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Classification 161: Special Inquiries for White House, Congressional Committees and Other Government Agencies

The Bureau established this classification in 1960 to investigate prospective employees at the White House, including candidates for positions at all levels from nonprofessionals to such senior staff as the naval aide to the president, the general counsel, and the head off the Office of Management and Budget. Under the authority of a 1961 letter from President John F. Kennedy, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided tax information on applicants. After congressional investigations resulting from alleged misuse of IRS information during the Watergate affair, the IRS told the Bureau only if an applicant owed taxes rather than providing an exact dollar amount. The Tax Reform Act of 1976 required that an applicant provide a waiver identifying the agency to receive the information.

The Bureau began this type of investigation even before this classification was established. As early as 1953, it investigated the permanent staffs of the Senate and House Appropriations committees, the Senate's Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. The FBI also investigated Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller when each was appointed vice president.

NARA online catalog descriptions of holdings for 161: Special Inquiries for White House, Congressional Committees and Other Government Agencies

Record Group NARA IdentifierSeries Title
65569420Headquarters Files from Classification 161 (Special Inquiries for the White House, Congressional Committees, and Other Government Agencies) Released Under The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Acts

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