Fans of the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire will no doubt recall the series’ many Prohibition-era scenes featuring high-level politicians rubbing elbows with bootleggers and openly imbibing in private, even as they assailed the purported societal dangers of the “devil’s brew” in public. One needn’t look further than the story of George Cassiday for a glimpse into one of the many historic precedents that inspired such vignettes.
Cassiday was a World War I veteran who, upon returning home from Europe, found bootlegging to be a sufficiently lucrative means of making a living. He found an especially promising market in selling his contraband liquor to members of Congress, many of whom were vocal proponents of the very same Prohibition that necessitated his nefarious actions….(Read more at the R Street Institute Blog)