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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 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.

                        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
                        (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 11 of 14 , Jan 10, 2006
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                          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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