Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The only name most people remember when the subject of the Teapot Dome Scandal comes up is that of President Warren G. Harding. But he was just the straw man, a front for all the shady dealings made by the advisors surrounding him.

A member of that "Ohio Gang" was Republican Party boss Harry Micajah Daugherty, and he's our televersion of the day for "As Seen On TV". In the miniseries 'Backstairs At The White House', Daugherty was played by noted character actor Barry Sullivan, even though he didn't resemble the real Daugherty in the least - not that appearance has ever been a deterrent for Toobworld. (The real Daugherty is seen below.)

From Wikipedia, here's a thumbnail sketch of Daugherty:
Harry Micajah Daugherty (January 26, 1860–October 12, 1941) served as campaign manager for Harding in the presidential election of 1920. He ran the campaign based on Harding's affable personality and fairly neutral political stance, advocating a return to "normalcy" after World War I. After Harding won the general election, he appointed Daugherty United States Attorney General.

Daugherty's controversial three years in office saw his name surface in connection with veterans bureau irregularities, alien property conspiracies, as well as his role in the pardoning of Eugene V. Debs and Charles W. Morse. However it was his alleged knowledge of a kickback scam involving bootlegers (operated by his chief aid Jess Smith) that led to his eventual resignation in March 28, 1924.

As the subject of a U.S. Senate investigation begun the year before, spearheaded under the direction of Junior Senator Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, Daugherty, was eventually not found guilty in the investigation.

There were rumors, hinted at in "Backstairs At The White House", that Daugherty had a homosexual relationship with his assistant, Jess Smith, with whom he shared rooms while they worked in Washington. (Jess Smith committed suicide during the Teapot Dome scandal.) Harry Townes portrayed Smith.

Toby O'B

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