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Re: DeLay to give up majority leader post

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

                      Item One. Who Loaned Fall the Money?

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

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

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

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

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

                      Item Two. Six or Eight Cows

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

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

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

                      Item Three. The Silences of Colonel Stewart—and Others

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

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

                      Item Four. The Testimony of Mr. Hays

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

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

                      Item Five. The Reticence of Mr. Mellon

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

                      Senator Walsh examined the card.

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

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

                      Senator Nye: And who is Andy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

                        Tom



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

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