teapot dome scandal | calvin coolidge | warren g harding and ohio gang #teapotdomescandal
The Teapot Dome Scandal
Unfortunately, this emphasis on unregulated business activity merged with Harding’s propensity for handing out government jobs to his friends, which were referred to as the ‘Ohio gang.’ One of these men, Harding’s Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, used Teapot Dome – a government-owned oil field in Wyoming – to enrich himself. Teapot Dome was supposed to be set aside to ensure warships always had a predictable supply of fuel. But then in the early 1920s the Department of the Interior took control of the oil field from the Department of the Navy. Secretary Fall was deeply in debt and years overdue in paying taxes, and so he concocted a scheme. He handed out and approved generous federal contracts to his close friends who were also head executives of powerful oil companies. So, instead of Teapot Dome being used as a backup source of fuel for the U.S. Navy, Fall used his connections to illegally sell access to the oil field. These bribes brought Secretary Fall over $400,000 (equal to several million dollars today).
The Teapot Dome Scandal came to light soon after Harding died in office, in 1923. Secretary Albert Fall was convicted of conspiracy and bribery and sentenced to year in prison (he became the first cabinet official to serve time as result of misconduct in office). Harding’s successor, his vice president Calvin Coolidge, was determined to restore a semblance of honesty and integrity to the White House, so he appointed a bipartisan commission to investigate corruption in the Harding administration.
President Calvin Coolidge, who had become president when Harding died, announced he would appoint two special prosecutors, one Democrat and one Republican, to take over the investigation. Coolidge, however, provided the Republicans with an image of flinty integrity, and his actions in appointing the special prosecutors, in demanding the resignation of Daugherty and Denby, and in naming the highly regarded Harlan Fiske Stone as Daugherty’s successor seemed to demonstrate that he would not tolerate corruption in his administration and that his standards for Cabinet appointments were much higher than Harding’s had been.In 1924, in reaction to the Teapot Dome scandal, President Coolidge set up the Federal Oil Conservation Board to encourage closer coordination in oil production between the federal government and the oil industry. Its activities laid the basis for a loose interstate oil cartel that set crude oil prices until 1973.
How did the Teapot Dome scandal affect the US?
In the 1920s, Teapot Dome became synonymous with government corruption and the scandals arising out of the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Since then, it has sometimes been used to symbolize the power and influence of oil companies in American politics.
Why is it called the Teapot Dome Scandal?
Warren G. Harding transferred supervision of the naval oil-reserve lands from the navy to the Department of the Interior in 1921, Fall secretly granted to Harry F. Sinclair of the Mammoth Oil Company exclusive rights to the Teapot Dome (Wyoming) reserves (April 7, 1922).Jul 10, 2015
What is the Teapot Dome?
Teapot Dome, in U.S. history, oil reserve scandal that began during the administration of President Harding. In 1921, by executive order of the President, control of naval oil reserves at Teapot Dome, Wyo., and at Elk Hills, Calif., was transferred from the Navy Dept. to the Dept. of the Interior.
Who was the most closely linked to the Teapot Dome Scandal?
The men associated with the Teapot Dome Scandal were cabinet members Albert B. Fall, Secretary of the Interior and Edwin C. Denby, Secretary of the Navy and oil moguls Harry F. Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny. Warren Harding was the 29th American President who served in office from March 4, 1921 to August 2, 1923.
The Teapot Dome Scandal was a bribery incident that took place in the United States from 1921 to 1922, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall had leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming and two other locations in California to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. In 1922 and 1923, the leases became the subject of a sensational investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh. Fall was later convicted of accepting bribes from the oil companies and became the first Cabinet member to go to prison. No person was ever convicted of paying the bribes, however.
Before the Watergate scandal, Teapot Dome was regarded as the “greatest and most sensational scandal in the history of American politics”. The scandal damaged the public reputation of the Harding administration, which was already severely diminished by its controversial handling of the Great Railroad Strike of 1922 and the President’s veto of the Bonus Bill in 1922.
In all, Coolidge handled the situation masterfully and with little help from the generally timid Republican regulars in Congress. He kept his head while his critics often lost theirs, and he acted as much to retain his self-respect as to win the next election. Moreover, the president benefited from the fact that the investigations demonstrated that, as Charles Evans Hughes said, “corruption knows no party.”