Albert B. Fall is Convicted of Corruption

October 25, 2021

Albert B. Fall was a cabinet secretary during the reign of President Warren G. Harding. Albert B. Fall was, however, found guilty of accepting a bribe while serving as a secretary. Albert B. Fall was the first to be imprisoned for committing a crime while serving in the presidential cabinet.

Corruption was rampant in the cabinet of President Harding in the early 1920s. Edward Doheny of the Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company wanted Albert B. Fall to do him a favor. He requested Albert B. Fall to give his business an oil contract in California’s Elk Hills naval oil reserve. Albert B. Fall accepted, and he was given $100,000 interest-free. Together with the Teapot Dome naval oil reserve in Wyoming, the site was initially reassigned to the interior Department. But Albert B. Fall realized that he could benefit immensely by hiring the land to private businesses.

In October 1923, the Senate Public Lands Committee began investigating corruption. Research revealed that Albert B. Fall received not only a $100,000 bribe but also $300,000. Mammoth Oil’s president also gave Albert B. Fall money for the Teapot Dome oil reserve in Wyoming.

However, the oil fields were recovered and were given to the U.S. government lawfully by the Supreme Court in 1927. In 1929, Albert B. Fall was found guilty of bribery, and he was sentenced to one year in prison. A fine of $100,000 was applied on Albert B. Fall. Doheny escaped imprisonment narrowly. But Sinclair was convicted of disrespecting congress and interfering with the panel of judges.

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