Subversive Historian – 04/07/09

The Teapot Dome Scandal

Back in the day on April 7th, 1922, Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby and Harry F. Sinclair of the Mammoth Oil Corporation signed a secret lease. Locked away in Fall’s desk drawer, the agreement between the three completed the transition of control away from the U.S. Navy to the private sector of an oil-rich tract of land in Teapot Dome, Wyoming. The U.S. Navy was legislatively mandated nearly two years earlier to conserve oil reserves there for usage in times of an emergency. Fall had hoped to keep the Teapot Dome deal secret as well as another deal to another private oil benefactor. Suspicions arose, however, when he began spending exuberant amounts of money. In what is known as the Teapot Dome scandal, a Senate investigation concluded in 1924 that Fall’s leases were “executed under circumstances indicating fraud and corruption,” based on the money Fall received from oilmen in return.

Somehow, someway, the Teapot Dome Scandal inspired a young man by the name of Richard Nixon to become, as he told his mother, “an honest lawyer, who can’t be bought by crooks.” Too bad he didn’t say the same thing about being a politician.


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