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Richard Achilles Ballinger

Ballinger, Richard Achilles (bălˈĭnjər) [key], 1858–1922, U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1909–11), b. Boonesboro (now in Boone), Iowa. He was mayor of Seattle (1904–6) and commissioner of the General Land Office (1907–9); in 1909, Taft appointed him Secretary of the Interior. While Secretary, he was accused by L. R. Glavis of the Land Office of having halted investigation into the legality of certain private coal-land claims in Alaska. With Taft's approval, Glavis was dismissed from service. Glavis took his case to the public in a series of articles in Collier's Weekly that roused the conservationists. Led by Gifford Pinchot, they demanded an investigation. A congressional committee exonerated Ballinger, but the questioning of committee counsel Louis D. Brandeis made the Secretary's anticonservationism clear; he resigned in Mar., 1911. The incident split the Republican party and helped turn the election of 1912 against Taft.

See A. T. Mason, Bureaucracy Convicts Itself (1941); J. L. Penick, The Ballinger-Pinchot Affair (1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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