How Congress Side-Stepped Prohibition



While Americans were expected to comply with the ban on alcohol enacted by the 18th Amendment in 1920, many of the very same members of Congress who supported Prohibition would come to rely on the "Man in the Green Hat” to make sure their liquor cabinets never ran dry. A military veteran, George Cassiday, was Capitol Hill’s own personal bootlegger. His business spread by word of mouth and eventually grew to include hundreds of lawmakers. Since he risked exposure bringing liquor directly into the House Office, he was given the keys to a private storeroom located in the basement to help streamline his operation. Cassiday later estimated that he had delivered an average of 25 orders a day, until he was arrested in 1925 and banished from the building. The incident led to his moniker — “Man in the Green Hat” — because he was wearing a green felt hat at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail.