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facsimile of that used by the Government in printing a return card. But the Government, for reasons which require no explanation, will not furnish a stamped envelope to a postmaster for sale with a return card printed thereon for any other post-office.
Mr. Burrows claims that he was reimbursed by the persons to whom he sold these stamped envelopes and postal cards for the cost of such printing.
I have no reason to doubt his statement in this particular, but it is very peculiar that persons doing business in New York and other neighboring cities, business men of large affairs who order stamped envelopes in lots of a hundred thousand and over at a time, would pay at least 22 cents a thousand more for these envelopes than they could have purchased them at the post-office in New York and other home offices, the places where they were mailed. It is claimed that this was done without solicitation by Mr. Burrows, but it must have been with his knowledge and active consent, and these persons must have possessed more than the ordinary civic pride or were peculiarly interested in the financial affairs of this postmaster.
Stamped envelope and postal card sales were not only padded in the manner above set out, but postage stamps in large quantities were sold to business firms in neighboring cities and sent to them by Postmaster Burrows in registered packages and sometimes by clerks in his office, in the one instance at the expense of the postmaster and in the other at the expense of the Government. It was not part of the duty of these clerks to deliver postage stamps to patrons, much less to people doing business in neighboring cities. The result of such sales, in addition to the normal business of this office, was to so increase its gross receipts as to raise a third-class office to a first-class office in a town of about four thousand population.
In my judgment, regardless of whether this was brought about by a conspiracy in which this postmaster was an active participant, he should not be permitted to reap the benefit of such a padding of the receipts of the office, and that the action of the Auditor in charging him in his accounts the sums which were paid him solely on account of this padding was correct and legal and is affirmed.
The second question presents a more difficult matter. It is
patent from the report of the inspectors and from representations made by the Postmaster-General that, on account of the reporting by this postmaster of such abnormal gross receipts of his office, an assistant postmaster and an additional clerk were provided for this office, and the amounts charged to him on these accounts by the Auditor represent the additional expense the Government was put to during the period of time covered by these charges to that it would have been had the natural and normal receipts of his office been correctly reported. But the amounts paid to them by Mr. Burrows, representing the salaries earned by them, are, in my judgment, legal payments. If he as such disbursing officer had refused to pay them, they could have gone into court and recovered. As I look at the matter I would be compelled to allow these salaries if payment had been refused these individuals and they were seeking such allowance on appeal. If this be true, it is not seen how the amounts paid by Mr. Burrows can be disallowed in his accounts. The payments were not made to, but by him. These payments were not necessarily the direct result of the wrongful act of this postmaster, but the indirect result of the intermediate action of the Postmaster-General, through the First Assistant, in the exercise of his discretionary power of appointment, and the losses thereby sustained by the Government belong to that class of losses known as consequential losses, and are too remote to be the subject of a recovery in an action at law for damages.
There has been heretofore no practical construction of the postal laws put into effect charging back to a postmaster payments so made by him to assistants and clerks under circumstances similar to these presented in this case. It would also follow, if these payments were rightfully recharged to the postmaster, that he could properly recoup himself as to this loss against these persons. This would present the strange and anomalous doctrine of the innocent suffering for the guilty. There is no proof before me that these clerks assisted in the padding or were in any manner connected with it.
I am therefore of the opinion that the Auditor erred in charging to Postmaster Burrows in his account the said amounts paid to his assistant and to the clerk.
INCIDENTAL EXPENSES IN THE OFFICE OF THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT.
The provision in the act of June 28, 1902, for "such other incidental expenses and supplies" as may be necessary for use in the office of the Supervising Architect for carrying into effect the various appropriations for public buildings, applies only to incidental expenses and supplies pertaining to the construction of public buildings, and, therefore, is not applicable to the expense of tinting the walls of the engineering and drafting room in the office of the Supervising Architect, nor to the cost of fire line and hose for said office.
(Decision by Comptroller Tracewell, February 3, 1905.)
The Auditor for the Treasury Department has reported for approval, disapproval, or modification two decisions, making original constructions of statutes as follows:
"Under the act approved June 28, 1902 (32 Stat., p. 423, plans for public buildings), providing that
'Hereafter the purchase of specially prepared paper for the duplication of plans and such other incidental expenses and supplies as the Secretary of the Treasury may deem necessary and specially order for the use of the office of the Supervising Architect, exclusively for the purpose of carrying into effect the various appropriations for public buildings, shall be paid for from and equitably charged against such appropriations, in accordance with existing practice.'
A voucher in favor of C. C. Carter, for $50 for tinting the walls of the engineering and drafting room, office of the Supervising Architect, has been charged against the appropriations
Mint building, Denver, Colo
"Another voucher for $220 in favor of Sutherland & Carr, for furnishing fire lines and hose for the drafting room in the office of the Supervising Architect, Treasury building, has been charged against the following appropriations, viz:
Post-office, Salem, Oreg.
Court-house and post-office, Salt Lake City, Utah..
San Diego quarantine station..
Custom-house, San Francisco, Cal..
Court-house, custom-house, and post-office, Seattle, Wash.
"It is a well-established rule of construction that, where possible, full force and effect should be given to every word, paragraph, and section of an act. (Endlich on the Interpretation of Statutes, p. 29.)
"Applying this principle to the act of June 28, 1902, supra, it must, I think, be held that the term 'incidental expenses and supplies' can not be construed in the widest extent of meaning which it might have if it stood alone; but that it is to be construed in connection with and as having relation to the class of expenses specifically provided for, and to which it is supplementary. (7 Comp. Dec., 192.)
"To give any other interpretation to the wording of the above act would be to render the specific provision for 'purchasing specially prepared paper, etc.,' entirely useless and unnecessary, and I can not think that such was the intent of Congress.
"It would not appear that expenditures for painting the walls of rooms occupied by the office of the Supervising Architect, or furnishing fire protection for the same, any more than for furnishing fuel for, or paying the compensation of engineers and firemen engaged in heating the same rooms, constitute such incidental expenses or supplies as were authorized by the above act.
"I am of opinion, therefore, that the act of June 28, 1902, supra, is not broad enough in its provisions to cover expenditures of the character specified in the above-mentioned vouchers.
"The act of February 18, 1904 (33 Stat., 22), appropriates for enlarging the present drafting room of the office of the Supervising Architect, Treasury building, Washington, D. C., in order to furnish additional working space for an increase in the force, including all necessary changes in plumbing and all changes incident to this work, and for all material and labor required in the execution of the work, twelve thousand dollars.'
"If the expenditures covered by the above-mentioned vouchers were embraced in the authority conferred by the general act first mentioned, the passage of the later special act would exclude the use of the appropriations authorized in the general act. (1 Comp. Dec., 126, 236, 317, 417, 563; 3 id., 83, 439; 4 id., 594, 649; 5 id., 102, 181, 838; 7 id., 400.)
"The fact that the special appropriation may be exhausted does not justify the use of other appropriations. (1 Comp. Dec., 492.)
Where Congress has appropriated a specific sum for a particular object that is a manifestation of its intention to limit the amount to be expended therefor to the sum specified. (5 Comp. Dec., 838.)
"I have therefore decided that the expenditures covered by the two vouchers in question are not proper charges against the appropriations for public buildings-quoted supra."
I concur with the Auditor in his decision that the expenditures referred to, for tinting the walls of the engineering and drafting room in the office of the Supervising Architect, Treasury building, and for fire lines and hose therefor, are not properly payable from appropriations for the construction of public buildings; but I base my decision on a different ground from that stated by the Auditor. The Auditor appears to be of opinion that the provision for "such other incidental expenses and supplies," contained in the appropriation for plans for public buildings, supra, must be construed to mean incidental expenses and supplies pertaining to "specially prepared paper for the duplication of plans," also provided for therein. He says:
"To give any other interpretation to the wording of the above act would be to render the specific provision for 'purchasing specially prepared paper, etc.,' entirely useless and unnecessary, and I can not think that such was the intent of Congress.'
But the provision for "specially prepared paper for the duplication of plans" for public buildings is itself an incidental expense in the construction of public buildings, and the provision in question is for "such other incidental expenses and supplies" as may be necessary for use in the office of the Supervising Architect for carrying into effect the various appropriations to public buildings. I think therefore the provision for "such other incidental expenses and supplies" must be construed to have reference to incidental expenses and supplies which pertain to the construction of public buildings.
I do not think the expenditure for tinting the walls of the engineering and drafting room in the office of the Supervising Architect, Treasury building, or that for fire lines (iron water pipes) and hose for use in the drafting room, can properly be regarded as "exclusively for the purpose of carrying into effect the various appropriations for public buildings," as required by the above act to authorize their payment from those appropriations. These expenditures appear to pertain to the Treasury building to which these rooms are attached, rather than to the work which is done in the rooms. The fire lines and hose are intended for use in extinguishing fires, and it might be said that their chief value is in the protection of