What’s in Today’s Episode?
Learn acquit, administration, allocate, associate, consequence, disputant, enterprise, rescind, reservoir, and scrutiny in the context of the story of The Teapot Dome in this new Word Power episode from English Plus Podcast.
The Teapot Dome Affair
As long as there have been governments, there have been scandals and corruption. Politicians and their associates have taken part in bribery, extortion, criminal conspiracy, and other immoral and illegal activities. Warren G. Harding’s presidency is considered by some to be one of the most corrupt administrations in American history.
The most notorious of the Harding scandals is known as the Teapot Dome Affair. Teapot Dome, Wyoming, was named for a rock that sat on the land and resembled a teapot. This parcel of land contained oil that had been allocated to the United States Navy for its future needs. The oil was to be kept in its natural reservoir until it was required for use by United States naval vessels.
Numerous conservation policies, including the petroleum reserve policy, assigned control of tracts of land to the federal government. Opposition to the petroleum reserve policy was strong among private oil interests. For the sake of profit, they argued that the navy’s needs could be better met through the private enterprise of American oil companies.
Harding’s secretary of the interior, Albert B. Fall, a longtime disputant in the petroleum reserve policy debate, persuaded the secretary of the navy to turn over the management of these federally owned oil reserve sites to the Department of the Interior. Fall then secretly leased the sites to private companies in return for bribes. He leased Teapot Dome to the Mammoth Oil Company and another oil reserve to the Pan-American Petroleum Company.
The full story became public after Harding’s death in 1923. Later that year, the Senate conducted an investigation. Close scrutiny revealed that when the leases were signed, Fall had received an extremely large, interest-free loan from the president of the Pan-American Petroleum Company. He also received a large amount of cash and government bonds directly from the president of Mammoth Oil. These payments totaled more than $400,000.
As a consequence of these findings, Congress agreed to sue for cancellation of the leases. In addition to rescinding the leases, the government charged Fall and others involved in the incident with conspiracy to defraud the government. They were eventually acquitted, but Fall was also charged with bribery and found guilty. He served one year in prison and was fined $100,000.
Unlock the Meaning of The New Words
Your associates are the people you are closely connected with, especially at work.
partner, friend, ally, colleague
If you associate someone or something with another thing, the two are connected in your mind.
You can refer to a country’s government as the administration; used especially in the United States.
The administration of a company or institution is the group of people who organize and supervise it.
The administration of something is the process of organizing and supervising it.
If one item or share of something is allocated to a particular person or for a particular purpose, it is given to that person or used for that purpose.
assign, grant, distribute, designate
to assign or allot for a particular purpose
A reservoir of something is a large quantity of it that is available for use when needed.
store, stock, source, supply
A reservoir is a lake that is used for storing water before it is supplied to people.
An enterprise is a company, business, or activity designed to make money.
An enterprise is a company or business, often a small one.
An enterprise is something new, difficult, or important that you do or try to do.
A disputant is a person who argues, or a contestant
contestant, arguer, opponent, contender
a person who disputes or debates
If a person or thing is under scrutiny, they are being studied or observed very carefully.
examination, study, investigation, search
close or minute examination
If one thing happens and then another thing happens in consequence or as a consequence, the second thing happens as a result of the first.
result, effect, outcome, repercussion
The consequences of something are the results or effects of it.
If a government or a group of people in power rescind a law or agreement, they officially withdraw it and state that it is no longer valid.
annul, recall, reverse, cancel
to revoke, repeal, or cancel (a law, order, etc.)
If someone is acquitted of a crime in a court of law, they are formally declared not to have committed the crime.
clear, free, release, deliver
If you acquit yourself well or admirably in a particular situation, other people feel that you have behaved well or admirably.
More Practice (Downloadable Practice Worksheet-PDF)
Practice the Last 20 Words
Practice the words you have learned in this episode and in the last episode Word Power Prometheus and Epimetheus