Representative Robert Walker sent this letter, addressed “Dear Colleague,” to his fellow House Members on January 14, 1977, calling on them to join him in co-sponsoring a resolution to create a select committee to investigate allegations of attempted influence-buying by the South Korean government. During the 95th Congress, Representative Walker introduced three resolutions for the establishment of such a select committee. Although a select committee was not created, the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct began an investigation of the alleged bribery attempts on January 31, 1977. The committee completed its investigation in October 1978 and recommended reprimands for two Representatives and censure for a third. However, the full House rejected the censure recommendation, and all three Members were formally reprimanded by the House on October 13, 1978.
The practice of Members and committees sending House-wide correspondence has been labelled a “Dear Colleague” since at least 1913. In current practice, Representatives, as well as committees and officers, use the official correspondence to ask others to co-sponsor, support, or oppose legislation. The letters are also used to provide other general and administrative information about events or changes happening in the House. In 2003, the House started using an e-mail distribution list to circulate letters, and since 2008, a web-based system has been used; however, hard copies of the letters are also sometimes sent using the internal mail system or distributed on the House Floor.