Coolidge Chronology

Teapot Dome Scandal

Teapot Dome Scandal: Teapot Dome reserves had been secretly leased by Interior Secretary Fall to the Mammoth Oil company, controlled by Harry Sinclair, an important contributor to the GOP. He also leased Elk Hill, California reserve to Pan-American Petroleum and Transportation Co. He said that the government received revenue. Doheny, head of Pan-American, had made a loan of $100,000 to Secretary Fall. Sinclair loaned Fall another $25,000 to $50,000. Thus a pattern of bribes is introduced. At the end of the investigation, it is learned that Fall took more than $400,000 in bribes. It is revealed that Democrats had also taken bribes such as William Gibbs McAdoo (President Wilson’s son in law). President Calvin Coolidge’s statement on the investigation:(“I feel the public is entitled to know that in the conduct of such actions no one is shielded for any party, political, or other reasons. As I understand, men are involved who belong to both political parties, and having been advised by the Department of Justice that is in accord with former precedents, I propose to employ special counsel of high rank, drawn from both political parties, to bring such actions for the enforcement of the law.” He appointed the investigators: Owen Roberts, a Republican, and Senator Atlee Pomerance, a Democrat. The leases are declared invalid and the private holdings are liquidated. Attorney General Daugherty fails to prosecute Fall, Denby, Sinclair, Doheny and Forbes. Coolidge stands by Daugherty for quite awhile but eventually asks for his resignation. Coolidge writes Daugherty: “I am not questioning your fairness or integrity. I am merely reciting the fact that you are placed in two positions, one your personal interest, the other your office of attorney general, which may be in conflict. How can I satisfy a request for action in matters of this nature on the grounds that you, as attorney general, advise against it, when you are the individual against whom the inquiry is directed necessarily have a personal interest in it?”

Sobel, Coolidge, An American Enigma, p. 261-266.