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JUDGMENTS, GASOLINE TAX, ROAD AND STREET IMPROVEMENTS
Mr. WOODRUM. The next item is to cover a judgment for $1,990.64 in favor of Washington Petroleum Products, Inc., a Delaware corporation.
Mr. Donovan. I submit the following justification:
This amount is required for the payment of a final judgment, including costs, that has been rendered against the District of Columbia, together with the further sum necessary to pay interest thereon at not to exceed 4 percent per annum, as provided by law, from the date the same became due until the date of payment. This judgment was rendered by the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia on April 27, 1937, in favor of the Washington Petroleum Products, Inc., a Delaware corporation, for excess gasoline taxes paid to the District of Columbia.
Mr. WOODRUM. Under the head of "Audited claims" you have an item of $46.12.
Mr. DONOVAN. I submit the following justification.
This amount is required for the payment of claims described in the accompanying schedules of estimates and certified to be due by the accounting officers of the District of Columbia, under appropriations, the balances of which have been exhausted or carried to the surplus fund under the provisions of section 5 of the act of June 20, 1874 (U. S. C., title 31, sec. 713, p. 1022), being for the service of the fiscal year 1934 and prior fiscal years.
The amount of this estimate, $46.12, is asked to pay two audited claims pending in the office of the auditor of the District of Columbia, chargeable to the appropriation for "Refund of assessments, D. C., 1933 and 1934.” This appropriation has lapsed and the unexpended balance thereof, $10,176.36, was covered into the Treasury in the surplus warrant of June 30, 1936.
The two claims here covered are: (1) Jos. William Lofton and Martha E. L. Haynes, 1727 S Street NW., refund of assessment on lot 23 in square 196, $18.53; and (2) Sara L. Pole, 1836 Sixteenth Street NW., refund of assessment on lot 108 in square 177, $27.59.
NOTE.—The following testimony held in connection with, and the
appropriations discussed herein carried in, H.J. Res. 433 (Public Res. 50)
MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1937.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
JOINT COMMITTEE ON TAX EVASION AND AVOIDANCE
STATEMENT OF HON. FRED M. VINSON, MEMBER OF COMMITTEE
SALARIES AND EXPENSES
Mr. WOODRUM. We have before us House Document No. 272 an estimate of $50,000 for the Joint Committee on Tax Evasion and Avoidance.
Hon. Fred M. Vinson, a member of the committee, is present. Mr. Vinson, we will be very glad to have you give us such information as you can with reference to the purpose for which this $50,000 will be
Mr. Vinson. Mr. Chairman, I am appearing this afternoon at the request of Hon. Robert L. Doughton, the chairman of Joint Committee on Tax Evasion and Avoidance.
As I understand it, through regular channels a request was made for an appropriation of $50,000 for the payment of salaries and other expenses of the Joint Committee on Î'ax Evasion and Avoidance, authorized by Public Resolution No. 40, approved June 11, 1937.
This request was made in regular course by Mr. Doughton as chairman of the committee, and transmitted through the usual channels to the Director of the Budget, on June 23, 1937. You have before you a supplemental estimate of an appropriation of the sum mentioned, from the Acting Director of the Budget, Mr. Bell, transmitted by the President of the United States.
Mr. WOODRUM. At this point, we will insert in the record a copy of Public Resolution No. 40. (The resolution referred to is as follows:)
(PUBLIC RESOLUTION—No. 40—75TH CONGRESS)
(S. J. Res. 155) JOINT RESOLUTION To create a Joint Congressional Committee on Tax Evasion and Avoidance
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) there is hereby established a joint congressional committee to be known as the Joint Committee on Tax Evasion and Avoidance (hereinafter referred to as the joint committee).
(b) The joint committee shall be composed of six Members of the Senate who are members of the Committee on Finance, appointed by the President of the Senate, and six Members of the House of Representatives who are members of the Committee on Ways and Means, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. A vacancy in the joint committee shall not affect the power of the remaining members to execute the functions of the joint committee, and shall be filled in the same manner as the original selection.
Sec. 2. It shall be the duty of the joint committee to investigate the methods of evasion and avoidance of income, estate, and gift taxes, pointed out in the message of the President transmitted to Congress on June 1, 1937, and other methods of tax evasion and avoidance, and to report to the Senate and the House, at the earliest practicable date, and from time to time thereafter, but not later than February 1, 1938, its recommendations as to remedies for the evils disclosed by such investigation.
Sec. 3. (a) The joint committee, or any subcommittee thereof, shall have power to hold hearings and to sit and act at such place and times, to require by subpena or otherwise the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, to administer such oaths, to take such testimony, to have such printing and binding done, and to make such expenditures, as it deems advisable. Subpenas shall be issued under the signature of the chairman of said joint committee, and shall be served by any person designated by him. Amounts appropriated for the expenses of the joint committee shall be disbursed one-half by the Secretary of the Senate and one-half by the Clerk of the House. The provisions of sections 101 and 102 of the Revised Statutes shall apply in case of any failure of any witness to comply with any subpena, or to testify when summoned, under authority of this joint resolution.
(b) (1) The Secretary of the Treasury and any officer or employee of the Treasrury Department, upon request from the joint committee, shall furnish such committee (at a public hearing or otherwise, as the joint committee, or a subcommittee thereof consisting of two or more members, may determine) with any data of any character contained in or shown by any return of income, estate, or gift tax.
(2) The joint committee shall have the right, acting directly as a committee, or by or through such examiners or agents as it may designate or appoint, to inspect any or all such returns at such times and in such manner as it may determine.
(3) The joint committee shall have the right to submit any relevant or useful information thus obtained to the Senate and the House of Representatives, and shall submit such information to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Finance. The Committee on Ways and Means or the Committee on Finance may submit such information to the House or to the Senate or to both the House and the Senate, as the case may be. The joint committee (but no subcommittee or member of the joint committee) shall have the right to make public any such information, in such cases and to such extent as it may deem advisable, but no such information shall be made public with respect to any particular taspayer unless specifically authorized by the joint committee; but this sentence shall not apply to information made public through the medium of a public hearing as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
SEC. 4. The joint committee shall have power to employ and fix the compensation of such officers, experts, and employees as it deems necessary for the performance of its duties, but the compensation so fixed shall not exceed the compensation fixed under the Classification Act of 1923, as amended, for comparable duties. The joint committee is authorized to utilize the services, information, facilities, and personnel of the Departments and agencies in the executive branch of the Government and of the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation.
SEC. 5. The joint committee may authorize any one or more persons to conduct any part of such investigation on behalf of the committee, and for such purpose any person so authorized may hold such hearings, and require by subpena or otherwise the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, administer such oaths, and take such testimony, as the committee may authorize, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing a public hearing. In any such case subpenas shall be issued under the signature of the chairman of the joint committee and shall be served by any person designated by him.
Sec. 6. All authority conferred by this joint resolution shall expire on February 1, 1938. Approved, June 11, 1937.
Mr. VINSON. The resolution shows that one-half of the expense is to be paid by the Senate and one-half by the House. As I understand it, on the Senate side they have no regular stenographic reporters assigned to committees. Consequently, the stenographic work is being done under a contract made by the committee. As I understand it, in fact, there is a saving in doing it in that way because the expense of printing the hearings daily is avoided. Up to date the committee has had no expense, save for stenographic reporting.
As you gentlemen know, the power of subpena is vested in the chairman of the joint committee, and if that is exercised, of course, the payment of the expenses of witnesses will be necessitated. This would run into considerable amount.
Then, as to the question of the extent of the investigations that will be made in the field, that is an item that would occasion considerable expense. To date, however, no expense of that kind has been incurred. It is the purpose of the joint committee, of course, to spend just as little money as possible, consonant with the ends sought to be attained.
Mr. Ludlow. As far as you can see now, is it expected that this $50,000 will take care of the total cost of this service during the next fiscal year?
Mr. Vinson. It is a question as to the extent to which the joint committee will go. To illustrate, if men are sent out to make further investigations, say, for instance, of the foreign insurance company holding device, I doubt very much whether this amount of money will be sufficient. But if that is not pursued further, of course, that expense will be avoided. As I say, the extent of the investigation as yet has not been fully determined.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. Can you form any estimate as to the probable duration of the investigation?
Mr. VINSON. No, sir. We have been going along now and have had three different subject matters under discussion, and as I said a moment ago, to date the only expense has been for stenographic reporting Mr. TABER. These are joint hearings all the way through?
Mr. VINSON. Yes. As a matter of fact, it was my thought that it might require more money, and I have no doubt if we make the investigations in the field that might be done, it may require more money.
Mr. Ludlow. Have you any idea of the total salaried personnel that will be required?
Mr. VINSON. No; I have ot. As I say, we have not determined about that phase of the work, as to what field investigation work will be had. At the present time the Treasury is giving us certain information, which they have derived through their own personnel. Then we have the personnel of the Ways and Means Committee, the clerk of the Ways and Means Committee, and the clerk of the Finance Committee of the Senate, and we are also using the personnel of the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation.
Mr. TABER. You have had no expense for witnesses yet?
Mr. WOODRUM. And do you know how many investigators or attorneys, or both, will be taken on in the near future, or has there been any decision made in reference to that?
Mr. VINSON. No decision has been made.
Mr. TABER. Does the amount you have asked for contemplate any such employees?
Mr. VINSON. The resolution authorizes it.
Mr. TABER. But in making up this estimate of $50,000, did you take that factor into consideration, specifically?
Mr. VINSON. We took into consideration the fact that if we took on investigators and attorneys we would need this money, If we do not hire outside investigators and attorneys, and incur expenses on account of the subpena pawn, of course, we will not need this amount of money.
Mr. TABER. You have not proceeded to the point yet where you know whether you are going to do that or not?
Mr. VINSON. That is right; no decision has been reached in respect of the extent of the investigation.
Mr. TABER. To what extent is this an emergency item, and to what extent is it something that could not very readily go into the final deficiency bill? Mr. VINSON. We have not any money at all.
Mr. TABER. And you have to pay for your stenographic reporting operations?
Mr. Vinson. Yes; and if we hire investigators, or attorneys, we have no money with which to pay them. In other words, I do not think the committee would attempt to employ outside personnel unless they had the money with which to pay them.
Mr. Ludlow. To what extent would Mr. Parker's Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation be serviceable to you in this work which you are undertaking?
Mr. Vinson. They are always quite helpful.
Mr. Ludlow. You have not mapped any program of cooperation with them?
Mr. Vinson. Yes, they are working with us; they are working on these problems all the time. But so far as any outside investigation is concerned, they would not be in a position to make it.
Mr. WOODRUM. Will the committee hold hearings right along during the vacation period, if and when there is one?
Mr. VINSON. My opinion is that it will.
Mr. WOODRUM. "So it will be necessary to have a fund, even if Congress is not in session?
Mr. Vinson. Yes; and that is one of the reasons the amount $50,000 was requested.
(Note.-The following testimony held in connection with, and the
appropriation discussed herein carried in, H. J. Res. 433 (Public Res. 50)).
MONDAY, JUNE 28, 1937.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
RENT OF BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
STATEMENTS OF H. A. NELSON, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, OFFICE
OF BUDGET AND FINANCE; AND JOSEPH HALEY, CHIEF, DIVI. SION OF OPERATION, AND REAL ESTATE OFFICER
Mr. WOODRUM. We have before us in House Document No. 270, an item for $30,000 for an additional amount for rent of buildings and parts of buildings in the District of Columbia for the use of various bureaus, divisions, and offices of the Department of Agriculture.
Will you give us a statement showing the necessity for that?
Mr. NELSON. For a period of 9 years the Department of Agriculture has been able progressively to reduce its expenditures for rent in the District of Columbia. The peak was reached in 1928 when we spent about $211,000, while for this fiscal year we are spending only $63,000.
It was expected that we would be able to curtail the amount for the fiscal year 1938 by $30,000, in line with the previous policy, by the elimination of the rental of the Atlantic Building on F Street.
However, since that estimate was submitted to the Bureau of the Budget and to Congress a very radical change has taken place in the Department.
The Secretary has found it absolutely impossible to administer the activities of the Soil Conservation Service and the Resettlement Administration with the supervisors of those organizations located at considerable distances from the main department group and to correlate the activities of those two groups with the other organizations of the Department.
Therefore, despite the fact that we had plans prepared for the movement of the people in the Forest Service, located in the Atlantic Building, to the South Building, or the Extensible Building of the Department of Agriculture, the Secretary told us to scrap that plan