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Commerce Cabinet Crisis V: The Return of Commerce Cabinet Crisis

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Commerce Cabinet Crisis V: The Return of Commerce Cabinet Crisis"

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I’d forgotten to revive this feature after Judd Gregg’s withdrawal. But here goes:

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Upon his ascension to the Presidency, Herbert Hoover, a former Commerce Secretary, naturally turned to former subordinate Robert P. Lamont to take the helm at this not-so-important agency. Sources disagree as to whether Lamont was born in Illinois or Detroit. But he definitely built the “summerland” vacation cabin in Wisconsin which apparently went on to have a distinguished career as a haunted house.

Everyone agrees that Lamont moved to Chicago where he was a businessman and possibly involved with the Robert P. Lamont Office Building project. Either way, during World War One he was the top procurement officer in the country, and he went on to serve as an Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Harding administration. After being tapped by Hoover to be Secretary of Commerce he failed to revive the economy from its Depression doldrums. In 1932 he left the Hoover administration in a pioneering “revolving door” move to become president of the American Iron and Steel Institute. President Hoover offered the following effusive remarks:

Secretary of Commerce Robert P. Lamont has found it necessary to resign in order to reenter private business.

Mr. Lamont has remained in his position at great sacrifice for several months at my request. I regret extremely his loss from the Cabinet as his abilities and service have commanded the respect and confidence of the entire country.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Roy D. Chapin of Detroit, as Mr. Lamont’s successor.

Indeed!

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