What Scandal Was Associated With President Harding's Administration?

The bribery investigation resulting from the leasing of Naval oil reserves in the early 1920s, which became known as the Teapot Dome scandal, tarnished the administration of Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States. Harding's death while in office in 1923 deprived him of a chance to defend his administration against the charges of corruption involving members of his cabinet, but the president himself was never found to have been involved in any wrongdoing.

Albert B. Fall, who was appointed by Harding as Secretary of the Interior in 1921, leased the oil-production rights to the federally-owned Teapot Dome and Elk Hill oil reserves to two private oil companies. Although it was not illegal to award leases without any competitive bidding, it was later discovered during an investigation that one of the oil companies provided Fall with an important position within the company. The other oil company was controlled by millionaire Edward L. Doheny, who provided Fall with an interest-free loan of $100,000 prior to his company being awarded the lease. Fall's inability to hide the improvement in his standard of living ultimately led to his conviction on charges of accepting bribes.