The Whiskey Ring was a scandal which, during 1875, involved diversion of tax revenues in a conspiracy among government agents, politicians, whiskey distillers, and distributors. The scandal started in St Louis but later spread to other places, such as Chicago, Milwaukee, and New Orleans. Before being caught, a group of mostly Republican politicians were able to avoid millions of dollars of taxes on liquor.

Benjamin Bristow, worked without the knowledge of the president or the A.G., broke the  politically powerful ring in 1875 using agents from outside the Treasury department to conduct raids across the country in the month of May. The trials of those found during the raids began at Jefferson City some time within October, 1875. Ultimately, 110 convictions were made and over three million dollars in taxes were recovered, however this is apparently only about three-fourths of the taxes that went missing over the course of the event.

President Grant had appointed John Henderson to be the prosecutor in charge of the indictments and trials, but Grant eventually fired him because he did not agree with Grant interfering so heavy in the court prosecutions. Grant replaced Henderson with an attorney the he knew would allow him to work with the trails how he wanted, James Broadhead.

Orville Babcock, the private secretary to the President, was indicted as a member of the ring, and as such even though he was not directly involved in the ring, President Grant became the symbol of corruption in the House of Representatives, especially after later scandals by his Secretary of War. These two scandals, along with other alleged abuses of power by the Republican party, contributed to national weariness during the reconstruction after the Civil War, which only ended after Grant’s Presidency in 1877.

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