Scandal, Hogs, and Impeachment

Georgia Senate Tries to Impeach Talmadge

"To help the farmers of Georgia."

“Is not money better spent in raising the price on hogs or any farm commodity than it is in hiring extra help and additional salaries? If the money had been spent in salaries or expenses, there would never have been any question. I think that it was spent in the wisest way to help the farmers of Georgia...The $10,000 was paid to the farmers of Georgia and helped the price of hogs. I am glad that the bureau of markets could render this service to the farmers of Georgia.

Editor's Note: During the summer of 1931, the Georgia Senate created an investigating committee to determine whether Eugene Talmadge misappropriated state funds. The committee discovered that Talmadge illegally used $10,000 of government funds in a scheme to raise the price of Georgia hogs. In his initial response, Talmadge claimed he had not used these funds illegally but instead used this money for the benefit of Georgia farmers.

Upon further investigation the Georgia legislature found that Talmadge paid over $40,000 of state funds to himself and various family members. Talmadge spent this money to pay for family trips to the Kentucky Derby and even to repair state cars Talmadge and his stepson wrecked while driving for personal trips.  

The Georgia Legislature voted not to remove Talmadge from office but asked him to repay the funds. While Talmadge never repaid the state, he was prohibited to write editorials in the newspaper for the Department of Agriculture, The Market Bulletin. Once the legislature finished its investigation of Talmadge, he frequently mentioned the investigation and his hog scheme in speeches to farmers around the state. In many of these speeches, Talmadge admitted he had stolen money from the government but claimed he had stolen for the dirt farmers. Almost a year later, in 1932, Talmadge successfully campaigned for the office of governor; elected by the farmers whose support he won during his time as commissioner of agriculture.