Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Original Fall Guy


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Since moving to El Paso, TX 16 years ago, I have become interested in the rich history of this little corner of Texas. I recently visited the Fall House in the downtown historical area and wanted to do a little research on Albert Fall.
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Albert Fall was born in Kentucky in 1861. He became a lawyer and made his way out west. He became one of the first Senators when New Mexico became a state in 1912. He was later picked by his poker buddy, President Warren Harding to be Secretary of the Interior in 1921. Here is where it starts to get interesting.
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There were several tracks of government land that had been set aside as oil reserves, to ensure the Department of the Navy would have a source of oil if needed. One of these reserves was called "Teapot Dome". To make a long story short (many books have been written about this scandal ... so I will make it really short) ... Albert Fall secured a loan for $100,000.00 (which apparently didn't need to be paid back) in exchange for leasing this government land to Mammoth Oil and Pan American Petroleum Co.
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This would seem an open and shut bribery case ... except for one thing. President Harding defended Fall, saying that this leasing policy had been presented to him by the Navy and Interior Secretaries prior to the leases being executed, and that he had, as President, approved them.
Congress opened an investigation into this and both Fall and Naval Secretary Edwin Denby were forced to resign. Fall was later convicted of Fraud and Corruption and served 1 year in prison and paid a $100,000.00 fine. He later moved to El Paso and died here in 1944.
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Questions remain regarding President Harding's involvement with the scandal and whether Albert Fall took the blame to protect him. If so, Albert Fall was the first "Fall Guy".
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In this vitriolic election season, who will be the "Fall Guy" if the Republicans don't do as well as expected? And what if the Democrats lose both houses? Whatever happens, one thing can be assured, there will always be a "Fall Guy".

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3 comments:

Debbie said...

Good question as to who will be the fall guy if Republicans don't do as the people want them to. I suppose it won't matter, the damage will be the same no matter who gets blamed. I hope this won't happen. It's time for a miracle, ha.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

tapline said...

This was an interesting Post. People do not change. maybe its not as obvious today, but it sure happens doesn't it....stay well...

WomanHonorThyself said...

good question Paul but we had better all vote vote vote!!!