Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Harry Daugherty

Harry Micajah Daugherty (January 26, 1860 – October 12, 1941) (daw-HER-tee) was an American politician. He is best known as a Republican Party boss, and member of the Ohio Gang, the name given to the group of advisors surrounding president Warren G. Harding.

As an Ohio Republican party boss in 1920, Daugherty engineered Harding's ascendancy as the Republican Party presidential nominee at that year's Republican National Convention in Chicago. The decision to propel Harding forward, if the nomination wasn't decided on the first ballot, was made in what became known in American politics as the smoke-filled room in the Blackstone Hotel. Daugherty 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.

Harding won the Republican Party nomination after the vote deadlocked between Leonard Wood and Frank Lowden, an event whose possibility Daugherty had suggested months before in an interview.

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 bootleggers (operated by his chief aide Jess Smith) that led to Daugherty's eventual resignation on 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 found not guilty.

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