By Phil Richardson
First, let me repeat how Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines Collusion: When at least two human beings conspire for mutual gain utilizing fraud (Deceit, perpetrated for profit). I believe that most of us recognize collusion when we see it, even if we never cracked a law book.
It could be as simple as a number of players for the Chicago White Sox baseball team betting that their opponents from Cincinnati would win the 1919 World series.
Collusion can be hard to prove. The last time a President of the USA was suspected of collusion was during the administration of Warren Harding (1920) when Harding led what was known as the “Ohio Gang,” old buddies from the Buckeye State, into the White House. He made Albert Bacon Fall Secretary of the Interior. Secretary Fall soon fell upon the vast reserves of petroleum underground that the Navy had secured for their ships. In a secret order, Harding transferred the supervision of the reserves from the Navy to the Interior Department and in subsequent secret agreements, Fall gave access to the Navy’s petroleum reserves in Wyoming and California to Oil Barons Harry Sinclair (Sinclair Petroleum) and Edward Doheny (Pan American Petroleum). After all, who would miss a few billion gallons gone from the great reserves held for the Navy, since the great war to end all wars had ended?
I think it was Shakespeare who said “truth will out,” and calling a scandal fake news or a hoax just spurs the press into full cry after the fox. In the case named “The Teapot Dome Theft” (After the great oil field in Wyoming first tapped for Sinclair) or “The Naval Oil Reserves Theft,” after the Ohio Gang had shifted their depredations to plundering the Naval oil reserves in Southern California. None of this would have escaped Harding’s full knowledge and collusion.
Leaking news discomforting to politicians is not a recent phenomenon. It wasn’t long before someone in the bowels of the Treasury Department leaked that someone had purchased $200,000 in Federal Savings Bonds in the name of family members of Secretary Fall. He was also “loaned” at least $100,000 by the oilmen that he never repaid. No one knows for sure where the 300 “large” ended up, but it was never discovered in Fall’s assets and he apparently had cashed in the savings bonds, else the government would certainly seized the entire windfall.
Unfortunately for the Ohio Gang, J. Edgar Hoover, a clerk who had been with the Justice Department since 1917, was made head of the new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). President Harding escaped the embarrassment of an impeachment trial by suddenly dying of what was believed a heart attack while on a speaking engagement in California. Mrs. Harding did not. Someone leaked the fact that Warren was a womanizer and shared parenthood with his next door neighbor of a child. Seems that housekeepers in the Whitehouse had come upon a lady hiding in a closet near the oval office more than once. People in the press were far more discreet in those days.
Edward Doheny, oil tycoon (Drilled the first oil well in California) and very generous philanthropist, has an unusual legal history. He was charged twice for attempting to bribe Secretary Fall, but sympathetic Federal juries exonerated him twice. Director Hoover persisted, and in a subsequent trial, a jury convicted Secretary Fall of accepting bribes from Doheny. I’ll leave it to you to figure out that could be.
Congress went on to return the remaining Oil Reserves back to the Navy. Harry Sinclair had his hands slapped for bribery and lying to Congress and spent nine months in the hoosegow. Fall took the fall for his buddies and spent six months in jail.
If he has not already done it, Special Counsel Robert Moeller will probably present a grand jury of Americans with further evidence that a certain person or persons in the United States gained from a collusion between themselves and the richest person in the world,* Russian President Vladimir Putin, that has resulted in financial benefit to both. There is no doubt, even in the White House, that Putin approved, if not engineered, every detail of the major interference in our 2016 election. The whole world is waiting with baited traps for the naming of the “collusionee or collusionees” (I made up the word).
WORD FOR TODAY: “Little drops of water will eventually make you all wet.”
*Bloomberg Financial News states that the President of Russia is now worth more than $200-billion, exceeding that of Jeff Bezos of Amazon, recently named the holder of only $117.5-billion, in his current portfolio.
Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller, is a retired broadcast executive residing in Tucson, Arizona. He is the author of three books – “Water Dream,” “The Prosperity Coal Company” and “Miguel: Narcotraficante.” All are available at Amazon.com.
“He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself.” – Joseph L. Menchen
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 Southern Arizona News-Examiner