||Republican presidential nominee James Blaine had been tarred with the taint of corruption since 1876. In 1869, Blaine used his influence as speaker of the house to ensure passage of a land grant for the Little Rock & Fort Smith Railroad. In gratitude, Warren Fisher, one of the firm's contractors, allowed Blaine to sell securities in the railroad company and, at the speaker's insistence, pocket a suspiciously large commission in bonds. When the railroad had financial difficulties, resulting in the bonds becoming nearly without value, one of the firm's wealthy backers, Tom Scott, bought the almost worthless bonds back from Blaine and his friends at a price well above their market value. In return, Speaker Blaine pushed legislation to benefit Scott's Texas & Pacific Railroad.