In 1951 the United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce (Chairman -Senator Estes Kefauver) investigated inter-state organized crime.

The Kefauver Committee hearings in the winter of 1951 brought a parade of gamblers, hoodlums, crooked sheriffs and organized-crime figures out from the shadows to sit and testify before the white-hot lights and television cameras… Colorful criminals, sweating and tapping their fingers nervously, seemed to step off the set of Hollywood gangster movies, speaking in broken English, under oath, about their activities. Some just sat in stony silence, refusing, as one witness said, to “criminate” themselves.” ~ Smithsonian Magazine

TV broadcasts of the hearings regarding municipal corruption and organized crime attracted public interest .

A fictionalized version of the Senate hearings appears in the 1974 film The Godfather Part II