Sunday, February 23, 2014

Teapot Dome

Warren Harding was elected President in 1920 and appointed Albert Fall, Senator from the eight year-old State of New Mexico, as Secretary of the Interior. Fall wrested control of the supposed Naval Oil reserves from the Navy (Naval Officers objecting were posted to remote locations) and leased them to a couple of oil men in return for enormous bribes by the standards of the day. Harding died as the scandal widened, and Fall went to prison. Harry Sinclair, of Sinclair Oil, one of the bribe payers, did a brief jail term for contempt of Congress, but none of the bribe payers was convicted of their part in the actual crime. The money for the bribes, it turned out, had also come from the Federal government's coffers. Republicans like Fall were not the only recipients of bribes - so were some prominent Democrats, including the early front runner for the Presidential nomination.