On this day, April 7, in 1922, the U.S. secretary of the interior secretly sold the rights to public oil reserves in what became known as the Teapot Dome bribery scandal.
Teapot Dome, an oil field on public land in Wyoming, entered the lexicon as a synonym for government cronyism.
President Harding's interior secretary, Albert Bacon Fall, sold the oil reserves to his oilmen friends. In return, Fall received cash, cattle and no-interest loans. The planning was allegedly hatched in Washington at the Little Green House at 1625 K St. The building has since been razed.
Fall was sentenced to a year in prison for accepting bribes, the first Cabinet officer to be sent to prison.
- Scott McCabe