In honor of the scandal ridden Trump presidency, I am posting an excerpt from Brewing Battles which deals with a scandal during the Truman administration.
The United States government had essentially remained on a war footing since 1945, and the Korean War continued this approach. In the spring and summer of 1951, Congress considered legislation to finance rearmament. Military spending had more than tripled since 1950, and the armed forces had more than doubled in size. As part of the overall package, legislators planned to increase excise taxes on liquor, beer, wine, tobacco, automobiles, gasoline, and sporting goods. The House wrote legislation that included tax increases for both distilled spirits and beer which would help to generate $7.2 billion in revenue. The Senate held hearings on the legislation; various representatives of the different branches of the liquor industry appeared.
Since 1940 the Alcohol Tax Unit of the B.I.R. had responsibility for regulation of the liquor industry. The larger bureau, which had existed since 1862, had not had any reorganization since 1917. Two wars and Prohibition had occurred as well as a dramatic increase in tax collections and employees. By the end of World War II, a person might wait twelve months or longer for a tax refund. In 1944 the federal government collected $42,125,986,550 in income taxes. This was an increase over 1943. Although income taxes played the largest role in the country’s tax situation, brewers and the liquor industry had also been significant contributors throughout the war.
Staffing of the Bureau and its sixty-four collection districts had been done on a purely patronage basis with predictable results. An investigation of the agency in 1951 by Senator John James Williams, (R. DE) revealed that at least four different collectors in St. Louis, Boston, Brooklyn, and San Francisco had been engaged in fraud, embezzlement, bribery, and tax evasion. The most prominent member of the Administration to face corruption charges was Matthew J. Connelly, the President’s appointments’ secretary. Connelly received a two year sentence for tax evasion and influence peddling. He served six months in prison after the end of the Truman presidency: Truman eventually persuaded President Kennedy to pardon Connelly.
Although not as large a scandal as the Whiskey Frauds of the late nineteenth century, President Truman did respond by reorganizing the Bureau, reducing the number of collection districts to twenty-five, and turning appointment power over to the Civil Service. John Wesley Snyder, a close friend of and powerful fundraiser for President Truman, was Secretary of the Treasury and was in charge of reforming the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The final legislation raised $5,691,000,000 in taxes and included a $9 a barrel beer excise tax.
 “Tax Bill 7.1 Billion; No Rise on TV Sets,” New York Times, May 26, 1951, 8; “Bootlegging Seen in Liquor Tax Rise,” New York Times, July 31, 1951, 15; Lawrence S. Wittner, Cold War America: From Hiroshima to Watergate (New York: Praeger, 1974) 79.
 Andrew J. Dunar, The Truman Scandals and the Politics of Morality (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1984), 96; William Pemberton, Bureaucratic Politics: Executive Reorganization during the Truman Administration (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press., 1979), 162, “Federal Tax Yield $42,125,986,550 in 1944,” New York Times, February 13, 1945, 36.
 Dunar, The Truman Scandals, 98-99, 150-155; All had received appointments as collectors during the tenure of either Robert E. Hannegan or Joseph Nunan as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Hannegan had been instrumental in helping Harry Truman win re-election to the Senate in 1940 and later served as chair of the Democratic National Committee when Truman received the vice-presidential nomination at the 1944 convention. See “Truman is Seventh Elevated By Death,” New York Times, April 13, 1945, 3.
 Dennis Merrill, ed., Documentary History of the Truman Presidency, University Publishers of America, 2000, vol. 28, xxxix, 271 -272; Rick D. Medlin, “Snyder, John Wesley,” American National Biography Online www.anb.org/articles, (accessed on January 9, 2003).
Brewing Battles: A History of American Beer, © 2008 by Algora Publishing, p. 143-145.