Considered by many to be the most corrupt administration in US history. the Grant administration shocked the public for its level of venality. The immediate post civil war period was really the first real major growth of the Federal Government and it’s management of the economy and public lands etc.
The opportunities to manipulate financial markets, skirt what few regulations existed because regulatory systems were not yet in place, the occupation of the South which was under military rule, all of this combined to allow a money grab on a scale we had never seen before in our history. (If you watched the TV series Hell on Wheels, you’d have a good idea just what a money grab took place).
Ulysses S. Grant
Grant himself was known for his honesty, but his administration was likely the most corrupt in the 19th century.
A near-ceaseless flow of money from speculation and western expansion led to an epidemic of corruption, and Grant responded by stubbornly protecting those accused of graft.
A massive conspiracy to pilfer tax revenue from whiskey sales, called the Whiskey Ring, snared more than 100 federal, state, and local officials.
The secretaries of the Navy, of war and of the treasury all faced allegations of bribery and taking kickbacks.
The Salary Grab Act was passed by Congress at the end of Grant’s first term to enact gigantic retroactive pay raises for itself and to increase the salary of the president.
Grant’s administration was gutted by the Credit Mobilier scandal, in which a construction company massively overcharged the Union Pacific Railroad. The company pulled off the scam thanks to millions in bribes paid to the vice president, the secretary of the treasury, four senators, and the speaker of the House.
Most Corrupt Administrations in US History
Anyway, that’s your history lesson for the day. What is happening today is potentially on the same scale. The Trump administration is engaged in an all out, no holds barred effort to do two things. One approach is to remove as many of the rules and regulations that govern business, banking and finance as possible giving virtual free rein to act in any way they wish with no oversight or consequences.
But rolling back regulation is not enough. Trump is striving for a much more long lasting destruction of the Federal Government’s ability to regulate by dismantling the regulatory agencies themselves. He is purposely underfunding and understaffing these agencies. He is placing people formerly opposed to the missions of these agencies in charge of them. The result is an exodus of Federal employees who have the career expertise on regulating various industries.
Additionally, we see the various offices of governmental ethics being virtually crippled by administration and GOP Congressional refusal to support these offices. We have seen the Head of the Office of Governmental Ethics resign over the fact that he was simply not being allowed to do his job.
In short, what we are seeing is the result that we elected a mobster to the Presidency. He has the support of the corporate billionaire investor class that wishes to operate with no restraint in their search for greater profit. If there are no regulations, than everything is legal. If there are no regulatory agencies, no one will know when the few regulations left are contravened.
The Trump presidency: On track to becoming the most corrupt in U.S. history?