One of President Nixon’s many successful domestic policies was his fight against organized crime in the United States. On June 4, forty-one years ago, Nixon issued a statement regarding the signing of Executive Order 11534, which would create the National Council on Organized Crime. Designed to combat rampant corruption and exploitation in metropolitan areas across America, this council was President Nixon’s solution to a daunting and dangerous problem. Vehemently opposed to organized crime, the President’s passion for this fight is apparent in his statement:
Its [organized crime’s] degrading influence can be felt in every level of American society, sometimes in insidious, subtle ways, but more often in direct acts of violence and illegality. It is a malignant growth in the body of American social and economic life that must be eliminated.
President Nixon explained his approach to the problem of organized crime through a discussion of the structure and formation of the council itself:
With the creation of the National Council on Organized Crime, composed of representatives of all the Federal departments and agencies having major responsibilities affecting or affected by the activities of organized crime, the fight against this evil will have the necessary strategic as well as tactical planning.
In order to ensure that this new council achieved a speedy and lasting victory over organized crime, President Nixon drew its members from multiple areas of the Federal government. Nixon hoped that because the National Council on Organized Crime promoted cooperation between various Federal agencies and departments, the diversity of its membership in terms of skills and resources would deliver a more efficient success than previous strategies in the fight against organized crime.
Photo: June 4, 1970, RN signs Executive Order on organized crime.