On February 7, 1973 the Senate created a select committee that would take a deeper look into this act. On March 28, 1973, the Senate held its first hearing on the Watergate break in, a crowd of reporters were on the first floor of the Capitol hoping to question the 6 senators arriving for a politically charged closed door committee hearing. That hearing lasted almost five hours, during this meeting there was so many leaks to the media that committee leaders decided to conduct all future hearings in the public. Around nine months earlier five burglars and two accomplices were arrested in the Democratic National Committee's Watergate offices for their connection to President Richard Nixon's 1972 reelection campaign. This arrest led the Senate in February to create the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. Working under this committee chairman, Sam Ervin and Democratic chief Sam Dash assured the concerned republicans that the panel would probe the wrongdoing by members of both political parties. The first witness was, James McCord. He confirmed the rumors that Nixon aides John Dean and Jeb Magruder knew about he plot before it took place and he promised the other names. Once his statement got out to the media, he requested to address members of the committee in a secret session. In that session, McCord testified that his boos, G. Gordon Liddy, told him that Attorney General John Mitchell had approved the specific burglary plans. McCord also revealed the involvement of Dean, Magruder, and Charles Colson. At the end of his hearing the session was closed and was said to be one of the most important investigations in Senate history and began the unraveling of the White House cover-up. As one reporter stated that McCord "opened the road to havoc". - Elizabeth C.
One of the most important consequences was a complete collapse of support for Nixon in Congress. This led to Nixon's resigning from the presidency on August 9, 1974. He avoided the prospect of losing the impeachment vote in the full House and trial in the Senate. In total he served 2,026 days as the 37th president. Another important consequence was, the Federal Election Campaign Act was revised and the imposed limitations on expenses and contributions required regular reporting by election committees, and this act established a means for public financing of presidential nominating conventions and primary elections. In the years following the Watergate investigation, Congress passed legislation which aimed at strengthening the legislative branch's oversight of powers. This provided the public and the media with the new tools to access information held by the executive branch. - Elizabeth C.