This general subject was obviously within its jurisdiction.
The third question to be determined is the pertinency of the specific questions asked of the witness to the subject matter of the inquiry, and in this connection we must consider the questions.
The first count charges the defendant with refusing unlawfully to answer the following question:
'The Committee was advised that a witness by the name of Ross Richardson has stated that you acted as liaison between a Communist party group on the campus and a member of the faculty at Cornell, and that you knew the name of the member of that faculty who was a member of the Communist Party. Will you tell us who that member of the faculty was?'
Obviously, this question is pertinent to the general subject matter under scrutiny, on its very face. The Committee was investigating the infiltration of Communism into education, and obviously it had the right to ascertain the names of university and college teachers who were members of the Communist Party, if any there were. The defendant declined to answer and was directed to answer.
Court two involves a question as to the source of a hundred-dollar contribution for the benefit of the Communist Party. The defendant refused to answer and was thereafter directed to answer. Obviously this question is pertinent on its face.
For the moment I shall omit Count three.
Count four inquired of the defendant whether he was acquainted with one Homer Owen.
The testimony at this trial indicates that Homer Owen had been a student at Cornell in an industrial relations course, and that students in that course did temporary summer work in various labor unions, some of which were Communist controlled. The Committee desired to know that, if any, connection there was between students in this course and the Communist-controlled unions. The question whether the defendant was acquainted with Homer Owen is obviously a preliminary question that might have led to a line of inquiry within the scope of the topic just mentioned. Consequently, it was a pertinent question.
The mere fact that the Committee had obtained information from Homer Owen, and that Homer Owen had testified in full before the committee, does not deprive the committee of the power to ask other witnesses concerning the activities of Homer Owen. A congressional committee in the course of its investigations has a right to obtain cumulative testimony. It has a right to call several witnesses to the same matter in order to check the accuracy of the information that it is obtaining. It should be also remembered that the rules of evidence applicable to jury trials in the courts do not limit the powers of congressional committees and have no place in hearings before congressional committees.
Count five called upon the defendant to identify the student who approached him and invited him to join a Communist unit. This question obviously is pertinent on its face.
This leads me to return to Count number three. Count number three is in a different class. In Count number three the defendant was asked to state the places where certain Communist meetings were held . The defendant gave an answer with a double aspect. He in effect said at first he did not remember and, second, if he did remember he would not answer anyway. Thus, his statement that he would refuse to answer was more or less a surplusage. He may not be punished for contempt of Congress merely for stating that he does not remember.
In the light of these considerations the Court finds the defendant guilty on Counts one, two, four and five, and not guilty on count three.
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