Cleveland’s Parti-colored Attorney General
July 17, 1886
Garland, shown dripping with tar on one side and whitewash on the other, was investigated by a House committee for an alleged conflict of interest involving Pan-Electric Telephone Company stock he had acquired before joining the Cleveland cabinet. Pan-Electric later sought permission to contest Alexander Graham Bell’s sole ownership of the telephone patent. A subordinate approved the suit while Garland was in Arkansas on an extended stay, and Garland claimed no part in the decision. As he subsequently disposed of his stock and helped dissuade Pan-Electric from the contest, Democrats exonerated Garland. But Republicans vilified him and continued publicizing the matter to embarrass President Cleveland, who reportedly answered the White House phone personally.