The Capitol Dome

Winter 2015-16

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12 and a bottle would appear. Key staffers either supplied the alco- hol themselves or had a direct connection to an outside bootleg- ger. e number of bootleggers serving the Capitol is difficult to determine precisely because so many staff joined in on a part- time basis, supplementing their "meagre salaries . . . by doing a little bootlegging on the side." This sideline business had been especially active during the 1922 Christmas season, when the "demand for a holiday supply was so large that the quality, never represented as really fit to drink, fell at such a rate as to cause serious, although unofficial, complaint." House and Senate clerks and secretaries received "quotations on 'wet goods' daily," leading to a "brisk or dull" market, depending on the price. When liquor running became more common and less risky, good quality Southern-made corn whiskey dropped to $7 a quart. 7 In response to such reports, in May 1921, city commissioners and a contingent of dry members of Congress announced a new partnership expected to reduce the flow of alcohol pouring into town. e Metropolitan Police would increase its presence at the District's borders and more Capitol Police officers would guard the entrances to the HOB and SOB. Bootleggers wasted no time reacting to the crackdown; overnight, the price of corn and rye whiskey jumped by two dollars. 8 While stronger enforcement measures may have curtailed open alcohol sales, they had little effect on liquor consumption within the Capitol complex. Late in 1922, several incidents sparked the ire of the "dry" Senator Charles Curtis (Kansas), then the current chair of the Committee on Rules and the future Senate majority leader. During the Christmas "drinking" season, a waiter dropped a pint of holiday "hooch" on the floor of the Senate restaurant. (e Sun reported that "ere was a scurrying of attendants and no one could ascertain who dropped the bottle, nor for whom it was intended.") On another occasion, an inebriated secretary staggered through the HOB, fell, and broke a bottle near the office of Representative William D. Upshaw (Georgia), one of the most prominent "dry" Democrats in Congress. And Upshaw himself gave a stirring speech calling for members to "practice what they preach" and refrain from imbibing bootlegged alcohol. 9 On Christmas Eve, Curtis issued an order to the Capitol Police: all known bootleggers would be denied access to the Senate side of the Capitol complex. e officers were to "report Bootlegger George L. Cassiday, a.k.a. "e Man in the Green Hat," in October 1930 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, PRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHS DIVISION

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