THE TEAPOT DOME
Ah, lovely Teapot Dome, Wyoming.
Not much to look at, but an oil field of vast potential. And
it belonged to the U.S. Navy, every acre. Many wanted to tap its
resources, but the winners were two companies that hadn't even bothered
to put in a competitive bid. The Senate didn't like that one bit,
so in October 1923, it held hearings to find out who was responsible.
Who they found was President Warren Harding's Secretary of the Interior,
Albert B. Fall. Fall was just one of the many Republican cronies of Harding
who were appointed to plum offices, thence to engage in various activities
such as selling judgeships, confiscating alien property, and trading in
bootleg whiskey. Fall got Harding to sign an order transferring
control of the land from the Navy to the Dept. of the Interior. He
pulled in a total of $126,000 in mystery money after Mammoth Oil
obtained the oil rights. The Senate was curious as to what, if anything,
Harding had gotten out of the deal, but he had the poor taste to die on
them. Soon after a private dinner with Fall's wife, he took off for Alaska.
While there he reportedly contracted ptomaine poisoning. Then he went to
San Francisco and died of a "blood clot." There were rumors that his wife
poisoned him, but that story, if proven, would go under "Crime."