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Details on the Credit Mobilier Scandal

[Summary]WGBH American Experience . Transcontinental Railroad | PBS General Article: The Credit Mobilier Scandal The Crédit Mobilier Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum Exhibits Chinese History FAQ's Links Rights & Permissions; Homework The C

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Details on the Credit Mobilier Scandal

General Article: The Credit Mobilier Scandal

The Crédit Mobilier

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The Crédit Mobilier Scandal | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

Details on the Credit Mobilier Scandal

On this date, the New York Sun exposed the Crédit Mobilier scandal. Crédit Mobilier was a sham construction company chartered to build the Union Pacific Railroad by financing it with unmarketable bonds. It also provided a mechanism to dispense the immense profits from building the railroad to the board of directors and its shareholders. A few years earlier, one of the chief participants, Representative Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, had sold shares at bargain rates to roughly a dozen high-ranking House colleagues, including Schuyler Colfax, then-Speaker of the House (who, by 1872, was the sitting Vice President), in order to secure political clout to benefit the company. Most of the Members got rid of their stock quickly, nullifying the large returns they could have received. However, Representative James Brooks of New York (who also a government director for the Union Pacific) profited from a large block of shares. When the scandal became public, Speaker James Blaine of Maine appointed a select investigation committee chaired by Representative Luke Poland of Vermont in December 1872. Speaker Blaine noted that “A charge of bribery of members is the gravest that can be made in a legislative body. It seems to me . . . that this charge demands prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation.” On February 27, 1873, the House censured Ames and Brooks for using their political influence for personal financial gain.

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Early History of the CMA

The Credit Mobilier of America was incorporated by the Pennsylvania legislature on 3/26/1864. Its name came from a French investment organization incorporated in 1852. Though its original purpose was to serve as a subcontractor for the Union Pacific Railroad and construct the line leading west from Omaha, the CMA moved quickly to purchase the Union Pacific and thus control the route of the line. Within two years, CMA had completed the first goal of 246 miles of track, for which it received $13 million; the cost to CMA was only $7.8 million.

Credit Mobilier of America facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about Credit Mobilier of America

CR DIT MOBILIER OF AMERICA

CRÉDIT MOBILIER OF AMERICA, the classic case of corruption in the Gilded Age, concerned conflict of interest and institutional duplicity. When in 1862 Congress chartered the Union Pacific Railroad with a federal subsidy for a transcontinental railroad, it also established the Crédit Mobilier, a separate corporation for the rail-road's construction, to attract private investors. Huge profits were made. Stockholders in the Union Pacific and the Crédit Mobilier, who were usually the same people, paid themselves outrageous profits. A cynic might say that the first construction site was at the U.S. Treasury.

Crédit Mobilier Scandal

CRÉDIT MOBILIER SCANDAL

The Reconstruction era after the Civil War was a time of chaos, reorganization, and corruption that affected not only lesser state officials but also federal government agents. The Crédit Mobilier affair, which had its early beginnings in 1864 but was not publicly investigated until 1873, is an example of the corrupt practices that characterized the period.

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