President Warren G. Harding Won’t Reconsider Appointing a Crony As Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board

He parries the suggestion that he select a better candidate, one who was already governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

In 1922 a vacancy became available in the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve Board. Daniel R. Crissinger was a banker from Marion, Ohio, President Harding’s home town, and the two men were friends and neighbors. President Harding named Crissinger Comptroller of the Currency, and then on May 1, 1923, appointed him chairman...

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President Warren G. Harding Won’t Reconsider Appointing a Crony As Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board

He parries the suggestion that he select a better candidate, one who was already governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

In 1922 a vacancy became available in the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve Board. Daniel R. Crissinger was a banker from Marion, Ohio, President Harding’s home town, and the two men were friends and neighbors. President Harding named Crissinger Comptroller of the Currency, and then on May 1, 1923, appointed him chairman (called “governor” back then) of the Federal Reserve Board. Thus he was one of Harding’s cronies who done him wrong, as in 1929 Crissinger was indicted for fraud. President Hoover said of Crissinger that he was “utterly devoid of…banking sense.”

Banker John Sherwin of Cleveland, Ohio tried to put forward a better candidate. He wrote Harding in December 1922 recommending Elvadore R. Fancher for the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve Board. Fancher was the governor (president) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, who would serve in that post from when the office commenced on November 2, 1914, until his death on January 16, 1935.

Typed letter signed, on White House letterhead, Washington, January 2, 1923, to Sherwin, essentially declining to reconsider his commitment to Crissinger. “Just a line of belated acknowledgment for yours of the middle of December commending Mr. Fancher for governorship of the Federal Reserve Board. In addition to appreciation of your recommendation I want to express my gratitude for your very kind personal references therein.”

An uncommon Harding White House letter related to the cronyism that proved to be his downfall.

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