SLUSH FUND ORIGIN
Thursday December 23rd, 2010
The phrase to describe money put to one side to be used at a later date quite often to influence or bribe stems from the practice by 18th Century ships cooks of saving the fat from boiled pork and salt beef in barrels to sell when they reached port. The money was eventually used to buy books etc for the crew thus keep them content. Hence the phrase became synonymous with savings.
By the late 19th century ‘slush fund’ acquired a much more underhand meaning and such savings became commonly associated with money’s to aside to buy influence. In January 1894 the Congressional Record printed this: “[Cleveland] was not elected in 1888 because of pious John Wanamaker and his $400,000 of campaign slush funds.”