk about various threats against our family and having security around our house, my mother was ferociously protective of us. She tried to give us as normal of a life as possible during this time and beyond. It was after my father’s death when I was 15 that I began to read about him, became interested in the impact of his career and eventually decided I wanted to help people through public service myself. I ended up having a political career of my own and have served as special assistant to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi for nearly 30 years.”

On Nov. 15, 1950, Senator Estes Kefauver led the seventh in a series of 14 nationwide hearings in the second-floor courtroom of Las Vegas’ United States Postal Service and Court House, the city’s first Federal building constructed in 1933. The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was restored and in 2012 opened to the public as The Mob Museum.

The Kefauver Committee investigation is renowned for contributing to and accelerating the national debate on organized crime that developed after World War II. This two-year investigation heard more than 800 witnesses, identifying organized crime as big business operating in major cities throughout the country. The hearings also revolutionized the then-new medium of television as a source for news and current events. Approximately 20 to 30 million people—twice the audience of the 1950 World Series—flocked to restaurants, bars and neighbors’ homes to watch the all-day hearings on television. Consequently, television made the committee’s hearings among the most influential in American history. Many historians credit the hearings with cementing Las Vegas as the gaming capital of the country since the crackdown on illegal gambling following the hearings drove gambling operators to Nevada—known as the “open state” and the only state in the country where gambling was then legal.

As a result of the hearings, Senator Kefauver became a household name. Families across the country knew who he was from religiously watching him on television.  In 1952, Senator Kefauver ran for president, winning the primaries and eventually making his way to the Democratic convention. He was known as a “hand-shaker” and one of the greatest campaigners at the time. Senator Kefauver’s popularity was so high, he beat then Senator John F. Kennedy during a primary in 1956, making it the first and only time he would be beaten. That same year, he was selected by the Democratic National Convention to be the running mate of presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson.  Still holding his U.S. Senate seat after the Stevenson-Kefauver ticket lost to the Eisenhower-Nixon ticket in 1956, Kefauver was named chair of the U.S. Senate Antitrust and Monopoly Subcommittee in 1957 and served as its chairman until his death.


The Mob Museum is a world-class destination in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to the thrilling story of organized crime and law enforcement. It presents an exciting and authentic view of the mob’s impact on Las Vegas history and its unique imprint on the world. True stories of mob history are brought to life in a bold and contemporary style via engaging exhibits, high-tech theater presentations and more than 600 artifacts, the largest collection of Mob and related law enforcement memorabilia under one roof.   Admission is $19.95 for adults ages 18 and over with special pricing for children, seniors, military, law enforcement and teachers; and $10 for Nevada residents of all ages. Museum hours are Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.    For more information, call (702) 229-2734 or visit Connect with us on Facebook: and on Twitter: @TheMobMuseum.