John Taylor Gatto Fact Check #11: Congress Investigated the Secret Puppet Masters Part I: The Walsh Commission

Two of the Suspected Puppet Masters

While reading pages 3 and 4 of John Taylor Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction I wondered if it was true that two congressional investigations, one in 1915 and one in 1959, came to the identical conclusion that school policy… was being deliberately created far from public oversight to be secretly inserted into the school mechanism by a sophisticated, highly nuanced campaign of influence, invisible to public awareness.

Assumptions Concerning Apparent Discrepancies Relating to the Dates of the Investigations:

1.) The 1915 congressional investigation has been assumed to be the Commission on Industrial Relations (also known as the Walsh Commission) that was authorized by Congress in 1912.  The investigation was concluded in 1915, and the commission published the final report of its findings in 1916.

2.) The 1959 congressional investigation has been assumed to be the Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations (also known as the Cox Committee, and later the Reece Committee) that was authorized by the 82nd Congress.  The committee began its investigations in 1952, and it published the final report of its findings in 1954.

Research Results:

The Walsh Commission (1912-1916):  Randall G. Holcomb’s Writing Off Ideas: Taxation, Foundations, and Philanthropy in America contains the following account of the Walsh Commission’s role in our history:

In 1916 Congress created a Commission on Industrial Relations which concluded that a handful of wealthy individuals, after gaining control over a large segment of the U.S. economy, and pushing for political control of the nation, were using nonprofit foundations to gain control over the nation’s educational system, over its health care system, over social services, and other facets of American life.  Congress was concerned that despite the use of antitrust laws to control the power of the small group of capitalists that exerted so much control over the economy, they were using foundations as a capitalist tool to further their own interests. [Emphasis Added]

Here’s a small piece of what the Walsh Commission had to say about the “foundations” in 1916:

12.) The domination by the men in whose hands the final control of a large part of American industry rests is not limited to their employees, but is being rapidly extended to control the education and “social service” of the Nation. [Emphasis Added]

13.) This control is being extended largely through the creation of enormous privately managed funds for indefinite purposes, herein after designated “foundations,” by the endowment of colleges and universities, by the creation of funds for pensioning teachers, by contributions to private charities, as well as through controlling or influencing the public press.

14.) Two groups of the “foundations,” namely, the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations, together have funds amounting to at least $250,000,000, yielding an annual revenue of at least $13,500,00, which is at least twice as great as the appropriations of the Federal Government for similar purposes, namely education and social service.

-Page 81 of the Walsh Commission’s Final Report

1916 Source Texts:

Here’s a bookmarked scan of the excerpt from the published report.

Here’s a web-based reproduction of the entire original report.

Observation: It’s not unreasonable to believe that even Congress would have scratched their heads a bit when they saw two of the wealthiest men in America claiming virtue as a motive for outspending the federal government on public education at the very same time the bodies were piling up in Ludlow, Colorado.

The Cox/Reece Committee will be explored in Part II of this blog post.