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Out of the Shadows

 by Steve Payne

Author says: what if organized crime was considered an opportunity rather than a threat? Please note that the opinions expressed in this satirical post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

October 29th 1935,

Please click to comment on Reddit.on this day the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce, popularly known as the "Hoover Committee" or the "Hoover hearings" recommended that the US Government grant a one-off tax amnesty to regularise revenue collection from organized crime.

"Not too different from OTL; a lot of restaurant and entertainment fortunes got their start as gangsters" - reader's commentFollowing the passage of the "Volstead" Act, the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol was banned for thirteen years. Even though Prohibition was successful in reducing the amount of liquor consumed it had the adverse consequence of stimulating the proliferation of rampant underground, organized and widespread criminal activity. Because the Federal Government did little to enforce prohibition and by 1925, in New York City alone, there were anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasy clubs serving alcohol.

"Essentially the Mob pays a one time penalty, gets an amnesty and brings their liquor and gambling businesses out of the shadows. It requires a somewhat different politics than the actual US of the 30's but weirder things happened in that era" - reader's commentsNew and terrifying levels of violence entered American cities. Something had to be done. And then on February 14, 1929 a South Side Italian gang led by Al Capone - dressed as police officers - executed seven members of the North Side Irish gang led by Bugs Moran. It was a watershed.

"Curious what this would do to Italian relations leading up to WW2." - reader's commentsTo mitigate such wild excesses, a transnational grouping of highly centralized enterprises was formed under which Organized crime created its own chamber of commerce. An early indication of the opportunity for self-regulation was the ordering of Bugsy's Siegels' execution by his boyhood friend Meyer Lansky who had him murdered to eliminate a conflict in the criminal underworld.

In addition to the Justice Systems desire for structure, the on-set of the Depression meant that the US Government was desperate to generate further income. A petition to Congress for a deal on a tax amnesty was welcomed. And the result was a one time tax payment, whereby organized criminals could get a pardon and come out of the shadows.

Author says in reality the hearings were held fifteen years later and chaired by C. Estes Kefauver. Many thanks to Scott Palter and Jeff Provine for their suggestions in developing this post. To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Steve Payne, Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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