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William S. Cohen Papers | Senate Legislative Records

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MS 106.3.3 Legislative Records 1961-1996 548 boxes

The legislative function of Congress includes the formulation and passage of bills that become law, the "executive" function of providing advice and consent on nominations and treaties, the "judicial" function of impeachment, and the oversight, investigative, and budgetary functions. The Senate has a complex organizational structure, relying on committees and subcommittees to process most of the legislation that flows through it. While in the Senate, Cohen was a member of a number of committees, some of which focused on the formulation of legislation, and others that focused on the judicial, oversight and investigative functions.

Cohen had a large staff of legislative assistants who worked on committee related as well as general issues. Cohen's legislative directors were Thomas Heyerdahl (1979-1988), Robert Savitt (1989-1993), and John Veroneau (1994-1996). The directors, assistants, and aides held very important roles: they would draft bills, advise Cohen on possible legislative strategies, do research on pending legislation, represent him at meetings, and keep him abreast of current issues.
The records in this series consist of files created by Cohen and his many legislative assistants and aides. The files are organized according to subject, and then according to the staff members who created them. Each staff member was assigned to several subject areas and usually acquired the files of those who had previously covered those subjects. Therefore there is overlap among the files as to who created them and the subjects they cover. Some of the subjects represented are defense, government affairs, energy, aging, the environment, trade, transportation, and education. It should also be noted that some of Cohen's U.S. House legislative files have been filed in this series.

Records include briefing memos written to Cohen by his aides, which provide concise summaries of many important issues. Correspondence from constituents and special interest groups, reports from Congressional Research Service on a wide variety of subjects, copies of letters Cohen wrote to Federal departments in support of various legislative concerns, news clippings, bills, amendments, and Cohen's floor statements and requests from his colleagues seeking his support on legislation ("Dear Colleague" letters) are also found in this series.

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Contact the Cohen Papers: 207.581.2665 | | Revised: 01/05/2015
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