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Teapot Dome scandal
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Teapot Dome scandal

One of the most famous American political scandals of the 1920s was the Teapot Dome scandal, which shook the nation for many years after President Warren G. Harding's death. The scandal revolved around Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall's sale of first drilling rights to the oil fields on the Teapot Dome Indian Reservation to private concerns, on April 7, 1922, in exchange for bribes. Fall was convicted and in 1931 he became the first US Cabinet member to be sent to prison. He was sentenced to one year of imprisonment and was obligated to pay $100,000. One of the two oilmen known to be involved in the scandal was also convicted and imprisoned; the other was acquitted due to lack of evidence (he later bequeathed a substantial amount of money to his grandson Larry Niven).

As rumors of corruption began to leak out, some members of Harding's inner circle committed suicide. When Harding died of a heart attack shortly after this, rumors surfaced that he either committed suicide or was poisoned by his wife. The alleged motives of his wife, however, had nothing to do with the Teapot Dome scandal.

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