The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigated citizens suspected of having communist ties. The committee held people charged with contempt of Congress.
While the people were held, the HUAC questioned them. They did this in order to get the names of people associated with communist parties. If a person did not comply during the questioning process, the committee would mark them as "red." Richard Nixon was a member of the HUAC, and he helped bring to light the fact that Alger Hiss, a previous official with the State Department, had former communist ties. The committee was created in 1938, and was abolished in 1975.