According to his biographer Milton R. Merrill, Smoot became known as the watchdog of the Treasury during the 1920s because of his demand for reduced Federal spending and lower taxes.He was also a key participant in the passage of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff, which had the unintended consequence of causing foreign nations to raise tariffs on American exports in retaliation for the law's raising of tariffs on foreign goods. Given the very different political climate of the Great Depression, when most Americans supported federal spending, Smoot was defeated in his final election attempt.
During Smoot's term, his son took over the home. Smoot didn't return home after his defeat, and the home has stayed in the family ever since. The house still contains many of the original furnishing, including the family china, a collection of pitchers, and a collection of paintings by Lee Greene Richards.