|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
In 1829, President Andrew Jackson appointed Samuel Swartwout to serve as Collector of the Port of New York. Nine years later, in 1838, it came to light that Mr. Swartwout had been embezzling (to the tune of some $2.25 million), and he fled to Europe, evidently with his ill-gotten gains.
President Martin Van Buren then appointed Jesse Hoyt to replace Mr. Swartwout and to take corrective measures to prevent any future problems in the Collector's office. However, in 1841, allegations began to circulate that Mr. Hoyt had also been embezzling, and Hoyt was removed by Van Buren on February 27.
There was also something of a "scandal with the scandal." President John Tyler appointed a special three-person committee, headed by Senator George Poindexter of Mississippi, to investigate the allegations of fraud and embezzlement in the Collector's Office. The committee's report found overwhelming evidence of massive corruption. However, President Tyler had made the political mistake of failing to secure the approval of Congress for the creation of the Poindexter committee; the Congress, miffed at what it viewed as an usurpation of its powers, repudiated President Tyler's action in creating the commission.