The Teapot Dome Scandal was "one of the most notorious government scandals in United States history." It took place while Warren G. Harding was President of the United States and was part of the reason for his poor ranking among U.S. Presidents.
The scandal was investigated by committees of the U.S. Senate and a special commission from 1922 to 1928. The investigation found the Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall guilty of persuading Harding "to transfer control of three naval oil reserves from the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Interior in 1921."
Fall then leased the reserves - located at Elk Hill, California, and Teapot Dome, Wyoming - to two private oil companies without competitive bidding in 1922. Fall was given a "loan" for $100,000 for helping to arrange the Elk Hills transfer and more than $300,000 in cash, bonds, and valuable livestock for the Teapot Dome transfer. He then resigned from office in 1923 and joined one of the companies. The government sued to cancel the leases and won the case in 1927. Fall became "the first Cabinet member to go to jail for crimes committed while in office." He was convicted of accepting a bribe in 1929, fined $100,000, and sentenced to one year in prison.
Facts and quotes for this post came from an article by Robert D. Palmet in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 19, p 74.