From Ohio History Central
Thomas Miller served as chairman of the Office of Alien Property during President Warren G. Harding's administration.
In 1920, Harding, an Ohioan, won election as president of the United States of America. As president, for the most part, Harding proved to be a poor manager of the federal government. He delegated authority to his cabinet officials. These men became known as the "Ohio Gang," because they supposedly were a gang of thieves from Ohio. In reality, most of the men linked to the Ohio Gang were not from Harding's home state.
Miller was one of the members of the Ohio Gang, although he was not from Ohio. The United States, Great Britain, France, and their respective soldiers had seized various items from Germany during World War I and following the conflict's conclusion. As chairman of the Office of Alien Property, Miller was to oversee the return of documents and property to Germany following World War I. Miller did carry out his assigned duties, but he also sold German patents to companies in the United States of America, allowing these companies to have an advantage over other businesses in the United States and also permitting them more easily to compete with German companies. Miller's actions of selling the German patents was illegal. In essence, he was accepting bribes from American companies. In return, these companies received an unfair advantage in the business sector.
Once Miller's actions were revealed, he was convicted of accepting bribes and forced from his position with the Office of Alien Property. His actions, along with those of several other of Harding's cabinet officials, caused a great deal of distrust of government officials among the American people and also solidified Harding's reputation as a poor president.