Warren G. Harding's Presidency

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How was President Warren G. Harding's administration corrupt?

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The administration of President Warren Harding was rocked by scandals, though the worst of them came to light only after his death. Harding was not himself corrupt, or even really implicated in the scandals. His major offense while in office was to appoint old cronies, the so-called "Ohio Gang," to key positions in government. Many of these men saw their closeness to the President as quite literally a license to steal. To make matters worse, Harding was not a strong administrator, and in the loose atmosphere that pervaded the White House, scandal was perhaps inevitable. Perhaps the worst was a brazen scheme by Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, who accepted massive bribes from privately owned oil companies in return for access to U.S. Navy oil supplies in Teapot Dome, Wyoming.

Other members of Harding's entourage stole funds intended for veterans' hospitals, got involved in racketeering and bootlegging (as Harding, a hard drinker himself, publicly touted Prohibition) and embezzled money confiscated from Germans in the United States during World War I. Harding was aware of these goings-on, but most, including the Teapot Dome scandal, were not made public until after his death in 1923. 

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