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Enron -The Next Teapot Dome?

            With the emergence of the Enron scandal, some pundits began to compare it to the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920's. The Teapot Dome scandal was a symbol of government corruption. The Enron scandal seemed to follow in its footsteps. Teapot Dome was the name for a scandal during the presidency of Warren G. Harding. A committee of the Senate first exposed the scandal, which revolved around the secret leasing of naval oil reserve lands to private companies, in 1924 after investigations by a non-partisan committee. The Enron collapse involved the buying of political officials in order to engage in questionable business practices, which inevitably led the company to bankruptcy. .
             Both Teapot Dome and Enron involved getting "kick-backs- or "contributions- from private investors in order to get something sought after. At Teapot Dome, there was a naval oil reserve set aside by the Taft Administration to provide naval ships with fuel in case of a national emergency. Soon after Albert B. Fall was appointed Secretary of the Interior, he sought to have jurisdiction over the naval reserve lands transferred to the Department of the Interior. President Harding agreed and authority over the lands shifted from the Secretary of the Navy to Secretary of the Interior. In December, 1921, Fall entertained Harry F. Sinclair (head of the Mammoth Oil Company), his attorney, Colonel J.W. Zevely, their wives, and several others at his ranch at Three Rivers, New Mexico: In the evenings, Sinclair and Zevely sat before Fall's ranch-house fire and discussed a lease to Sinclair of the entire naval reserve at Teapot Dome. Teapot Dome would be leased in its entirety, Sinclair would build a pipe line with adequate capacity from the Teapot Dome oil fields, and the proceeds from the Navy's share of oil from the reserve were to be used by Sinclair to build storage tanks on the Atlantic coast and fill them with fuel oil. By the time he was finished leasing the navy's reserves, Fall had given his two benefactors reserves, which were each estimated to be worth $100,000,000, and he had collected from them $409,000 in cash and bonds.

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