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Re: [prezveepsenator] Re: DeLay to give up majority leader post

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  • THOMAS JOHNSON
    He s been running in the mid 30s in his district approval ratings BEFORE the Abramhoff revelations. Any politician who takes a corporate jet to his own
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 7, 2006
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      He's been running in the mid 30s in his district
      approval ratings BEFORE the Abramhoff revelations. Any
      politician who takes a corporate jet to his own
      ethnics arraignment just doesn't get it.
      OK, historians.. Is Nancy Pelosi right when she labels
      this Congress the most corrupt in our nation's
      history?
      Tom



      --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

      > It's been quite a delay, LOL!
      >
      > A bit lame, but still funny to say.
      >
      > Ram
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Greg Cannon
      I thought it was Harry Reid that said, not Pelosi? Or maybe they both said it. As to whether it s true, I really don t know. Congress right now certainly seems
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 7, 2006
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        I thought it was Harry Reid that said, not Pelosi? Or
        maybe they both said it. As to whether it's true, I
        really don't know. Congress right now certainly seems
        very corrupt, but there may have been times when it
        was even more. There's undoubtedly been plenty of
        Congressional corruption throughout history that never
        saw the light of day, and the public never realized
        how things really were in Washington. For other very
        corrupt times I'd suspect that the decades between the
        Civil War and the Progressive Era may have equalled or
        surpassed our time. I don't know enough about the
        Credit Mobilier scandal, but I think it may somewhat
        parallel the Abramoff scandal.

        --- THOMAS JOHNSON <AVRCRDNG@...> wrote:

        > He's been running in the mid 30s in his district
        > approval ratings BEFORE the Abramhoff revelations.
        > Any
        > politician who takes a corporate jet to his own
        > ethnics arraignment just doesn't get it.
        > OK, historians.. Is Nancy Pelosi right when she
        > labels
        > this Congress the most corrupt in our nation's
        > history?
        > Tom
        >
        >
        >
        > --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:
        >
        > > It's been quite a delay, LOL!
        > >
        > > A bit lame, but still funny to say.
        > >
        > > Ram
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > >
        > >
        > > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
      • Gregory
        I think one should look at the era of westward growth and the days of the railroads expanding across America for a time when Congress had some problems. Was
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 7, 2006
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          I think one should look at the era of westward growth and the days of
          the railroads expanding across America for a time when Congress had
          some problems. Was it worse? I guess that all is a judgement call
          and how one evaluates it. But I can tell you this from just being
          old enough to know, but in the last 25 years nothing has topped this
          last week for pure scandal and nervous folks all over D.C.

          Gregory

          --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, THOMAS JOHNSON
          <AVRCRDNG@F...> wrote:
          >
          > He's been running in the mid 30s in his district
          > approval ratings BEFORE the Abramhoff revelations. Any
          > politician who takes a corporate jet to his own
          > ethnics arraignment just doesn't get it.
          > OK, historians.. Is Nancy Pelosi right when she labels
          > this Congress the most corrupt in our nation's
          > history?
          > Tom
          >
          >
          >
          > --- Ram Lau <ramlau@y...> wrote:
          >
          > > It's been quite a delay, LOL!
          > >
          > > A bit lame, but still funny to say.
          > >
          > > Ram
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • Ram Lau
          Tom, I have to agree with the other two distinguish historian members and conclude that the Gilded Age was a very corrupt era. But after the corruption came
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 7, 2006
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            Tom,

            I have to agree with the other two distinguish historian members and
            conclude that the Gilded Age was a very corrupt era. But after the
            corruption came the better days of the Progressive era.

            Let's hope that history repeats itself very soon!

            Ram


            --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory" <greggolopry@c...>
            wrote:
            >
            > I think one should look at the era of westward growth and the days of
            > the railroads expanding across America for a time when Congress had
            > some problems. Was it worse? I guess that all is a judgement call
            > and how one evaluates it. But I can tell you this from just being
            > old enough to know, but in the last 25 years nothing has topped this
            > last week for pure scandal and nervous folks all over D.C.
            >
            > Gregory
            >
            > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, THOMAS JOHNSON
            > <AVRCRDNG@F...> wrote:
            > >
            > > He's been running in the mid 30s in his district
            > > approval ratings BEFORE the Abramhoff revelations. Any
            > > politician who takes a corporate jet to his own
            > > ethnics arraignment just doesn't get it.
            > > OK, historians.. Is Nancy Pelosi right when she labels
            > > this Congress the most corrupt in our nation's
            > > history?
            > > Tom
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > --- Ram Lau <ramlau@y...> wrote:
            > >
            > > > It's been quite a delay, LOL!
            > > >
            > > > A bit lame, but still funny to say.
            > > >
            > > > Ram
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
            > > >
            > > >
            > > > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > >
            >
          • THOMAS JOHNSON
            Greg, I heard or read the quote attributed to Pelosi,but hopefully she and Reid are presenting a united front and delivering the same message, so they probably
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 7, 2006
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              Greg,
              I heard or read the quote attributed to Pelosi,but
              hopefully she and Reid are presenting a united front
              and delivering the same message, so they probably both
              said it.
              The Harding administration was was incredibly
              corrupt, but lasted only 4 years until Harding got a
              clue... I think it may have killed him.
              I actually saw testimony before a congressional
              sub-committee in 2004 that the Bush administration was
              took Iraqi forklifts found during the occupation,
              painted them and charged the US govt for new
              forklifts and funnelled the money back to the
              re-election fund. Don't know if it's true but somebody
              testified under oath that it was.

              Tom





              --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

              > Tom,
              >
              > I have to agree with the other two distinguish
              > historian members and
              > conclude that the Gilded Age was a very corrupt era.
              > But after the
              > corruption came the better days of the Progressive
              > era.
              >
              > Let's hope that history repeats itself very soon!
              >
              > Ram
              >
              >
              > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Gregory"
              > <greggolopry@c...>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > I think one should look at the era of westward
              > growth and the days of
              > > the railroads expanding across America for a time
              > when Congress had
              > > some problems. Was it worse? I guess that all is
              > a judgement call
              > > and how one evaluates it. But I can tell you this
              > from just being
              > > old enough to know, but in the last 25 years
              > nothing has topped this
              > > last week for pure scandal and nervous folks all
              > over D.C.
              > >
              > > Gregory
              > >
              > > --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, THOMAS
              > JOHNSON
              > > <AVRCRDNG@F...> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > He's been running in the mid 30s in his district
              > > > approval ratings BEFORE the Abramhoff
              > revelations. Any
              > > > politician who takes a corporate jet to his own
              > > > ethnics arraignment just doesn't get it.
              > > > OK, historians.. Is Nancy Pelosi right when she
              > labels
              > > > this Congress the most corrupt in our nation's
              > > > history?
              > > > Tom
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > --- Ram Lau <ramlau@y...> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > > It's been quite a delay, LOL!
              > > > >
              > > > > A bit lame, but still funny to say.
              > > > >
              > > > > Ram
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > > >
              > > >
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Ram Lau
              ... A quick correction here. :-) Technically the Harding administration lasted only about 2 years between his inauguration and his death in 1922. But Coolidge
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 8, 2006
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                > The Harding administration was was incredibly
                > corrupt, but lasted only 4 years until Harding got a
                > clue... I think it may have killed him.

                A quick correction here. :-)

                Technically the Harding administration lasted only about 2 years
                between his inauguration and his death in 1922. But Coolidge kept most
                of his cabinet members until the end the remaining term.

                Ram
              • Ram Lau
                ... And, of course, I actually meant 1923 not 1922. Ram
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 8, 2006
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                  > Technically the Harding administration lasted only about 2 years
                  > between his inauguration and his death in 1922. But Coolidge kept most
                  > of his cabinet members until the end the remaining term.

                  And, of course, I actually meant 1923 not 1922.

                  Ram
                • THOMAS JOHNSON
                  Good point, Ram.. I had it in my head that he died in early 1924, but it was actually Aug. 2, 1923. Does anyone have an opinion on whether the discovery of
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 8, 2006
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                    Good point, Ram.. I had it in my head that he died in
                    early 1924, but it was actually Aug. 2, 1923. Does
                    anyone have an opinion on whether the discovery of the
                    scandal hastened his demise?

                    Tom



                    --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

                    > > The Harding administration was was incredibly
                    > > corrupt, but lasted only 4 years until Harding got
                    > a
                    > > clue... I think it may have killed him.
                    >
                    > A quick correction here. :-)
                    >
                    > Technically the Harding administration lasted only
                    > about 2 years
                    > between his inauguration and his death in 1922. But
                    > Coolidge kept most
                    > of his cabinet members until the end the remaining
                    > term.
                    >
                    > Ram
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    > prezveepsenator-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • Ram Lau
                    http://www.fvza.org/harding.html Famous Cases: Who Killed Warren Harding? Report Number: 2381* *As the actual file is missing, this case has been pieced
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 9, 2006
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                      http://www.fvza.org/harding.html
                      Famous Cases: Who Killed Warren Harding?

                      Report Number: 2381*

                      *As the actual file is missing, this case has been pieced together
                      from interviews, memoirs and assorted public records.

                      Date: August 2, 1923
                      Location: San Francisco, California


                      Of all the American presidents who died in office, none had more
                      questions surrounding his demise than the 29th President, Warren
                      Harding. After Harding expired in San Francisco on August 2, 1923, the
                      cause of death was ascribed to food poisoning, a determination later
                      changed to stroke. However, many people suspected murder, as Harding
                      had his share of enemies. But the true story behind Harding's death
                      may have gone to the grave with one dogged FVZA Agent.

                      Background: Warren Harding came out of nowhere to seize the 1920
                      Republican Presidential nomination and go on to win the election.
                      Almost from the outset, his administration was plagued with scandal.
                      Harding installed several of his old Ohio friends in important
                      positions within his Cabinet, and his White House was known more for
                      its poker games and evening burlesques than for any actual
                      legislation. The mid-term congressional elections of 1922, in which
                      Republican candidates got hammered, were a wake-up call for Harding,
                      who said of his friends, "they're the ones that keep me walking the
                      floors at night." In a June 1923 speech, Harding vowed to rid his
                      administration of corruption. But before doing so, the President had
                      to make a long-promised trip west with his wife Florence and his good
                      friend Jess Smith, assistant to the U.S. Attorney General.

                      Shortly before he left, the President received information that
                      someone in the Justice Department was receiving kickbacks from Chicago
                      gangster Al Capone's organization in order to protect Capone's
                      monopoly on bootlegging (the United States had been "dry" since
                      Prohibition began in 1919). Harding discussed the matter with Jess
                      Smith, and both men endeavored to launch a full investigation when
                      they returned to Washington.

                      Harding's historic trip west was beset with problems. A ship taking
                      the President up the Alaska coast ran aground, then the President
                      became sick with food poisoning after dining on some local crabs. On
                      July 30, 1923, as the ship set sail from Alaska to San Francisco for
                      the last leg of the trip, President Harding was eager to get back to
                      Washington and commence a new, corruption-free chapter in his presidency.

                      Incident: On the night of August 1, Franklin Prevost, Director of the
                      FVZA office in San Francisco, received an urgent call from Jess Smith
                      asking him to meet the Presidential boat as it steamed into the
                      harbor. Prevost, an ambitious, idealistic young man who had risen to
                      become the youngest regional director in the Agency's history, boarded
                      the boat on a typically foggy San Francisco evening and was informed
                      by Smith that President Harding had been bitten by a vampire some time
                      the previous evening. Smith told Prevost that one of the ship's hands,
                      a Norwegian named Olaf Johans, had done it, and that he had leaped
                      overboard after the attack. Prevost entered the Presidential Suite and
                      found Harding in a vampiric coma, the telltale puncture wounds on his
                      neck, his wife Florence at his bedside. A brief discussion arrived at
                      the only reasonable course of action, and the President was put out of
                      his misery with a dose of cyanide.

                      Both Smith and Florence Harding wanted to keep the true means of the
                      President's demise a secret. Prevost was hesitant, but eventually
                      agreed to keep quiet and so, on August 2, 1923, it was announced that
                      President Harding had died of food poisoning while on his way to San
                      Francisco. No further investigation was ever conducted, as Florence
                      Harding would not allow an autopsy on her husband. The body was
                      returned to Washington for burial, and for the first and only time in
                      American history, an FVZA report was suppressed.

                      The official version of death by poisoning did little to quell rumors
                      flying around Washington and the rest of the country. Why hadn't Mrs.
                      Harding permitted an autopsy, and why was there such a hasty burial?
                      If Warren Harding had been murdered, then there were no shortage of
                      suspects. Harding's promise to wipe out corruption would likely mean
                      jail time for some of his pals. Even Harding's wife, Florence, came
                      under suspicion, as the President's many affairs had caused her great
                      personal anguish and embarrassment.

                      Investigation: The rumors and suspicions eventually died down as
                      Vermonter Calvin Coolidge assumed the reins of government. But across
                      the country in San Francisco, several unanswered questions continued
                      to nag at FVZA Director Prevost. How had a man bitten by a vampire
                      been able to board a ship carrying the President? And how had that
                      vampire gotten to Harding, who was under full Secret Service protection?

                      Prevost quietly began his own investigation, interviewing everyone who
                      had been on or around the ship in the days leading up to Harding's
                      death. He learned that the Norwegian shiphand had disappeared two days
                      before the ship's departure from Alaska. A big break came when a
                      witness identified John Scalise and Albert Anselmi, two thugs from the
                      Al Capone crime organization, as leaving the ship the night before
                      Harding was bitten. Prevost began to consider the possibility that
                      Capone had put a hit on the President to preserve his bootlegging
                      operation. But the means of the hit-murder by vampire-didn't match
                      gangster modus operandi. And it still didn't explain how the vampire
                      had gotten to the President.

                      Then came a stunning announcement from Washington: former Assistant
                      Attorney General Jess Smith had been indicted for accepting bribes
                      from Al Capone. For Prevost, Smith's link to Capone seemed to solve
                      the puzzle of Harding's death. During the trip west, Smith had enjoyed
                      unfettered access to the President, and stood to lose much in
                      Harding's promised purge of corruption. In addition, as assistant head
                      of the Justice Department, Smith had access to the FVZA lab, from
                      which several vials of vampire blood had gone missing shortly before
                      President Harding's trip west. Prevost told FVZA Director Hilton
                      Dickerson of his findings; Dickerson summoned him to Washington, and
                      told to bring along his report.

                      Prevost left San Francisco for Washington on September 12, 1924, but
                      he never reached his destination. As he stepped off the train in St.
                      Louis, two men with tommy guns burst into the station and opened fire.
                      Prevost was shot 12 times, and died a short time later at a nearby
                      hospital. His report was never recovered.

                      Eyewitness accounts of Prevost's murderers matched descriptions of
                      Capone hit men Scalise and Anselmi. But before police could question
                      the two men, they turned up dead, riddled with shotgun blasts in a
                      Chicago barbershop.

                      Post-Mortems: Although Prevost's file was gone, he left behind enough
                      information in his San Francisco office to build a case against Jess
                      Smith in the death of Harding. FVZA Director Hilton Dickerson had
                      every intention of pursuing the case, until Smith himself wound up
                      dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound (the gun was
                      found in his right hand, but the bullet wound was in his left temple).
                      Smith's death meant that, only two years after Harding's death,
                      virtually everyone involved in the event was gone (Florence Harding
                      died November 21, 1924). Only Al Capone remained, and he wasn't
                      talking. The Harding assassination case was dropped, and Capone
                      continued to prosper until he was jailed for tax evasion in 1931.
                      Afflicted with syphilis, he died in Florida in 1947.

                      Comments from Dr. Pecos: Is it possible that Warren Harding's close
                      friend and Assistant Attorney General Jess Smith arranged and helped
                      carry out the murder of the President? The evidence is certainly
                      compelling. Unfortunately, we will never know the truth, and Harding's
                      cause of death is still officially listed as a stroke. For Franklin
                      Prevost, a man accustomed to battling the undead, the fight against
                      organized crime was played out under a different set of rules. Though
                      he paid for it with his life, Franklin Prevost's courage stands as a
                      proud chapter in FVZA history.
                    • greg
                      I am somehow doubtful of the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency s accuracy, and I unfortunately couldn t find any other mentions of Frank Prevost on Google. But
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 9, 2006
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                        I am somehow doubtful of the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency's
                        accuracy, and I unfortunately couldn't find any other mentions of
                        Frank Prevost on Google. But I did find some on Jess Smith. He was
                        Assistant Attorney General and he apparently was tied to Capone. He
                        committed suicide in 1923, probably with help from Capone.

                        http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks05/0500831h.html
                        http://64.233.187.104/search?q=cache:HnO7jUcRQNkJ:www.georgetown.txed.net/faculty/ghs/FisherJ/AP%2520US/The%25201920.doc+%22Jess+Smith%22+Capone&hl=en
                        http://www.referatele.com/referate/engleza/online7/Prohibition-referatele-com.php

                        --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@y...> wrote:
                        >
                        > http://www.fvza.org/harding.html
                        > Famous Cases: Who Killed Warren Harding?
                        >
                        > Report Number: 2381*
                        >
                        > *As the actual file is missing, this case has been pieced together
                        > from interviews, memoirs and assorted public records.
                        >
                        > Date: August 2, 1923
                        > Location: San Francisco, California
                        >
                        >
                        > Of all the American presidents who died in office, none had more
                        > questions surrounding his demise than the 29th President, Warren
                        > Harding. After Harding expired in San Francisco on August 2, 1923, the
                        > cause of death was ascribed to food poisoning, a determination later
                        > changed to stroke. However, many people suspected murder, as Harding
                        > had his share of enemies. But the true story behind Harding's death
                        > may have gone to the grave with one dogged FVZA Agent.
                        >
                        > Background: Warren Harding came out of nowhere to seize the 1920
                        > Republican Presidential nomination and go on to win the election.
                        > Almost from the outset, his administration was plagued with scandal.
                        > Harding installed several of his old Ohio friends in important
                        > positions within his Cabinet, and his White House was known more for
                        > its poker games and evening burlesques than for any actual
                        > legislation. The mid-term congressional elections of 1922, in which
                        > Republican candidates got hammered, were a wake-up call for Harding,
                        > who said of his friends, "they're the ones that keep me walking the
                        > floors at night." In a June 1923 speech, Harding vowed to rid his
                        > administration of corruption. But before doing so, the President had
                        > to make a long-promised trip west with his wife Florence and his good
                        > friend Jess Smith, assistant to the U.S. Attorney General.
                        >
                        > Shortly before he left, the President received information that
                        > someone in the Justice Department was receiving kickbacks from Chicago
                        > gangster Al Capone's organization in order to protect Capone's
                        > monopoly on bootlegging (the United States had been "dry" since
                        > Prohibition began in 1919). Harding discussed the matter with Jess
                        > Smith, and both men endeavored to launch a full investigation when
                        > they returned to Washington.
                        >
                        > Harding's historic trip west was beset with problems. A ship taking
                        > the President up the Alaska coast ran aground, then the President
                        > became sick with food poisoning after dining on some local crabs. On
                        > July 30, 1923, as the ship set sail from Alaska to San Francisco for
                        > the last leg of the trip, President Harding was eager to get back to
                        > Washington and commence a new, corruption-free chapter in his
                        presidency.
                        >
                        > Incident: On the night of August 1, Franklin Prevost, Director of the
                        > FVZA office in San Francisco, received an urgent call from Jess Smith
                        > asking him to meet the Presidential boat as it steamed into the
                        > harbor. Prevost, an ambitious, idealistic young man who had risen to
                        > become the youngest regional director in the Agency's history, boarded
                        > the boat on a typically foggy San Francisco evening and was informed
                        > by Smith that President Harding had been bitten by a vampire some time
                        > the previous evening. Smith told Prevost that one of the ship's hands,
                        > a Norwegian named Olaf Johans, had done it, and that he had leaped
                        > overboard after the attack. Prevost entered the Presidential Suite and
                        > found Harding in a vampiric coma, the telltale puncture wounds on his
                        > neck, his wife Florence at his bedside. A brief discussion arrived at
                        > the only reasonable course of action, and the President was put out of
                        > his misery with a dose of cyanide.
                        >
                        > Both Smith and Florence Harding wanted to keep the true means of the
                        > President's demise a secret. Prevost was hesitant, but eventually
                        > agreed to keep quiet and so, on August 2, 1923, it was announced that
                        > President Harding had died of food poisoning while on his way to San
                        > Francisco. No further investigation was ever conducted, as Florence
                        > Harding would not allow an autopsy on her husband. The body was
                        > returned to Washington for burial, and for the first and only time in
                        > American history, an FVZA report was suppressed.
                        >
                        > The official version of death by poisoning did little to quell rumors
                        > flying around Washington and the rest of the country. Why hadn't Mrs.
                        > Harding permitted an autopsy, and why was there such a hasty burial?
                        > If Warren Harding had been murdered, then there were no shortage of
                        > suspects. Harding's promise to wipe out corruption would likely mean
                        > jail time for some of his pals. Even Harding's wife, Florence, came
                        > under suspicion, as the President's many affairs had caused her great
                        > personal anguish and embarrassment.
                        >
                        > Investigation: The rumors and suspicions eventually died down as
                        > Vermonter Calvin Coolidge assumed the reins of government. But across
                        > the country in San Francisco, several unanswered questions continued
                        > to nag at FVZA Director Prevost. How had a man bitten by a vampire
                        > been able to board a ship carrying the President? And how had that
                        > vampire gotten to Harding, who was under full Secret Service protection?
                        >
                        > Prevost quietly began his own investigation, interviewing everyone who
                        > had been on or around the ship in the days leading up to Harding's
                        > death. He learned that the Norwegian shiphand had disappeared two days
                        > before the ship's departure from Alaska. A big break came when a
                        > witness identified John Scalise and Albert Anselmi, two thugs from the
                        > Al Capone crime organization, as leaving the ship the night before
                        > Harding was bitten. Prevost began to consider the possibility that
                        > Capone had put a hit on the President to preserve his bootlegging
                        > operation. But the means of the hit-murder by vampire-didn't match
                        > gangster modus operandi. And it still didn't explain how the vampire
                        > had gotten to the President.
                        >
                        > Then came a stunning announcement from Washington: former Assistant
                        > Attorney General Jess Smith had been indicted for accepting bribes
                        > from Al Capone. For Prevost, Smith's link to Capone seemed to solve
                        > the puzzle of Harding's death. During the trip west, Smith had enjoyed
                        > unfettered access to the President, and stood to lose much in
                        > Harding's promised purge of corruption. In addition, as assistant head
                        > of the Justice Department, Smith had access to the FVZA lab, from
                        > which several vials of vampire blood had gone missing shortly before
                        > President Harding's trip west. Prevost told FVZA Director Hilton
                        > Dickerson of his findings; Dickerson summoned him to Washington, and
                        > told to bring along his report.
                        >
                        > Prevost left San Francisco for Washington on September 12, 1924, but
                        > he never reached his destination. As he stepped off the train in St.
                        > Louis, two men with tommy guns burst into the station and opened fire.
                        > Prevost was shot 12 times, and died a short time later at a nearby
                        > hospital. His report was never recovered.
                        >
                        > Eyewitness accounts of Prevost's murderers matched descriptions of
                        > Capone hit men Scalise and Anselmi. But before police could question
                        > the two men, they turned up dead, riddled with shotgun blasts in a
                        > Chicago barbershop.
                        >
                        > Post-Mortems: Although Prevost's file was gone, he left behind enough
                        > information in his San Francisco office to build a case against Jess
                        > Smith in the death of Harding. FVZA Director Hilton Dickerson had
                        > every intention of pursuing the case, until Smith himself wound up
                        > dead from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound (the gun was
                        > found in his right hand, but the bullet wound was in his left temple).
                        > Smith's death meant that, only two years after Harding's death,
                        > virtually everyone involved in the event was gone (Florence Harding
                        > died November 21, 1924). Only Al Capone remained, and he wasn't
                        > talking. The Harding assassination case was dropped, and Capone
                        > continued to prosper until he was jailed for tax evasion in 1931.
                        > Afflicted with syphilis, he died in Florida in 1947.
                        >
                        > Comments from Dr. Pecos: Is it possible that Warren Harding's close
                        > friend and Assistant Attorney General Jess Smith arranged and helped
                        > carry out the murder of the President? The evidence is certainly
                        > compelling. Unfortunately, we will never know the truth, and Harding's
                        > cause of death is still officially listed as a stroke. For Franklin
                        > Prevost, a man accustomed to battling the undead, the fight against
                        > organized crime was played out under a different set of rules. Though
                        > he paid for it with his life, Franklin Prevost's courage stands as a
                        > proud chapter in FVZA history.
                        >
                      • Ram Lau
                        ... I thought they were just a conspiracy group who write parodies about the vampires and zombies. I should have mentioned that in the first place. Here is a
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jan 9, 2006
                        • 0 Attachment
                          > I am somehow doubtful of the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency's
                          > accuracy, and I unfortunately couldn't find any other mentions of
                          > Frank Prevost on Google.

                          I thought they were just a conspiracy group who write parodies about
                          the vampires and zombies. I should have mentioned that in the first
                          place. Here is a more serious and scholarly account from the book
                          written by Frederick Lewis Allen published in 1931:

                          http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/ALLEN/ch6.html
                          HARDING AND THE SCANDALS

                          Having been personal attorney for Warren G. Harding before he was
                          Senator from Ohio and while he was Senator, and thereafter until his
                          death.
                          --And for Mrs. Harding for a period of several years, and before her
                          husband was elected President and after his death,
                          --And having been attorney for the Midland National Bank of Washington
                          Court House, O., and for my brother, M. S. Daugherty,
                          --And having been Attorney-General of the United States during the
                          time that President Harding served as President,
                          --And also for a time after President Harding's death under President
                          Coolidge,
                          --And with all of those named, as attorney, personal friend, and
                          Attorney-General, my relations were of the most confidential character
                          as well as professional,
                          --I refuse to testify and answer questions put to me, because:
                          The answer I might give or make and the testimony I might give might
                          tend to incriminate me.

                          --Harry M. Daugherty's written reply when called upon by Judge
                          Thacher for information for the Federal Grand Jury in New York, March
                          31, 1926. (Punctuation revised.)

                          ON THE morning of March 4, 1921,—a brilliant morning with a frosty air
                          and a wind which whipped the flags of Washington—Woodrow Wilson,
                          broken and bent and ill, limped from the White House door to a waiting
                          automobile, rode down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol with the
                          stalwart President-elect at his side, and returned to the bitter
                          seclusion of his private house in S Street. Warren Gamaliel Harding
                          was sworn in as President of the United States. The reign of normalcy
                          had begun.

                          March 4, 1921: what do those cold figures mean to you? Let us for turn
                          back for a moment to that day and look about us.

                          The war had been over for more than two years, although, as the Treaty
                          of Versailles had been thrown out by the Senate and Woodrow Wilson had
                          refused to compromise with the gentlemen at the other end of the
                          Avenue, a technical state of war still existed between Germany and the
                          United States. Business, having boomed until the middle of 1920, was
                          collapsing into the depths of depression and dragging down with it the
                          price-level which had caused so much uproar about the High Cost of
                          Living. The Big Red Scare was gradually ebbing, although the
                          super-patriots still raged and Sacco and Vanzetti had not yet come to
                          trial before Judge Thayer. The Ku-Klux Klan was acquiring its first
                          few hundred thousand members. The Eighteenth Amendment was entering
                          upon its second year, and rum-runners and bootleggers were beginning
                          to acquire confidence. The sins of the flappers were disturbing the
                          nation; it was at about this time that Philadelphia produced the
                          "moral gown" and the Literary Digest featured a symposium entitled,
                          "Is the Younger Generation in Peril?" The first radio broadcasting
                          station in the country was hardly four months old and the radio craze
                          was not yet. Skirts had climbed halfway to the knee and seemed likely
                          to go down again, a crime commission had just been investigating
                          Chicago's crime wave, Judge Landis had become the czar of baseball,
                          Dempsey and Carpentier had signed to meet the following summer at
                          Boyle's Thirty Acres, and Main Street and The Outline of History were
                          becoming best sellers.

                          The nation was spiritually tired. Wearied by the excitements of the
                          war and the nervous tension of the Big Red Scare, they hoped for quiet
                          and healing. Sick of Wilson and his talk of America's duty to
                          humanity, callous to political idealism, they hoped for a chance to
                          pursue their private affairs without governmental interference and to
                          forget about public affairs. There might be no such word in the
                          dictionary as normalcy, but normalcy was what they wanted.

                          Every new administration at Washington begins in a atmosphere of
                          expectant good will, but in this case the airs which lapped the
                          capital were particularly bland. The smile of the new President was as
                          warming as a spring thaw after a winter of discontent. For four long
                          years the gates of the White House had been locked and guarded with
                          sentries. Harding's first official act was to throw them open, to
                          permit a horde of sight-seers to roam the grounds and flatten their
                          noses against the executive window-panes and photograph one another
                          under the great north portico; to permit flivvers and trucks to detour
                          from Pennsylvania Avenue up the driveway and chortle right past the
                          presidential front door. The act seemed to symbolize the return of the
                          government to the people. Wilson had been denounced as an autocrat,
                          had proudly kept his own counsel; Harding modestly said he would rely
                          on the "best minds" to advise him, and took his oath of office upon
                          the verse from Micah which asks, "What doth the Lord require of thee
                          but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
                          Wilson had seemed to be everlastingly prying into the affairs of
                          business and had distrusted most business men; Harding meant to give
                          them as free a hand as possible "to resume their normal onward way."
                          And finally, whereas Wilson had been an austere academic theorist,
                          Harding was "just folks": he radiated an unaffected good nature, met
                          reporters and White House visitors with a warm handclasp and a genial
                          word, and touched the sentimental heart of America by establishing in
                          the White House a dog named Laddie Boy. "The Washington atmosphere of
                          today is like that of Old Home Week or a college class reunion," wrote
                          Edward G. Lowry shortly after Harding took office. "The change is
                          amazing. The populace is on a broad grin." An era of good will seemed
                          to be beginning.

                          Warren Harding had two great assets, and these were already apparent.
                          First, he looked as a President of the United States should. He was
                          superbly handsome. His face and carriage had a Washingtonian nobility
                          and dignity, his eyes were benign; he photographed well and the
                          pictures of him in the rotogravure sections won him affection and
                          respect. And he was the friendliest man who ever had entered the White
                          House. He seemed to like everybody, he wanted to do favors for
                          everybody, he wanted to make everybody happy. His affability was not
                          merely the forced affability of the cold-blooded politician; it was
                          transparently and touchingly genuine. "Neighbor," he had said to
                          Herbert Hoover at their first meeting, during the war, "I want to be
                          helpful." He meant it; and now that he was President, he wanted to be
                          helpful to neighbors from Marion and neighbors from campaign
                          headquarters and to the whole neighborly American public.

                          His liabilities were not at first so apparent, yet they were
                          disastrously real. Beyond the limited scope of his political
                          experience he was "almost unbelievably ill-informed," as William Allen
                          White put it. His mind was vague and fuzzy. Its quality was revealed
                          in the clogged style of his public addresses, in his choice of turgid
                          and maladroit language ("non-involvement" in European affairs,
                          "adhesion" to a treaty), and in his frequent attacks of suffix trouble
                          ("normalcy" for normality, "betrothment" for betrothal). It was
                          revealed even more clearly in his helplessness when confronted by
                          questions of policy to which mere good nature could not find the
                          answer. White tells of Harding's coming into the office of one of his
                          secretaries after a day of listening to his advisers wrangling over a
                          tax problem, and crying out: "John, I can't make a damn thing out of
                          this tax problem. I listen to one side and they seem right, and
                          then—God!—I talk to the other side and they seem just as right, and
                          here I am where I started. I know somewhere there is a book that will
                          give me the truth, but, hell, I couldn't read the book. I know
                          somewhere there is an economist who knows the truth, but I don't know
                          where to find him and haven't the sense to know him and trust him when
                          I find him. God! what a job!" His inability to discover for himself
                          the essential facts of a problem and to think it through made him
                          utterly dependent upon subordinates and friends whose mental processes
                          were sharper than his own.

                          If he had been discriminating in the choice of his friends and
                          advisers, all might have been well. But discrimination had been left
                          out of his equipment. He appointed Charles Evans Hughes and Herbert
                          Hoover and Andrew Mellon to Cabinet positions out of a vague sense
                          that they would provide his administration with the necessary amount
                          of statesmanship, but he was as ready to follow the lead of Daugherty
                          or Fall or Forbes. He had little notion of technical fitness for
                          technical jobs. Offices were plums to him, and he handed them out like
                          a benevolent Santa Claus—beginning with the boys from Marion. He made
                          his brother-in-law Superintendent of Prisons; he not only kept the
                          insignificant Doctor Sawyer, of Sawyer's Sanitarium at Marion, as his
                          personal physician, but bestowed upon him what a White House
                          announcement called a "brigadier-generalcy" (suffix trouble again) and
                          deputed him to study the possible coordination of the health agencies
                          of the government; and for Comptroller of the Currency he selected D.
                          R. Crissinger, a Marion lawyer whose executive banking experience was
                          limited to a few months as president of the National City Bank and
                          Trust Company—of Marion.

                          Nor did Harding appear to be able to distinguish between honesty and
                          rascality. He had been trained in the sordid school of practical Ohio
                          politics. He had served for years as the majestic Doric false front
                          behind which Ohio lobbyists and fixers and purchasers of privilege had
                          discussed their "business propositions" and put over their "little
                          deals"—and they, too, followed him to Washington, along with the boys
                          from Marion. Some of them he put into positions of power, others he
                          saw assuming positions of power; knowing them intimately, he must have
                          known—if he was capable of a minute's clear and unprejudiced
                          thought—how they would inevitably use those positions; but he was too
                          fond of his old cronies, too anxious to have them share his good
                          fortune, and too muddle-minded to face the issue until it was too
                          late. He liked to slip away from the White House to the house in H
                          Street where the Ohio gang and their intimates reveled and liquor
                          flowed freely without undue regard for prohibition, and a man could
                          take his pleasure at the poker table and forget the cares of state;
                          and the easiest course to take was not to inquire too closely into
                          what the boys were doing, to hope that if they were grafting a little
                          on the side they'd be reasonable about it and not do anything to let
                          old Warren down.

                          And why did he choose such company? The truth was that under his
                          imposing exterior he was just a common small-town man, an "average
                          sensual man," the sort of man who likes nothing better in the world
                          than to be with the old bunch when they gather at Joe's place for an
                          all-Saturday-night session, with waistcoats unbuttoned and cigars
                          between their teeth and an ample supply of bottles and cracked ice at
                          hand. His private life was one of cheap sex episodes; as one reads the
                          confessions of his mistress, who claims that as President he was
                          supporting an illegitimate baby born hardly a year before his
                          election, one is struck by the shabbiness of the whole affair: the
                          clandestine meetings in disreputable hotels, in the Senate Office
                          Building (where Nan Britton believed their child to have been
                          conceived), and even in a coat-closet in the executive offices of the
                          White House itself. (Doubts have been cast upon the truth of the story
                          told in The President's Daughter, but is it easy to imagine any one
                          making up out of whole cloth a supposedly autobiographical story
                          compounded of such ignoble adventures?) Even making due allowance for
                          the refraction of Harding's personality through that of Nan Britton,
                          one sees with deadly clarity the essential ordinariness of the man,
                          the commonness of his "Gee, dearie" and "Say, you darling," his being
                          swindled out of a hundred dollars by card sharpers on a train ride,
                          his naive assurance to Nan, when detectives broke in upon them in a
                          Broadway hotel, that they could not be arrested because it was illegal
                          to detain a Senator while "en route to Washington to serve the
                          people." Warren Harding's ambitious wife had tailored and groomed him
                          into outward respectability and made a man of substance of him; yet
                          even now, after he had reached the White House, the rowdies of the
                          Ohio gang were fundamentally his sort. He had risen above them, he
                          could mingle urbanely with their superiors, but it was in the smoke
                          filled rooms of the house in H Street that he was really most at home.

                          Harding had no sooner arrived at the White House than a swarm of
                          practical politicians of the McKinley-Foraker vintage reappeared in
                          Washington. Blowsy gentlemen with cigars stuck in their cheeks and
                          rolls of very useful hundred-dollar bills in their pockets began to
                          infest the Washington hotels. The word ran about that you could do
                          business with the government now——if you only fixed things up with the
                          right man. The oil men licked their chops; had they not lobbied
                          powerfully at the Chicago convention for the nomination of just such a
                          man as Harding, who did not take this conservation nonsense too
                          seriously, and would not Harding's Secretary of the Interior, Albert
                          B. Fall, let them develop the national resources on friendly and not
                          too stringent terms? The Ohio gang chuckled over the feast awaiting
                          them: the chances for graft at Columbus had been a piker's chance
                          compared with those which the mastery of the federal government would
                          offer him. Warren Harding wanted to be helpful. Well, he would have a
                          chance to be.
                          [2]


                          The public at large, however, knew little and cared less about what
                          was happening behind the scenes. Their eyes—when they bothered to look
                          at all—were upon the well lighted stage where the Harding
                          Administration was playing a drama of discreet and seemly statesmanship.

                          Peace with Germany, so long deferred was made by a resolution signed
                          by the President on July 2, 1921. The Government of the United States
                          was put upon a unified budget basis for the first time in history by
                          the passage of the Budget Act of 1921, and Charles G. Dawes, becoming
                          Director of the Budget, entranced the newspaper-reading public with
                          his picturesque language, his underslung pipe, and his broom-waving
                          histrionics when he harangued the bureau chiefs on behalf of business
                          efficiency. Immigration was restricted, being put upon a quota basis,
                          to the satisfaction of labor and the relief of those who felt that the
                          amount of melting being done in the melting-pot was disappointingly
                          small. Congress raised the tariff, as all good Republican Congresses
                          should. Secretary Mellon pleased the financial powers of the country
                          by arguing for the lowering of the high surtaxes upon large incomes;
                          and although an obstreperous Farm Bloc joined with the Democrats to
                          keep the maximum surtax at 50 per cent, Wall Street at least felt that
                          the Administration's heart was in the right place. Every foe of union
                          labor was sure of this when Attorney-General Daugherty confronted the
                          striking railway shopmen with an injunction worthy of Mitchell Palmer
                          himself. In January, 1923, an agreement for the funding of the British
                          war debt to the United States was made in Washington; it was shortly
                          ratified by the Senate. The outstanding achievement of the Harding
                          Administration, however, was undoubtedly the Washington Conference for
                          the Limitation of Armaments--or, as the newspapers insisted upon
                          calling it, the "Arms Parley."

                          Since the war the major powers of the world had begun once more their
                          race for supremacy in armament. England, the United States, and Japan
                          were all building ships for dear life. The rivalry between them was
                          rendered acute by the growing tension in the Pacific. During the war
                          Japan had seized her golden opportunity for the expansion of her
                          commercial empire: her rivals being very much occupied elsewhere, she
                          had begun to regard China as her special sphere of interest and to
                          treat it as a sort of protectorate where her commerce would have prior
                          rights to that of other nations. Her hand was strengthened by an
                          alliance with England. When Charles Evans Hughes became Secretary of
                          State and began to stand up for American rights in the Orient,
                          applying once more the traditional American policy of the Open Door,
                          it was soon apparent that the situation was ticklish. Japan wanted her
                          own way; the Americans opposed it; and there lay the Philippines,
                          apparently right under Japan's thumb if trouble should break out! All
                          three powers, Britain, Japan, and the United States, would be the
                          gainers by an amicable agreement about the points under dispute in the
                          Pacific, by the substitution of a three-cornered agreement for the
                          Japanese-British alliance, and by an arrangement for the limitation of
                          fleets. Senator Borah proposed an international conference. Harding
                          and Hughes took up his suggestion, the conference was called, and on
                          November 12, 1921—the day following the solemn burial of America's
                          Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery-the delegates assembled in
                          Washington.

                          President Harding opened the first session with a cordial if profuse
                          speech of welcome, and true to his policy of leaving difficult
                          problems to be solved by the "best minds," left Secretary Hughes and
                          his associates to do the actual negotiating. In this case his
                          hands-off policy worked well. Hughes not only had a brilliant mind, he
                          had a definite program and a masterly grasp of the complicated issues
                          at stake. President Harding had hardly walked out of Memorial
                          Continental Hall when the Secretary of State, installed as chairman of
                          the conference, began what seemed at first only the perfunctory
                          address of greeting—and then, to the amazement of the delegates
                          assembled about the long conference tables, came out with a definite
                          and detailed program: a ten-year naval holiday, during which no
                          capital ships should be built; the abandonment of all
                          capital-shipbuilding plans, either actual or projected; the scrapping,
                          by the three nations, of almost two million tons of ships built or
                          building; and the limitation of replacement according to a 5-5-3
                          ratio: the American and British navies to be kept at parity and the
                          Japanese at three-fifths of the size of each.

                          "With the acceptance of this plan," concluded Secretary Hughes amid a
                          breathless silence, "the burden of meeting the demands of competition
                          in naval armament will be lifted. Enormous sums will be released to
                          aid the progress of civilization. At the same time the proper demands
                          of national defense will be adequately met and the nations will have
                          ample opportunity during the naval holiday of ten years to consider
                          their future course. Preparation for offensive naval war will stop now."

                          The effect of this direct and specific proposal was prodigious. At the
                          proposal of a naval holiday William Jennings Bryan, sitting among the
                          newspaper men, expressed his enthusiasm with a yell of delight. At the
                          conclusion of Hughes's speech the delegates broke into prolonged
                          applause. It was echoed by the country and by the press of the world.
                          People's imaginations were so stirred by the boldness and
                          effectiveness of the Hughes plan that the success of the conference
                          became almost inevitable.

                          After three months of negotiation the delegates of Japan, Great
                          Britain, and the United States had agreed upon a treaty which followed
                          the general lines of the Hughes program; had joined with the French in
                          an agreement to respect one another's insular possessions in the
                          Pacific, and to settle all disagreements by conciliatory negotiations;
                          had prepared the way for the withdrawal of Japan from Shantung and
                          Siberia; and had agreed to respect the principle of the open door in
                          China. The treaties were duly ratified by the Senate. The immediate
                          causes of friction in the Pacific were removed; and although cynics
                          might point out that competition in cruisers and submarines was little
                          abated and that battleships were almost obsolete anyhow, the Naval
                          Treaty at least lessened the burden of competition, as Secretary
                          Hughes had predicted, and in addition set a precedent of profound
                          importance. The armaments which a nation built were now definitely
                          recognized as being a matter of international concern, subject to
                          international agreement.

                          Outwardly, then,things seemed to be going well for Warren Harding. He
                          was personally popular; his friendly attitude toward business
                          satisfied the conservative temper of the country; his Secretary of the
                          Treasury was being referred to, wherever two or three bankers or
                          industrialists gathered together, as the "greatest since Alexander
                          Hamilton"; his Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover, was aiding trade
                          as efficiently as he had aided the Belgians; and even discouraged
                          idealists had to admit that the Washington Conference had been no mean
                          achievement. Though there were rumors of graft and waste and
                          mismanagement in some departments of the Government, and the director
                          of the Veterans' Bureau had had to leave his office in disgrace, and
                          there was noisy criticism in Congress of certain leases Of oil lands
                          to Messrs. Doheny and Sinclair, these things attracted only a mild
                          public interest. When Harding left in the early summer of 1923 for a
                          visit to Alaska, few people realized that anything was radically wrong
                          with his administration. When, on his way home, he fell ill with what
                          appeared to be ptomaine poisoning, and on his arrival at Sari
                          Francisco his illness went into pneumonia, the country watched the
                          daily headlines with affectionate concern. And when, just as the
                          danger appeared to have been averted, he died suddenly—on August 2,
                          1923——of what his physicians took to be a stroke of apoplexy, the
                          whole nation was plunged into deep—and genuine grief.

                          The President's body was placed upon a special train, which proceeded
                          across the country at the best possible speed to Washington. All along
                          the route, thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children were
                          gathered to see it slip by. Cowboys on the Western hills dismounted
                          and stood uncovered as the train passed. In the cities the throngs of
                          mourners were so dense that the engineer had to reduce his speed and
                          the train fell hours behind schedule. "It is believed," wrote a
                          reporter for the New York Times, "to be the most remarkable
                          demonstration in American history of affection, respect, and reverence
                          for the dead." When Warren Harding's body, after lying in state at
                          Washington, was taken to Marion for burial, his successor proclaimed a
                          day of public mourning, business houses were closed, memorial services
                          were held from one end of the country to the other, flags hung at half
                          mast, and buildings were draped in black.

                          The innumerable speeches made that day expressed no merely perfunctory
                          sentiments; everywhere people felt that a great-hearted man, bowed
                          down with his labors in their behalf, had died a martyr to the service
                          of his country. The dead President was called "a majestic figure who
                          stood out like a rock of consistency"; it was said that "his vision
                          was always on the spiritual"; and Bishop Manning of New York, speaking
                          at a memorial service in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, seemed
                          to be giving the fallen hero no more than his due when he cried, "If I
                          could write one sentence upon his monument it would be this, 'He
                          taught us the power of brotherliness.' It is the greatest lesson that
                          any man can teach us. It is the spirit of the Christian religion. In
                          the spirit of brotherliness and kindness we can solve all the problems
                          that confront us. . . . May God ever give to our country leaders as
                          faithful, as wise, as noble in spirit, as the one whom we now mourn."

                          But as it happens, there are some problems—at least for a President of
                          the United States—that the spirit of brotherliness and kindness will
                          not alone solve. The problem, for example, of what to do when those to
                          whom you have been all too brotherly have enmeshed your administration
                          in graft, and you know that the scandal cannot long be concealed, and
                          you feel your whole life-work toppling into disgrace. That was the
                          problem which had killed Warren Harding.

                          A rumor that the President committed suicide by taking poison later
                          gained wide currency through the publication of Samuel Hopkins Adams's
                          Revelry, a novel largely based on the facts of the Harding
                          Administration. Gaston B. Means, a Department of justice detective and
                          a member of the gang which revolved about Daugherty, implied only too
                          clearly in The Strange Death of President Harding that the President
                          was poisoned by his wife, with the connivance of Doctor Sawyer. The
                          motive, according to Means, was a double one: Mrs. Harding had found
                          out about Nan Britton and the illegitimate daughter and was consumed
                          with a bitter and almost insane jealousy; and she had learned enough
                          about the machinations of Harding's friends and the power that they
                          had over him to feel that only death could save him from obloquy. Both
                          the suicide theory and the Means story are very plausible. The
                          ptomaine poisoning came, it was said, from eating crab meat on the
                          presidential boat on the return from Alaska, but the list of supplies
                          in the steward's pantry contained no crab meat and no one else in the
                          presidential party was taken ill; furthermore, the fatal "stroke of
                          apoplexy" occurred when the President was recovering from pneumonia,
                          Mrs. Harding was apparently alone with him at the time, and the
                          verdict of the physicians, not being based upon an autopsy, was hardly
                          more than an expression of opinion. Yet it is not necessary to accept
                          any such melodramatic version of the tragedy to acknowledge that
                          Harding died a victim of the predicament in which he was caught. He
                          knew too much of what had been going on in his administration to be
                          able to face the future. On the Alaskan trip, he was clearly in a
                          state of tragic fear; according to William Allen White, "he kept
                          asking Secretary Hoover and the more trusted reporters who surrounded
                          him what a President should do whose friends had betrayed him."
                          Whatever killed him-poison or heart failure-did so the more easily
                          because he had lost the will to live.

                          Of all this, of course, the country as a whole guessed nothing at the
                          time. Their friend and President was dead, they mourned his death, and
                          they applauded the plans of the Harding Memorial Association to raise
                          a great monument in his honor. It was only afterward that the truth
                          came out, piece by piece.
                          [3]


                          The martyred President had not been long in his grave when the
                          peculiar circumstances under which the Naval Oil Reserves at Teapot
                          Dome and Elk Hills had been leased began to be unearthed by the Senate
                          Committee on Public Lands, and there was little by little disclosed
                          what was perhaps the gravest and most far-reaching scandal of the
                          Harding Administration. The facts of the case, as they were ultimately
                          established, were, briefly, as follows:

                          Since 1909 three tracts of oil-bearing government land had been
                          legally set aside for the future hypothetical needs of the United
                          States navy—as a sort of insurance policy against a possible shortage
                          of oil in time of emergency. They were Naval Reserve No. 1 at Elk
                          Hills, California; No. 2, at Buena Vista, California; and No. 3, at
                          Teapot Dome, Wyoming. As time went on, it became apparent that the oil
                          under these lands might be in danger of being drawn off by neighboring
                          wells, the flow of oil under the earth being such that if you drill a
                          well you are likely to bring up not only the oil from under your own
                          land, but also that from under your neighbor's land. As to the extent
                          of this danger to these particular properties there was wide
                          disagreement; but when gushers were actually opened up right on the
                          threshold of the Elk Hills Reserve, Congress took action. In 1920 it
                          gave the Secretary of the Navy almost unlimited power to meet as he
                          saw fit the problem of conserving the Reserves. Clearly there were at
                          least two possible courses of action open to him. He might arrange to
                          have offset wells drilled along the edge of the Reserves to neutralize
                          the drainage, or he might lease the Reserves to private operators on
                          condition that they store an equitable amount of the oil—or of fuel
                          oil—for the future requirements of the national defense. Secretary
                          Daniels preferred to have offset wells drilled.

                          But when Albert B. Fall became Secretary of the Interior under
                          President Harding, he decided otherwise. During 1921—on the eve of the
                          Conference for the Limitation of Armaments—certain high officers in
                          the navy were sufficiently nervous about possible trouble with Japan
                          to declare that the navy must at once have fuel oil storage depots
                          built and filled and ready for use at Pearl Harbor and other strategic
                          points. This idea suited Mr. Fall perfectly. He had come into office
                          as the ally of certain big oil interests, and being a politician
                          without illusions, he saw a chance to do them a favor. He would lease
                          the reserves in their entirety to private operators, and meet the
                          needs of the navy by using the royalty oil which these operators paid
                          the Government for the purpose of buying fuel oil tanks and filling
                          them with fuel oil. To be sure, the Secretary of the Navy alone had
                          power to lease the Reserves, and Fall was not the Secretary of the
                          Navy; but that was not an insuperable difficulty.

                          Less than three months after President Harding took office, he signed
                          an Executive Order transferring the Reserves from the custody of the
                          Secretary of the Navy to that of the Secretary of the Interior. On
                          April 7, 1922, Fall secretly and without competitive bidding leased
                          Reserve No. 3, the Teapot Dome Reserve, to Harry F. Sinclair's Mammoth
                          Oil Company. On December 11, 1922, he secretly and without competitive
                          bidding leased Reserve No. 1, the Elk Hills Reserve, to Edward F.
                          Doherty's Pan-American Company. It has been argued that these leases
                          were fair to the Government and that no undue profits would have
                          accrued to the lessees if the contracts had been allowed to stand. It
                          has been argued that the necessity for keeping secret what were
                          thought of as military arrangements was sufficient excuse for the
                          absence of competitive bidding and the complete absence of publicity.
                          But it was later discovered that Fall had received from Sinclair some
                          $260,000 in Liberty bonds, and that Fall had been "lent" by
                          Doheny—without interest and without security—$100,000 in cash.

                          After a long series of Senate investigations, governmental lawsuits,
                          and criminal trials which dragged out through the rest of the decade,
                          the Doheny lease was voided by the Supreme Court as "Illegal and
                          fraudulent," the Sinclair lease was also voided, and Secretary Fall
                          was found guilty of accepting a bribe from Doheny and sentenced to a
                          year in prison. Secretary of the Navy Denby-who had amiably approved
                          the transfer of the Reserves from his charge to that of Fall—was
                          driven from office by public criticism. Paradoxically, both Doheny and
                          Sinclair were acquitted. But Sinclair had to serve a double term in
                          prison in 1929: first, for contempt of the Senate in refusing to
                          answer questions put to him by the Committee on Public Lands, and
                          second, for contempt of court in having the jury at his first trial
                          shadowed by Burns detectives. (One of the jurors declared that a man
                          had approached him with the suggestion that if he voted right he would
                          have an automobile "as long as this block.")

                          Such are the bare facts of the oil lease transactions. But they are
                          only a part of the story. For after the Senate Committee's first
                          important disclosures, early in 1924, and President Coolidge's
                          appointment of the useful Mr. Owen Roberts and the ornamental
                          Ex-Senator Atlee Pomerene as a bi-partisan team of Government
                          prosecutors to take whatever legal action might be called for on
                          behalf of the Government, Messrs. Roberts and Pomerene discovered that
                          certain bonds transferred by Sinclair to Fall had come from the
                          exchequer of a hitherto unheard-of concern called the Continental
                          Trading Company, Ltd., of Canada. And the history of the Continental
                          Trading Company, Ltd., as it was gradually dragged to light, was not
                          only highly sensational but highly illuminating as a case-study in
                          current American business ethics. This is what had happened:

                          On the 17th of November, 1921—a few months before the Fall-Sinclair
                          contract was made—a little group of men gathered in a room at the
                          Hotel Vanderbilt in New York for a business session. They included
                          Col. E. A. Humphreys, the owner of the rich Mexia oil field; Harry M.
                          Blackmer of the Midwest Oil Company; James E. O'Neil of the Prairie
                          Oil Company; Colonel Robert W. Stewart, chairman of the board of the
                          Standard Oil Company of Indiana; and Harry F. Sinclair, head of the
                          Sinclair Consolidated Oil Company. At that meeting Colonel Humphreys
                          agreed to sell 33,333,333 barrels of oil from his oil field at $1.50 a
                          barrel. But he discovered that he was not, as he had supposed, to sell
                          this oil directly to the companies represented by the other men
                          present. He was asked to sell it to a concern of which he had never
                          heard, a concern which had only just been incorporated—the Continental
                          Trading Company, Ltd. The contract of sale was guaranteed on behalf of
                          the mysterious Continental Company by Sinclair and O'Neil. And the
                          Continental straightway resold the oil to Sinclair's and O'Neil's
                          companies, not at $1.50 a barrel, but at $1.75 a barrel——thereby
                          diverting to the coffers of the Continental a nice profit of
                          twenty-five cents a barrel which might otherwise have gone to the
                          other companies whose executives were gathered together. A profit, it
                          might be added, which in the course of time should amount to over
                          eight million dollars.

                          As a matter of fact, it never amounted to as much as that. For after a
                          year or more the Senate became unduly inquisitive and it was thought
                          best to wind up the affairs of the Continental Trading Company, Ltd.,
                          and destroy its records. But before this was done, the profit of that
                          little deal pulled off at the Hotel Vanderbilt had piled up to more
                          than three millions.

                          With these millions, as they rolled in, President Osler, the
                          distinguished Canadian attorney who headed the Continental, purchased
                          Liberty bonds. And the bulk of these bonds (after taking out a
                          2-per-cent share for himself) he turned over, in packages, to four of
                          the gentlemen who had sat in on the conference at the Vanderbilt, as
                          follows:

                          To Harry M. Blackmer, approximately $763,000.
                          To James E. O'Neil, approximately $800,000.
                          To Colonel Robert W. Stewart, approximately $759,000.
                          Harry F. Sinclair, approximately $757,000.

                          And did these gentlemen at once report to their directors and
                          stockholders the receipt of the bonds and put them into the corporate
                          treasuries? They did not.

                          Blackmer, according to the subsequent (very subsequent) testimony of
                          his counsel, put his share in a safety deposit box at the Equitable
                          Trust Company in New York, where in 1928 it still remained.

                          O'Neil turned over his share to his company, but not until May, 1925.

                          Stewart handed his share to an employee of the Standard oil Company of
                          Indiana to be held in trust for the company in the vaults of the
                          company, but never told any other associates of this except one member
                          of the company's legal staff, and never disclosed to his directors
                          what he had done until 1928, when he finally turned over the bonds to
                          them. The trust agreement was written in pencil.

                          Sinclair, according to his own testimony, did not take the directors
                          or officers of his company into his confidence until 1928, and kept
                          his share of the bonds in a vault in his home. He did not keep all of
                          them there very long, however, or the brave history of the Continental
                          Trading Company, Ltd., might never have come to light. A goodly
                          portion of them (as we have already seen) he turned over to Fall.
                          Another goodly portion, amounting to $185,000, he "loaned" (in
                          addition to an outright gift Of $75,000), to the Republican National
                          Committee, later getting back $100,000 of it The "loan" was made to
                          Will H. Hays, who had been chairman of the Republican National
                          Committee during the Harding-Cox campaign of 1920, had later been
                          appointed Postmaster-General by President Harding, and had finally
                          resigned to become supervisor of morals for the motion-picture
                          industry. Mr. Hays was czar of the movies by the time Sinclair handed
                          him the bonds, but being a conscientious man, he was trying to get the
                          1920 Republican campaign debt paid off. To this end he attempted to
                          use the Sinclair "loan" in a very interesting way. He and his
                          lieutenants approached a number of wealthy men, potential donors to
                          the cause, and told them that if they would contribute to meet the
                          deficit they might have Sinclair bonds to the amount of their
                          contributions. How long they might keep the bonds was not made
                          clear--at least in Hays's testimony before the Senate Committee on
                          Public Lands. This method of concealing an enormous Sinclair
                          contribution was euphemistically called, by the moral supervisor of
                          the movies, "using the bonds in efforts to raise money for the deficit."
                          [4]


                          So much for our little lesson in governmental practice and in the
                          fiduciary duties of business executives in behalf of their
                          stockholders. Now let us turn to the lighter side of the oil scandals.
                          Lighter, that is, for those who were in no way implicated. There is a
                          certain grim humor in the twistings and turnings of unwilling
                          witnesses under the implacable cross-examination of Senator Walsh of
                          Montana, without whose resourceful work the truth might never have
                          been run to earth. Some of the scenes in the slowly-unfolding drama of
                          the investigations, some of the sojourns of interested parties on
                          foreign shores, some of the odd tricks of memory revealed, are not
                          without an element of entertainment. Let us go back over the record of
                          that long investigation and study a few of them, item by item.

                          Item One. Who Loaned Fall the Money?

                          In the autumn of 1923—not long after Harding's lamented death—Senator
                          Walsh's committee learned of a recent sudden rise to affluence on the
                          part of Secretary Fall. For some time previously Fall had been in
                          financial straits; he had not even paid his local taxes for several
                          years. But now all was changed. Mr. Fall had even purchased additional
                          land near his New Mexican ranch, and in this purchase had used a
                          considerable number of hundred-dollar bills. The Walsh committee at
                          once became bloodhounds on the scent: hundred-dollar bills are as
                          exciting to investigators as refusals to testify or refusals to waive
                          immunity. From whom had Fall been receiving money? Fall wrote the
                          committee a long letter, denying absolutely that he had ever received
                          a dollar from Mr. Doheny or Mr. Sinclair, and in tones of outraged
                          innocence explained that he had received a loan of $100,000 from
                          Edward B. McLean of Washington, a millionaire newspaper-owner whose
                          ample hospitality Harding and his associates had often enjoyed.

                          Mr. McLean was in Palm Beach and unable to come to Washington to
                          testify about this loan. The committee might perhaps have been
                          expected to let the matter go at that. But they did not. Mr. McLean
                          was wanted—and it began to appear that he was extremely unwilling to
                          be examined. He and his friends engaged in a voluminous correspondence
                          by coded telegrams with his aides in Washington, discussing the
                          progress of affairs in messages such as

                          Haxpw sent over buy bonka and householder bonka sultry tkvouep
                          prozoics sepic bepelt goal hocusing this pouted proponent

                          Finally Senator Walsh all too obligingly journeyed to Palm Beach to
                          take McLean's testimony there. Yes, McLean had made a loan to Fall.
                          But he had made it in the form of three checks. Secretary Fall had
                          shortly returned the checks; they had not even passed through the
                          banks, and there was no record whatever of the transaction.

                          Clearly this brief and unusual financial transaction threw little
                          light on the prosperity of the Ex-Secretary of the Interior or his use
                          of cash in large denominations. Another explanation was necessary.
                          Whereupon—on January 24, 1924—the lessee of Naval Reserve No. 1,
                          Edward L. Doheny, took the stand. He, too, had loaned $100,000 to
                          Fall. The money had been carried from New York to Washington in a
                          satchel. But the loan had nothing to do with any lease of oil-bearing
                          land. It was a bona fide loan made to accommodate an old friend. The
                          elderly oil magnate drew a touching picture of his long years of
                          comradeship with Fall. Was $100,000 a rather large sum to be loaned
                          this way in cash? Why, no, it was "just a bagatelle" to him. It was
                          not at all unusual for him "to make a remittance that way." Was there
                          a note given for the loan? Yes; Doheny would search for it. Later he
                          produced it——or rather, a fragment of it. The signature was missing.
                          Fearing that he might die and that Fall might be unduly pressed for
                          payment by cold-blooded executors, Doheny had torn the note in half
                          and given the part with the signature of Mrs. Doheny—and she had
                          mislaid it. The explanation was perfect—though some years later the
                          Supreme Court seemed to regard it with skepticism.

                          Item Two. Six or Eight Cows

                          Just before the generous Doheny took the stand, the newspapers had
                          been treated to a first-class front-page story. Archie Roosevelt, so
                          of the great T.R. and brother of the lesser T.R. (who was Harding's
                          Assistant Secretary of Navy), had come before the Walsh Committee as a
                          volunteer witness. Archie Roosevelt was an officer in one of the
                          Sinclair companies, and he had something to get off his mind. His
                          brother had urged him to tell all. He (Archie) had been told by one
                          G.D. Walberg, confidential secretary to Sinclair, that Sinclair had
                          paid $68,000 to the manager of Fall's ranch, a circumstance which, in
                          view of the relentless way in which Senator Walsh was running down
                          evidence, apparently had caused Wahlberg some uneasiness. Furthermore,
                          Sinclair had sailed for Europe—not only had sailed, but had done so
                          very quietly, without letting his name appear on the passenger list.
                          The committee called Wahlberg. This gentleman was even more uneasy at
                          the committee table than he had been in talking to Archie Roosevelt,
                          but he had a charming explanation for what he was said to have said.
                          Roosevelt must have misunderstood him. He had said nothing about
                          $68,000. What he must have said was that Sinclair had sent "six or
                          eight cows" to Fall's ranch. (Which was true, after a manner of
                          speaking: Sinclair had indeed made a present of live stock to Fall;
                          not precisely "six or eight cows," but a horse, six hogs, a bull, and
                          six heifers.) You see how the misunderstanding arose? You see how much
                          "sixty-eight thous" sounds like "six or eight cows"?

                          The Committee on Public Lands did not seem to see. They lifted a
                          collective eyebrow. So a little later Wahlberg tried again. This time
                          his explanation was even more delightful. He had been consulting his
                          memory, and had decided that what he must actually have said when he
                          sounded as if he were talking about $68,000 going to the manager of
                          the Fall ranch, or the Fall farm, was that $68,000 was going to the
                          manager of the "horse farm"—by which he had meant the trainer at
                          Sinclair's celebrated Rancocas Stables. This $68,000 represented the
                          salary of Hildreth, the trainer, together with his share of the
                          winnings of Zev and other Sinclair horses.

                          "Horse farm"—there seemed to be something less than idiomatic about
                          the phrase. The collective eyebrow was not lowered.

                          Item Three. The Silences of Colonel Stewart—and Others

                          The Senate committee was hot on the trail—or rather on two trails. But
                          then and thereafter the various gentlemen who could give it the
                          greatest assistance in following these trails to the end revealed a
                          strange reluctance to talk and a strange condition of memory when they
                          did talk. Secretary Fall was declared by his physicians to be a "very
                          sick man" who ought not to be pressed to testify. When he finally did
                          testify, he refused to answer questions which might "tend to
                          incriminate" him. Sinclair, as Archie Roosevelt had told the
                          committee, had gone to Europe; after he returned, he too refused to
                          answer questions; it was this refusal which led to his conviction for
                          contempt. After his acquittal on the graver charge of conspiracy to
                          defraud the government he at last spoke out; he admitted that he had
                          turned over the bonds to Fall, but insisted that they were given in
                          payment for a one-third interest in Fall's ranching and cattle business.

                          Blackmer had gone to Europe and could not be induced to return. O'Neil
                          had gone to Europe and could not be induced to return. Osler of the
                          Continental Trading Company was somewhere at the ends of the earth.
                          And as for Colonel Stewart, only the insistence of John D.
                          Rockefeller, Jr., induced him to come from Cuba to face the committee.
                          When he did face it, early in 1928, he testified as follows: "I did
                          not personally receive any of these bonds. I did not make one dollar
                          out of the transaction." Less than two months later, after Sinclair's
                          acquittal had somewhat reduced the tension, he admitted that over
                          three-quarters of a million dollars' worth of these bonds had been
                          delivered to him, and that he had not told the directors of his
                          company about them for several years.

                          Item Four. The Testimony of Mr. Hays

                          In 1924 Will H. Hays, preceptor of motion-picture morality, was called
                          before the Senate committee. He was asked how much money Sinclair had
                          contributed to the Republican Party. Seventy-five thousand dollars, he
                          said.

                          In 1928, after the history of the Continental bonds had become
                          somewhat clearer, Mr. Hays was asked to face the committee again. He
                          told them the full story of Sinclair's "loan" of $185,000 in addition
                          to his gift. Why had he not told this before? He had not been "asked
                          about any bonds."

                          Item Five. The Reticence of Mr. Mellon

                          A few days after Mr. Hays gave his second and improved version of the
                          Sinclair contributions, the cashier of Charles Pratt & Company was
                          called before the committee to testify about $50,000 worth of
                          Sinclair-Continental Liberty bonds which had been left by Hays with
                          the late John T. Pratt, to be held agains a contribution of the same
                          amount—after the ingenious Hays plan—by Mr. Pratt to the Republican
                          Committee. The cashier produced a card on which Mr. Pratt had noted
                          the disposal of the bonds and the payment of his contribution. And in
                          the corner of this card was a minute notation in pencil, as follows:
                          $50,000
                          Andy Weeks
                          DuPont
                          Butler

                          Senator Walsh examined the card.

                          Senator Walsh: I can make out "Weeks," and I can make out "DuPont,"
                          and I can make out "Butler," but what is this other name? It looks
                          like Andy.

                          The Cashier (using a magnifying glass): It's Weeks, DuPont, Butler,
                          and the other name must be Candy. . . . Yes, it might be Andy.

                          Senator Nye: And who is Andy?

                          The Cashier: I have no idea who Andy can be. I can think of no one
                          known as Andy.

                          There was a roar from the crowd in the room. Everybody knew who Andy
                          must be. Senator WAlsh dispatched a note to Andrew W. Mellon,
                          Secretary of the Treasury, to ask him if he could explain the
                          notation. This Mr. Mellon obligingly did without delay.

                          Late in 1923, Mr. Mellon explained—at just about the time when the
                          Teapot Dome investigation was getting under way—Hays had sent him some
                          bonds. "When Mr. Hays called shortly thereafter, he told me that he
                          had received the bonds from Mr. Sinclair and suggested that I hold the
                          bonds and contribute an equal amount to the fund. This I declined to do."

                          The Secretary had acted with strict integrity. He had sent the bonds
                          back, and instead of following Hays's suggestion he had made an
                          outright contribution of $50,000. He added that he had "had no
                          knowledge of what has developed since, that is, of the Teapot Dome
                          lease matter."

                          It is perhaps worth noting, however, that this testimony was given in
                          1928. For more than three years not only the Senate committee, but
                          Messrs. Roberts and Pomerene, the public attorneys appointed by
                          President Coolidge to prosecute the government suits, had been trying
                          to discover just what had become of the Continental bonds, and during
                          all that time the Secretary of the Treasury was aware that in 1923 he
                          had been offered Liberty bonds which came from Sinclair. He said
                          nothing until that little card turned up with Andy (or possibly Candy)
                          penciled on it. A small matter, perhaps; but surely it revealed the
                          Secretary as a paragon of reticence when his testimony might cast
                          discredit on the money-raising methods of his party.

                          Thus comes to an end—as of this writing, at least—the remarkable story
                          of Teapot Dome and Elk Hills and the Continental Trading Company, Ltd.
                          The Executive Order transferring the leases, which may be said to have
                          begun it all, was promulgated in June, 1921, when Harding was new in
                          office, and the Stillman divorce trial was impending, and Dempsey was
                          preparing to meet Carpentier, and young Charles Lindbergh had not yet
                          taken his first ride in an airplane. By the time Sinclair and Stewart
                          had told their stories and Hays had revised himself and Secretary
                          Mellon had overcome his reticence, Lindbergh had flown to Europe and
                          Herbert Hoover was corralling delegates for the Republican nomination;
                          by the time Harry Sinclair emerged from his unwelcome term of service
                          as apothecary in the Washington jail, the bull market had come down in
                          ruin and the Post-war Decade was dying. Secretary Fall's term as
                          guardian of the national resources for the Harding Administration had
                          been brief, but the aftermath had been as long and harrowing as it was
                          instructive.

                          Oh yes—there is one more thing to add. The oil: what became of the oil
                          that started it all, the oil that the patriots of the Navy Department
                          had been so anxious to have immediately available in case of trouble
                          in the Pacific? There had been a good deal of excitement about bonds
                          and hundred-thousand-dollar loans, but everybody seemed to have
                          forgotten about that oil. Production in the properties leased to
                          Sinclair and Doheny was stopped; but you may recall that the danger of
                          drainage into neighboring wells went right on producing, and it is
                          said that part of the oil from them—including, in all probability,
                          some drawn from within the Reserves—was sold to the Japanese Government!
                          [5]


                          The oil cases were the aristocrats among the scandals of the Harding
                          Administration, but there were other scandals juicier and more
                          reeking. Let us hold our noses for a moment and examine a few of them
                          briefly.

                          There was, for example, the almost incredible extravagance and
                          corruption of the Veterans' Bureau under Charles R. Forbes, a
                          buccaneer of fortune (and one-time deserter from the army) whom
                          Harding had fallen in with on a visit to Hawaii. Harding was so taken
                          with Forbes that in 1921 he put him in charge of the Government's work
                          for those disabled war heroes in whose behalf every public man
                          considered it his duty to shed an appreciative tear. Forbes held
                          office for less than two years, and during that time it was estimated
                          that over two hundred million dollars went astray in graft and
                          flagrant waste on the part of his Bureau. Forbes went on a notorious
                          junket through the country, supposedly selecting hospital sites which
                          in reality had already been chosen. His Bureau let contracts for
                          veterans' hospitals almost without regard for price; for instance, a
                          contract for a hospital at Northampton was let to a firm which asked
                          some thirty thousand dollars more than the lowest bidder. It was
                          charged that Forbes had an arrangement with the builders of some
                          hospitals whereby he was to pocket a third of the profits.
                          Preposterous purchases of hospital supplies were made: the Veterans'
                          Bureau bought $70,000 worth of floor wax and floor cleaner, for
                          instance—enough, it was said, to last a hundred years—and for the
                          cleaner it paid 98 cents a gallon, although expert testimony later
                          brought out the fact that it was worth less than 4 cents a gallon
                          exclusive of the water which it contained. Quantities of surplus goods
                          were sold with the same easy disregard for price: 84,000 brand-new
                          sheets which had cost $1.37 each were sold at 26 or 27 cents apiece,
                          although at that very moment the Bureau was purchasing 25,000 new ones
                          at $1.03 apiece. "At one time," reported Bruce Bliven, "sheets just
                          bought were actually going in at one end of the warehouse [at
                          Perryville, Maryland] as the ones just sold were going out the other,
                          and some of them by mistake went straight in and out again." More than
                          75,000 towels which had cost 19 cents each were sold for 3 3/8 cents
                          each. These few facts are enough to show with what generous abandon
                          Forbes spent the money appropriated to care for the defenders of the
                          Republic. Forbes went to Leavenworth in 1926 for fraud.

                          There was rampant graft in the office of the Allen Property Custodian
                          as well. Gaston B. Means has charged that attorneys who came to
                          Washington to file claims for the return of properties taken over from
                          Germans during the war were advised to consult a Boston lawyer named
                          Thurston, that Thurston would charge them a big fee for his services,
                          the claim would be allowed, and the fee would be split with those in
                          authority. Be that as it may, the evidence brought out in the American
                          Metal Company case was sufficient to indicate the sort of transaction
                          which was permitted to take place.

                          The American Metal Company was an internationally owned concern 49 per
                          cent of whose stock had been taken over by the Allen Property
                          Custodian during the war on the ground that it belonged to Germans.
                          This stock had been sold for $6,000,000. In 1921 a certain Richard
                          Merton appeared at the Custodian's office with the claim that this 49
                          per cent had not been German, but Swiss, and that the Swiss owners,
                          whom he represented, should be reimbursed. The claim was allowed after
                          Merton had paid $441,000 in Liberty bonds to John T. King, Republican
                          National Committeeman from Connecticut, for "services" which consisted
                          of introducing him to Colonel T. W. Miller, the Custodian, and to Jess
                          Smith, Attorney-General Daugherty's man Friday. It was brought out at
                          Miller's trial that at least $200,000 of this $441,000 was paid over
                          to Jess Smith "for expediting the claim through his acquaintance in
                          Washington"; that Mal S. Daugherty, brother of the Attorney-General,
                          sold at least $40,000 worth of Merton Liberty bonds and shortly
                          thereafter deposited $49,165 to his brother's account; and that
                          Colonel Miller also got a share of the money. Miller was convicted in
                          1927 of conspiracy to defraud the Government of his unbiased services
                          and was sentenced to eighteen Months in prison. Daugherty was also
                          brought to trial, but got off. After two juries had been unable to
                          agree as to his guilt or innocence, the indictment against him was
                          dismissed-but not before it had been brought out that in 1925 this
                          former chief legal officer of the Government had gone to his brother's
                          bank at Washington Court House, Ohio, and had taken out and burned the
                          ledger sheets covering his own account there, and his brother's
                          account, and another account known as "Jesse Smith Extra."

                          It was during the grand jury investigation which preceded the American
                          Metal Company case that Harding's Attorney-General wrote the
                          remarkable statement which appears at the head of this chapter. During
                          his trial Daugherty failed to take the stand in his own defense, and
                          his attorney, Max Steuer, later explained this failure in another
                          equally remarkable statement:

                          "It was not anything connected with this case which impelled him to
                          refrain from so doing. . . . He feared . . . that Mr. Buckner would
                          cross-examine him about matters political that would not involve Mr.
                          Daugherty, concerning which he knew and as to which he would never
                          make disclosure. . . . If the jury knew the real reason for destroying
                          the ledger sheets they would commend rather than condemn Mr.
                          Daugherty, but he insisted on silence."

                          Could there be a more deliberate implication that Harding's
                          Attorney-General could not tell the truth for fear of blackening the
                          reputation of his dead chief? Call Daugherty's silence, if you wish,
                          the silence of loyalty, or call those statements an effort to hide
                          behind the dead President; in either case the Harding Administration
                          appears in a strange light.

                          Charges still more damaging were boldly made by Gaston B. Means in
                          1930. He stated that as a henchman of the Ohio gang he used to engage
                          two adjoining rooms at a New York hotel for the collection of
                          prohibition graft from bootleggers who were willing to pay for federal
                          protection; that he would place a big goldfish-bowl in one of the
                          rooms, on a table which he could see by peeping through the door from
                          the next room; that each bootlegger would come at his appointed hour
                          and minute and leave in the bowl huge amounts of cash in
                          thousand-dollar or five-hundred-dollar bills; that as soon as the
                          bootlegger left, Means would enter, count the money, and check off the
                          contribution; and that in this way be collected a total of fully seven
                          million dollars which he turned over to Jess Smith, the
                          collector-in-chief for the Ohio Gang, who shared an apartment in
                          Washington with Attorney-General Daugherty.

                          Means further asserted that the swag from this and other forms of
                          graft was kept hidden—many thousand dollars at a time—in a metal box
                          buried in the back yard of the house which he occupied at 903
                          Sixteenth Street in Washington; he described this house and yard as
                          being protected with a high wire fence and fitted out with a code
                          signal system and other secret devices such as would delight a gang of
                          small boys playing pirate.

                          Jess Smith committed suicide—at least that was the official verdict—in
                          1923 in the apartment which he shared with Harry Daugherty. Means
                          claimed that just before this tragedy took place, the gang had
                          discovered that Smith, like the careful shopkeeper he had been before
                          he was brought to Washington by Daugherty to occupy a desk in the
                          Department of justice—had kept a record of all the cash which had
                          passed through his hands, and that Smith, terrified at the thought of
                          his guilt and his secret knowledge, had been playing with the idea of
                          turning state's witness against the gang. According to Means, the gang
                          thereupon decided that Smith must be disposed of. Although Smith was
                          afraid of firearms, he was persuaded to purchase a revolver on One of
                          his trips to Ohio. And the "suicide" which followed—so Means plainly
                          indicated, as many others had already suspected—was no suicide at all.

                          Finally, Means drew attention to the astonishing mortality among those
                          who had been in on the secrets of the gang. Not only had Smith dropped
                          out of the picture, but also John T. King (who had received the Merton
                          bonds), C. F. Hately (a Department of justice agent), C. F. Cramer
                          (attorney for the Veterans' Bureau), Thurston (the Boston lawyer who
                          represented many clients before the Alien Property Custodian), T. B.
                          Felder (attorney for the Harding group), President Harding, Mrs.
                          Harding, and General Sawyer. They had all died—most of them
                          suddenly—within a few years of the end of the Harding Administration.

                          No matter how much or how little credence one may give to these latter
                          charges and their implications, the proved evidence is enough to
                          warrant the statement that the Harding Administration was responsible
                          in its short two years and five months for more concentrated robbery
                          and rascality than any other in the whole history of the Federal
                          Government.
                          [6]


                          And how did the American people take these disclosures? Did they rise
                          in wrath to punish the offenders?

                          When the oil scandals were first spread across the front pages of the
                          newspapers, early in 1924, there was a wave of excitement sufficient
                          to force the resignations of Denby and Daugherty and to bring about
                          the appointment by the new President, Calvin Coolidge, of special
                          Government counsel to deal with the oil cases. But the harshest
                          condemnation on the part of the press and the public was reserved, not
                          for those who had defrauded the government, but for those who insisted
                          on bringing the facts to light. Senator Walsh, who led the
                          investigation of the oil scandals, and Senator Wheeler, who
                          investigated the Department of justice, were called by the New York
                          Tribune "the Montana scandalmongers." The New York Evening Post called
                          them mud-gunners." The New York Times, despite its Democratic
                          leanings, called them "assassins of character." In these and other
                          newspapers throughout the country one read of the "Democratic
                          lynching-bee" and "poison-tongued partisanship, pure malice, and
                          twittering hysteria," and the inquiries were called "in plain words,
                          contemptible and disgusting."

                          Newspaper-readers echoed these amiable sentiments. Substantial
                          business men solemnly informed one another that mistakes might have
                          been made but that it was unpatriotic to condemn them and thus to
                          "cast discredit on the Government," and that those who insisted on
                          probing them to the bottom were "nothing better than Bolsheviki." One
                          of the leading super-patriots of the land, Fred R. Marvin of the Key
                          Men of America, said the whole oil scandal was the result of "a
                          gigantic international conspiracy . . . of the internationalists, or
                          shall we call them socialists and communists?" A commuter riding daily
                          to New York from his suburb at this period observed that on the
                          seven-o'clock train there was some indignation at the scandals, but
                          that on the eight-o'clock train there was only indignation at their
                          exposure and that on the nine-o'clock train they were not even
                          mentioned. When, a few months later, John W. Davis, campaigning for
                          the Presidency on the Democratic ticket, made political capital of the
                          Harding scandals, the opinion of the majority seemed to be that what
                          he said was in bad taste, and Davis was snowed under at the polls. The
                          fact was that any relentless investigation of the scandals threatened
                          to disturb, if only slightly, the status quo, and disturbance of the
                          status quo was the last thing that the dominant business class or the
                          country at large wanted.

                          They had voted for normalcy and they still believed in it. The most
                          that they required of the United States Government was that it should
                          keep its hands off business (except to give it a lift now and then
                          through the imposition of favorable tariffs and otherwise) and be
                          otherwise unobtrusive. They did not look for bold and far-seeing
                          statesman. ship at Washington; their idea of statesmanship on the part
                          of the President was that he should let things alone, give industry
                          and trade a chance to garner fat profits, and not "rock the boat."
                          They realized that their selection of Harding had been something of a
                          false start toward the realization of this modest ideal. Harding had
                          been a little too hail-fellow-well-met, and his amiability had led him
                          into associations which brought about unfortunate publicity, and
                          unfortunate publicity had a tendency to rock the boat. But the basic
                          principle remained sound: all the country needed now was a President
                          who combined with unobtrusiveness and friendliness toward business an
                          unimpeachable integrity and an indisposition to have his leg pulled;
                          and this sort of President they now had. The inscrutable workings of
                          Providence had placed in the office left vacant by Harding the precise
                          embodiment of this revised presidential ideal. Calvin Coolidge was
                          unobtrusive to the last degree; he would never try to steer the ship
                          of state into unknown waters; and at the same time he was sufficiently
                          honest and circumspect to prevent any unseemly revelry from taking
                          place on the decks. Everything was, therefore, as it should be. Why
                          weaken public confidence in Harding's party, and thus in Harding's
                          successor, by going into the unfortunate episodes of the past? The
                          best thing to do was to let bygones be bygones.

                          As the years went by and the scandals which came to light grew in
                          number and in scope, it began to appear that the "mistakes" of 1921-23
                          had been larger than the friends of normalcy had supposed when they
                          vented their spleen upon Senator Walsh. But the testimony, coming out
                          intermittently as it did, was confusing and hard to piece together;
                          plain citizens could not keep clear in their minds such complicated
                          facts as those relating to the Continental bonds or the Daugherty
                          bank-accounts; and the steady passage of time made the later
                          investigations seem like a washing of very ancient dirty linen.
                          Business was good, the Coolidge variety of normalcy was working to the
                          satisfaction of the country, Coolidge was honest; why dwell
                          unnecessarily on the past? Resentment at the scandals and resentment
                          at the scandalmongers both gave way to a profound and untroubled
                          apathy. When the full story of the Continental Trading Company deal
                          became known, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., as a large stockholder in the
                          Standard Oil of Indiana, waged war against Colonel Stewart and managed
                          to put him out of the chairmanship of the company; but the business
                          world as a whole seemed to find nothing wrong in Colonel Stewart's
                          performance. The voice of John the B<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
                        • THOMAS JOHNSON
                          My recollection of Jess Smith is that he was a crony, who was a frequent companion of Florence Harding, who he and Warren called Duchess due to her overblown
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jan 10, 2006
                          • 0 Attachment
                            My recollection of Jess Smith is that he was a crony,
                            who was a frequent companion of Florence Harding, who
                            he and Warren called 'Duchess' due to her overblown
                            aristocratic airs. He also acted as a liaison for
                            Warren's affairs, including sneaking women into the
                            White House. I seem to remember that he was found dead
                            in an apparent suicide, a bullet to his right temple
                            and though he was left-handed, the AG refused to
                            investigate, the insinuation being that he was killed
                            by someone inside the administration. He had been
                            selling off massive amounts of federal liquor to cover
                            his debts from playing the market very badly.
                            Thanks for sending the info, Ram.

                            Tom



                            --- Ram Lau <ramlau@...> wrote:

                            > > I am somehow doubtful of the Federal Vampire and
                            > Zombie Agency's
                            > > accuracy, and I unfortunately couldn't find any
                            > other mentions of
                            > > Frank Prevost on Google.
                            >
                            > I thought they were just a conspiracy group who
                            > write parodies about
                            > the vampires and zombies. I should have mentioned
                            > that in the first
                            > place. Here is a more serious and scholarly account
                            > from the book
                            > written by Frederick Lewis Allen published in 1931:
                            >
                            > http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/ALLEN/ch6.html
                            > HARDING AND THE SCANDALS
                            >
                            > Having been personal attorney for Warren G. Harding
                            > before he was
                            > Senator from Ohio and while he was Senator, and
                            > thereafter until his
                            > death.
                            > --And for Mrs. Harding for a period of several
                            > years, and before her
                            > husband was elected President and after his death,
                            > --And having been attorney for the Midland National
                            > Bank of Washington
                            > Court House, O., and for my brother, M. S.
                            > Daugherty,
                            > --And having been Attorney-General of the United
                            > States during the
                            > time that President Harding served as President,
                            > --And also for a time after President Harding's
                            > death under President
                            > Coolidge,
                            > --And with all of those named, as attorney, personal
                            > friend, and
                            > Attorney-General, my relations were of the most
                            > confidential character
                            > as well as professional,
                            > --I refuse to testify and answer questions put to
                            > me, because:
                            > The answer I might give or make and the testimony I
                            > might give might
                            > tend to incriminate me.
                            >
                            > --Harry M. Daugherty's written reply when called
                            > upon by Judge
                            > Thacher for information for the Federal Grand Jury
                            > in New York, March
                            > 31, 1926. (Punctuation revised.)
                            >
                            > ON THE morning of March 4, 1921,—a brilliant morning
                            > with a frosty air
                            > and a wind which whipped the flags of
                            > Washington—Woodrow Wilson,
                            > broken and bent and ill, limped from the White House
                            > door to a waiting
                            > automobile, rode down Pennsylvania Avenue to the
                            > Capitol with the
                            > stalwart President-elect at his side, and returned
                            > to the bitter
                            > seclusion of his private house in S Street. Warren
                            > Gamaliel Harding
                            > was sworn in as President of the United States. The
                            > reign of normalcy
                            > had begun.
                            >
                            > March 4, 1921: what do those cold figures mean to
                            > you? Let us for turn
                            > back for a moment to that day and look about us.
                            >
                            > The war had been over for more than two years,
                            > although, as the Treaty
                            > of Versailles had been thrown out by the Senate and
                            > Woodrow Wilson had
                            > refused to compromise with the gentlemen at the
                            > other end of the
                            > Avenue, a technical state of war still existed
                            > between Germany and the
                            > United States. Business, having boomed until the
                            > middle of 1920, was
                            > collapsing into the depths of depression and
                            > dragging down with it the
                            > price-level which had caused so much uproar about
                            > the High Cost of
                            > Living. The Big Red Scare was gradually ebbing,
                            > although the
                            > super-patriots still raged and Sacco and Vanzetti
                            > had not yet come to
                            > trial before Judge Thayer. The Ku-Klux Klan was
                            > acquiring its first
                            > few hundred thousand members. The Eighteenth
                            > Amendment was entering
                            > upon its second year, and rum-runners and
                            > bootleggers were beginning
                            > to acquire confidence. The sins of the flappers were
                            > disturbing the
                            > nation; it was at about this time that Philadelphia
                            > produced the
                            > "moral gown" and the Literary Digest featured a
                            > symposium entitled,
                            > "Is the Younger Generation in Peril?" The first
                            > radio broadcasting
                            > station in the country was hardly four months old
                            > and the radio craze
                            > was not yet. Skirts had climbed halfway to the knee
                            > and seemed likely
                            > to go down again, a crime commission had just been
                            > investigating
                            > Chicago's crime wave, Judge Landis had become the
                            > czar of baseball,
                            > Dempsey and Carpentier had signed to meet the
                            > following summer at
                            > Boyle's Thirty Acres, and Main Street and The
                            > Outline of History were
                            > becoming best sellers.
                            >
                            > The nation was spiritually tired. Wearied by the
                            > excitements of the
                            > war and the nervous tension of the Big Red Scare,
                            > they hoped for quiet
                            > and healing. Sick of Wilson and his talk of
                            > America's duty to
                            > humanity, callous to political idealism, they hoped
                            > for a chance to
                            > pursue their private affairs without governmental
                            > interference and to
                            > forget about public affairs. There might be no such
                            > word in the
                            > dictionary as normalcy, but normalcy was what they
                            > wanted.
                            >
                            > Every new administration at Washington begins in a
                            > atmosphere of
                            > expectant good will, but in this case the airs which
                            > lapped the
                            > capital were particularly bland. The smile of the
                            > new President was as
                            > warming as a spring thaw after a winter of
                            > discontent. For four long
                            > years the gates of the White House had been locked
                            > and guarded with
                            > sentries. Harding's first official act was to throw
                            > them open, to
                            > permit a horde of sight-seers to roam the grounds
                            > and flatten their
                            > noses against the executive window-panes and
                            > photograph one another
                            > under the great north portico; to permit flivvers
                            > and trucks to detour
                            > from Pennsylvania Avenue up the driveway and chortle
                            > right past the
                            > presidential front door. The act seemed to symbolize
                            > the return of the
                            > government to the people. Wilson had been denounced
                            > as an autocrat,
                            > had proudly kept his own counsel; Harding modestly
                            > said he would rely
                            > on the "best minds" to advise him, and took his oath
                            > of office upon
                            > the verse from Micah which asks, "What doth the Lord
                            > require of thee
                            > but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk
                            > humbly with thy God?"
                            > Wilson had seemed to be everlastingly prying into
                            > the affairs of
                            > business and had distrusted most business men;
                            > Harding meant to give
                            > them as free a hand as possible "to resume their
                            > normal onward way."
                            > And finally, whereas Wilson had been an austere
                            > academic theorist,
                            > Harding was "just folks": he radiated an unaffected
                            > good nature, met
                            > reporters and White House visitors with a warm
                            > handclasp and a genial
                            > word, and touched the sentimental heart of America
                            > by establishing in
                            > the White House a dog named Laddie Boy. "The
                            > Washington atmosphere of
                            > today is like that of Old Home Week or a college
                            > class reunion," wrote
                            > Edward G. Lowry shortly after Harding took office.
                            > "The change is
                            > amazing. The populace is on a broad grin." An era of
                            > good will seemed
                            > to be beginning.
                            >
                            > Warren Harding had two great assets, and these were
                            > already apparent.
                            > First, he looked as a President of the United States
                            > should. He was
                            > superbly handsome. His face and carriage had a
                            > Washingtonian nobility
                            > and dignity, his eyes were benign; he photographed
                            > well and the
                            > pictures of him in the rotogravure sections won him
                            > affection and
                            > respect. And he was the friendliest man who ever had
                            > entered the White
                            >
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