Exam preparation materials

THE SCANDALS OF THE HARDING ADMINISTRATION

The Harding administration may have been the most scandal-ridden administration in American political history. No principal whatsoever was involved in these scandals; the participants were only interested in money. There is no knowledge that Harding participated in any way in these scandals; his biggest sin was probably appointing political cronies from his Ohio days to important government positions in his administration and not supervising them.

The scandals of the Harding administration were numerous, Charles Forbes, the director of the Veteran’s Bureau, stole or horribly misused nearly $250 million of government money; he was indicted for fraud and bribery concerning government hospital supply contracts. Harding allowed Forbes to go abroad and to resign, although he eventually did go to jail. Attorney General Harry Daugherty had taken bribes from businessmen, bootleggers, and many others. Daugherty failed to go to jail when a hung jury was unable to convict him.

The worst of the scandals was the Teapot Dome scandal. Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall maneuvered to have two oil deposits put under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior; one of these was a reserve in Wyoming called Teapot Dome. Fall then leased these reserves to private companies and got large sums of money from them for doing it. Fall was convicted and finally went to prison in 1929.

The revelation of these scandals greatly bothered Harding, who died of a stroke on August 2, 1923. He was replaced by his vice president, Calvin Coolidge of Vermont.

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