Morals and Monopolies
Written by Corey Gualandi
Although Prohibition Commissioner Roy A. Haynes was morally opposed to prohibition, he felt compelled to take a moral stand, stating, “it is no longer a question as to whether we are for or against that legislation, but whether we are for or against the U.S. Constitution and liberty.”
He recognized bribes were on a phenomenal scale. A group of brewers offered some prohibition agents a monthly $300,000.00 retainer to look the other way.
The bootleggers regarded the agent’s badge as nothing more than a license to make money. Bootleggers brag of top political connections, with representatives in the Department of Justice, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the prohibition unit itself.
Haynes, faced with the corruption within his own Prohibition Bureau, admitted “weak men, few in number, could not withstand the strain of temptation placed in their way [by bootleggers].”
Despite Haynes’ acknowledgement of corruption within the bureau, his optimistic and naive state of mind caused him to be blind to just how bad the corruption was.
Haynes full-heartedly believed the first numbers to surface after the prosecution of Prohibition Bureau agents between 1920 and 1925, which ranged from counts of corruption, accepting bribes, and protection of bootlegging operations.
The first numbers would claim that less than 1% of Prohibition agents were convicted of chargers. Records would later show that between 1920 and 1930, approximately 11,926 agents (out of a force of 17,816) were “separated without prejudice” because their criminal involvement could not be proven, and an additional 1,587 were “dismissed for cause,” that is, fire offences that could be proven but might not warrant sentencing, or would involve costly, publicized trials.
There was an alarming discrepancy between prohibition agents’ low salaries and their life-styles. A good number of agents would arrive for work in chauffeur-driven luxury cars. Senior agents were just as guilty as lower ranking subordinates.
In Philadelphia, 1921, it would be revealed that the local prohibition director had been heavily involved with a scheme to remove 700,000 gallons of whiskey (street value of $4 million) from government warehouses. Higher-ups swiftly carried out actions against the local and noble prosecuting attorney, T. Henry Walnut, who had uncovered the conspiracy. Walnut forced to resign due to actions taken against him and the case was dropped. Although the case was eventually reopened, all accused parties were discharged due to the mysterious disappearance of the evidence against them which had been in possession of the Justice Department.
George Remus, one of the most iconic prohibition era gangsters, had been arrested by 1924. Remus had sold $75 million worth of liquor in a two year period alone.
How was he able to do this?
The way any big time gangster does: Buy politicians (just like Al Capone).
After his conviction, further investigations led to the discovery that Remus had spent over $20 million to pay off various federal, state, and local officials for their silence.
This is a classic example of how when there is a monopoly on force/violence and “law,” you will always have tyranny. (Read 1 Samuel 8 when God tells the people what they’ll get if they’re governed by man).
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