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Teapot Dome Scandal

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Elk Hills Scandal, Oil Reserves Scandal

Teapot Dome Scandal, also calledOil Reserves ScandalorElk Hills Scandal, in American history, scandal of the early 1920s surrounding the secret leasing of federaloilreserves by the secretary of the interior,Albert Bacon Fall. After Pres.Warren G. Hardingtransferred supervision of the naval oil-reserve lands from the navy to the Department of the Interior in 1921, Fall secretly granted toHarry F. Sinclairof the Mammoth Oil Companyexclusiverights to the Teapot Dome (Wyoming) reserves (April 7, 1922). He granted similar rights toEdward L. Dohenyof Pan American Petroleum Company for the Elk Hills and Buena Vista Hills reserves inCalifornia(192122).

When these leases and contracts came under investigation by committees of the U.S. Senate, it was disclosed that shortly after the signing of the Teapot Dome lease, Fall and members of his family had received from an unknown source more than $200,000 in Liberty bonds under circumstances indicating that the bonds came from a company organized by Sinclair and others receiving benefits from the lease. Also, it appeared that prior to the execution of the Pan American contracts and leases, Doheny, at Falls request, sent $100,000 in currency to Fall as a loan that had not been repaid.

When the affair became known, Congress directed President Harding to cancel the leases; the Supreme Court declared the leases fraudulent and ruled illegal Hardings transfer of authority to Fall. Although the president himself was not implicated in the transactions that had followed the transfer, the revelations of his associates misconduct took a severe toll on his health; disillusioned and exhausted, he died before the full extent of the wrongdoing had been determined. Fall was convicted of accepting a bribe in the Elk Hills negotiations and imprisoned. Doheny and Sinclair were acquitted of charges ofbriberyand criminalconspiracy, but Sinclair spent 61/2months in prison forcontemptof court and contempt of the U.S. Senate. Although the secretary of the navy,Edwin Denby, had signed all the leases, he was cleared of all charges. While Teapot Dome entered the American political vocabulary as a synonym for governmental corruption, the scandal had little long-term effect on theRepublican PartyCalvin Coolidge, a Republican, was elected president in 1924.

Political cartoon depicting the Teapot Dome Scandal of the early 1920s.

in these related Britannica articles:

United States: Peace and prosperity

of naval oil reserves at Teapot Dome, Wyoming, which led to the conviction of Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall for accepting a bribe.

. In 1921 Interior Secretary Albert Fall had persuaded Harding to transfer authority over two of the nations most important oil reservesElk Hills in California and Teapot Dome in Wyomingfrom the Navy Department to the Department of the Interior. Fall then leased these

prosecute parties named in the Teapot Dome scandal that tarnished the administration of Pres. Warren G. Harding. After a methodical investigation, former Interior Secretary Albert Bacon Fall was convicted of taking bribes in 1929. The following year, Pres. Herbert Hoover had the opportunity to fill a pair of Supreme Court

Navys Teapot Dome oil reserve near Casper, Wyoming, to the Mammoth Oil Company, which had been set up by Sinclair. The lease was given to Mammoth without competitive bidding, and it granted Sinclair exclusive rights to take and dispose of all oil and gas from the

(191333) who exposed (1923) the Teapot Dome scandal that shook the Republican administration of Pres. Warren G. Harding.

6 references found in Britannica articles

InUnited States: Peace and prosperity

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