Fall and Forbes later received jail sentences for their crimes; Daugherty twice went on trial, the first resulting in a hung jury and the second in a not guilty verdict.
Harding was never personally implicated in the scandals, but he was aware of the actions of Forbes, Smith, and the Ohio Gang and failed to bring their corruption to light.
It was his outward appearance rather than any internal qualities that contributed most strongly to his political success.
His father later left farming to become a physician.
Following a mediocre education at local schools in Ohio and three years at Ohio Central College, Harding tried his hand at several vocations until in 1884 he bought a struggling weekly newspaper in Marion, Ohio, to which he devoted himself.
( President-elect Harding appointed to his cabinet a mixture of outstanding leaders and unscrupulous politicians waiting for an opportunity to line their pockets.
In the first category were Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes and Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, and in the second were Attorney General Harry Daugherty and Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Harding was a notoriously poor judge of character who expected his appointees to repay his trust with integrity. The administration got off to a good start when Congress completed an initiative begun in the Wilson administration and established a budget system for the federal government; Washington Naval Disarmament Conference.
By the spring of 1923, Harding was visibly distraught at what he regarded as the betrayal of his friends who were taking advantage of his kindliness and lax administration.
He sought escape from Washington in mid-June by taking a trip to Alaska with his wife and a large entourage.
By the mid-1920s the public began to regard Harding as a man who simply did not measure up to the responsibilities of his high office.
Rumours of his heavy drinking in the White House (at a time when Prohibition was the law of the land) and of his involvement in extramarital affairs further degraded his reputation.
On his way home at the end of July, the president complained of abdominal pain, but he seemed to rally as he rested at a San Francisco hotel.
On the evening of August 2, however, as his wife read to him from a magazine, Harding suddenly died from either a heart attack or a stroke.
Far more serious was the unfolding of the Albert Fall had persuaded Harding to transfer authority over two of the nation’s most important oil reserves—Elk Hills in California and Teapot Dome in Wyoming—from the Navy Department to the Department of the Interior.