How Congress’ official bootlegger helped end prohibition

It was 79 years ago today that the 25th amendment to the Constitution was ratified, repealing the 18th Amendment and ending the Prohibition Era. In honor of that the good folks at Reason magazine have highlighted the tale of George Cassiday, who played a key role in the repeal.

Cassiday, you see, was Congress’s semi-official bootlegger, providing liquor to lawmakers from 1920 through 1930. He even had offices in the both the Capitol’s Cannon House Building and Russell Senate Building. From there he regularly supplied booze despite the fact that such sales were illegal at the time. The lawmakers simply observed a different set of rules. He was busted twice and after being hung it to dry the second time by his former clients he told everything he knew to the Washington Post. The resulting furor helped to turn public sentiment against Prohibition.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • ND in MD

    “… lawmakers simply observed a different set of rules..”
    My, how things never change.

    • Rob

      That’s so true, isn’t it?

      The dates change. The slang and buzz words change. But human nature really doesn’t.