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mail matter, shall be evidence of the payment of the postage thereon.
"SEC. 3918. Postage stamps and stamped envelopes shall be furnished by the Postmaster-General to all postmasters, and shall be kept for sale at all post-offices; and each postmaster shall be held accountable for all such stamps and envelopes furnished to him."
I think the only purpose for which the Postmaster-General is authorized by these provisions to prepare postage stamps and furnish them to postmasters is to provide them with postage stamps for sale to the public to enable persons to prepay the postage on mail matter. I am therefore of opinion that the practice of refunding, by the issue of postage stamps, excessive postage paid is unauthorized.
I have the honor, therefore, to reply to your question in the negative.
PURCHASE OF PRINTED CARDS FOR THE BUREAU OF STANDARDS.
Library cards and buff paper slips for the use of the Bureau of Standards are printing for an Executive Department, within the meaning of section 87 of the act of January 12, 1895, which requires all printing for the Executive Departments to be done at the Government Printing Office, and therefore the purchase of such cards and slips from private persons is not authorized.
(Comptroller Tracewell to William L. Soleau, disbursing clerk, Department of Commerce and Labor, September 22, 1904.)
In your communication of September 19, 1904, you request my decision of a question which you therein present as follows:
"There is transmitted herewith voucher submitted to me for payment by the Library Bureau for library cards and buff paper slips printed to order, furnished the Bureau of Standards, of this Department, together with a sample of the cards and slips furnished by the Library Bureau, and explanation of the Director of the Bureau of Standards.
"Your decision is respectfully requested whether the articles covered by this voucher are public printing, the cost of which must be defrayed from the appropriation for public printing and binding."
In a further communication, of September 21, 1904, you say:
"The secretary of the Bureau of Standards informs me by telephone that the cards referred to in the voucher submitted to you September 19, 1904, for your opinion as to whether it could be paid, were printed from forms submitted by the Library Bureau and modified by the officers of the Bureau of Standards.
In 9 Comp. Dec., 738, quoting from the syllabus, it was held that:
"The provision in the act of January 12, 1895, that all public printing, binding, and blank books shall be done at the Government Printing Office has no application to the purchase of books, pamphlets, newspapers, or other printed matter prepared, printed, and issued by private persons."
In 10 Comp. Dec., 322, quoting from the syllabus, it was held that:
"Printed matter which does not represent or record acts required by law, regulation, or usage of the Executive Departments is not public printing within the meaning of section 87 of the act of January 12, 1895, which provides that all printing for the Executive Departments shall be done at the Government Printing Office, and therefore the purchase of printed cards for use in connection with an electric tabulating machine in the Department of Commerce and Labor is authorized."
In both of these cases the statement of facts shows that the cards were prepared and printed by private parties for general use and were for sale to the public, and that they were purchased by the Government as printed matter. In the case presented by you the cards were prepared in accordance with the particular requirements of the Government and for the use of the Government only.
In considering this question in the latter of these decisions I said:
"The prohibition is against the procurement of printing for the Executive Departments outside of the Public Printing Office, and is not to be construed so as to authorize such procurement indirectly by an agreement or understanding that the finished product, the printed matter, may be purchased if such printed matter or finished product represents and records acts required by law, regulation, or usage of the Executive Departments, even if such Executive Departments should
adopt the thoughts and language of others represented by the finished product, except where authorized by law, such as executive advertisements, etc. The mere fact that dealers or others have, in the shape of printed matter, printing for sale which is clearly printing for the Executive Departments would not authorize the purchase of such printed matter on its mere adoption by the Department."
I have therefore to advise you are not authorized to pay the voucher submitted.
FEES OF CONSULAR OFFICERS FOR SERVICES TO AMERICAN WHALING VESSELS.
American whaling vessels are entitled to the relief given by the act of June 26, 1884, which provided that no consular fees should be charged or collected by consular officers for official services to American vessels and seamen.
Under section 12 of the act of June 26, 1884, fees of consular officers for official services to American whaling vessels are payable by the Secretary of the Treasury out of the appropriation provided for in said act.
(Comptroller Tracewell to the Secretary of State, September 24, 1904.)
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 22d instant, in which you request my opinion upon the question presented by you as follows:
"In his dispatch, No. 58, of August 25, 1904, the American consul at Antigua, West Indies, transmits a letter from the consular agent at Roseau, Dominica, stating that American whaling vessels frequently transship their catch of oil at that port and take out the oil manifest required by the customs regulations. A fee of $2 is charged for this manifest and the masters of the vessels protest against the payment of this fee claiming that it comes under the provision of law providing that fees for services to American seamen and vessels shall be paid by the Treasury Department and not collected from the vessels. The masters also state that some consular officers charge this fee to the appropriation referred to, while others collect it from the vessel. I would be glad to have an expression of your opinion as to whether it is a proper charge against the Treasury Department under the provisions of section 12 of the act of June 26, 1884. Under paragraph 717 of the Consular Regulations and paragraph 568 of the tariff act
of 1894, fish oils of American fisheries are admitted free of duty but are required to be accompanied by a manifest certified before an American consular officer."
The act of June 26, 1884 (23 Stat., 53), is entitled "An act to remove certain burdens on the American merchant marine and encourage the American foreign carrying trade and for other purposes," and the section (12, p. 56), cited by you provides:
"That on and after July first, eighteen hundred and eightyfour, no fees named in the tariff of consular fees prescribed by order of the President shall be charged or collected by consular officers for the official services to American vessels and seamen. Consular officers shall furnish the master of every such vessel with an itemized statement of such services performed on account of said vessel, with the fee so prescribed for each service, and make a detailed report to the Secretary of the Treasury of such services and fees, under such regulations as the Secretary of State may prescribe; and the Secretary of the Treasury shall allow consular officers who are paid in whole or in part by fees such compensation for said services as they would have received prior to the passage of this. act: Provided, That such services, in the opinion of the Secretary of the Treasury, have been necessarily rendered; and a sum sufficient for the payment of such compensation, when thus adjusted by the Secretary of the Treasury, is hereby appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated."
Whaling vessels are not specifically declared to be entitled to the relief provided by the act, supra, but they are excepted by name from the provisions of section 10, relating to penalties for payments in advance, etc., and from this I conclude that they are, and were intended to be, included in the benefits or relief given by the act. This is the practical construction given the act by this Department.
Therefore I am of the opinion that the fee referred to in your communication is properly payable by the Secretary of the Treasury under section 12 of the act of June 26, 1884, and is not a fee to be collected from the vessel.
EMOLUMENT ACCOUNTS OF THE CLERK OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES.
The clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States is not required by the act of March 15, 1898, to report to the Attorney-General as emoluments of his office amounts collected from applicants for admission to the bar of the Supreme Court.
(Decision by Comptroller Tracewell, September 27, 1904.)
The Auditor for the State and other Departments has reported, for approval, disapproval, or modification, the following decision:
"There are pending in this office two unadjusted accounts of James H. McKenney, clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States, for collections made by him at October term, 1901, and prior terms,' and for disbursements covering the calendar years 1901 and 1902.
"As the clerk does not furnish an itemized statement of his earnings, this office has no means of ascertaining whether all fees and costs and emoluments are included in his returns as required by section 8 of the act of March 15, 1898 (30 Stat., 317). Therefore, said accounts for receipts and disbursements have not been audited.
"In his affidavits to his returns, said officer did not state that he included all fees and costs and emoluments collected (30 Stat., 317).
"In said returns, however, there is a statement that the clerk does not include charges for admission of attorneys' (Converse case, 8 Comp. Dec., 56). But the Converse case applies only to clerks of the circuit and district courts. In said case the decision was that attorneys' admission fees were not emoluments because there was no fee or compensation fixed by statute for such service.
"(Under act of June 28, 1902 (32 Stat., 476), clerks of the circuit and district courts are now required to report these and all other fees and emoluments.)
"Under the act of March 3, 1883 (1 Supp. R. S., 421; 22 Stat., 631), 'the table of fees to be charged' by the clerk of the United States Supreme Court is prescribed by the court. Said fee bill includes a fee of $10 for an admission to the bar and certificate under seal.
"This fee being prescribed by authority of statute, it is considered as 'fixed by statute,' and the Converse case (8 Comp. Dec., 56), does not apply to the emolument returns of the clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States.