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The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Frank B. Willis presiding.

Present: Senators Willis (chairman), Johnson, Lenroot, Bingham, Bayard, and Bratton.

The CHAIRMAN. There are several matters to come before the committee this morning, and one of those which will receive preliminary attention is the bill amending the law relating to the powers and duties of the auditor for Porto Rico and the auditor for the Philippine Islands. This bill was introduced by myself and will be placed in the minutes at this point in order that the record. may be complete.

(The bill (S. 3847) is as follows:)

[S. 3847, Sixty-ninth Congress, first session]

A BILL To amend and clarify existing laws relating to the powers and duties of the auditor for Porto Rico and the auditor for the Philippine Islands

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That sections 20 and 21 of the act entitled "An act to provide a civil government for Porto Rico, and for other purposes," approved March 2, 1917, as amended, are amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 20. There shall be appointed by the President an auditor, at an annual salary of $8,000 for a term of four years and until his successor is appointed and qualified, who shall examine, audit, adjust, decide, and settle all accounts and claims for or against the government of Porto Rico, pertaining to, or growing out of, the revenues and receipts from whatever source of such government and for or against its municipal governments or dependencies, including public trust funds and funds derived from bond issues; and shall examine, audit, adjust, decide, and settle, in accordance with law and administrative regulations, all accounts and claims for or against the government of Porto Rico growing out of the expenditure of funds or property pertaining to or held in trust by the government or municipalities thereof; and shall perform like duties in respect of all accounts and claims for or against all government branches.

"All such adjustments, decisions, and settlements of the auditor shall be final and conclusive, except as specifically provided in this act. The auditor shall, except as provided in this act, have like authority as is now or may hereafter be conferred by law upon the Comptroller General of the United States, and is authorized to communicate directly with any person having claims before him for settlement, or with any department, officer, or person having official relations with his office. He shall keep the general accounts of

the government and preserve the vouchers and other papers pertaining thereto.

"It shall be the duty of the auditor to bring to the attention of the proper administrative officers expenditures of funds or property which, in his opinion, are irregular, unnecessary, excessive, or extravagant.

"The administrative jurisdiction of the auditor over accounts, whether of funds or property, and over all vouchers and records pertaining thereto, shall be exclusive. With the approval of the governor he shall from time to time make and promulgate general or special rules and regulations not inconsistent with law prescribing the method of accounting for public funds and property, and funds and property held in trust by the government or any of its branches. Any officer accountable for public funds or property may require such reports or returns from his subordinates or others as he may deem necessary for his own information and protection.

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"As soon after the close of each fiscal year as the accounts of said year may be examined and adjusted the auditor shall submit to the governor and the Secretary of War an annual report of the fiscal concerns of the government showing the receipts and disbursements of the various departments and bureaus of the government and of the various municipalities, and make such other reports as may be required of him by the governor or the Secretary of War.

"The office of the auditor shall be under the general supervision of the governor and shall consist of the auditor, and one assistant auditor at an annual salary of $5,000, appointed in the same manner as the auditor, and such necessary employees as shall be prescribed by law. The assistant auditor shall sign such official papers and perform such other duties as the auditor may prescribe, and in event of the death, resignation, disability from whatever cause, or absence of the auditor from the jurisdiction, the assistant auditor shall act as auditor, and shall have charge of such office.

"In the execution of their duties the auditor and the assistant auditor are authorized to summon witnesses, administer oaths, and to take evidence, and, in pursuance of these provisions, may issue subpoenas and enforce the attendance of witnesses, as now provided by law.

SEC. 21. That any person aggrieved in respect of his account or claim by any action or decision of the auditor may, within ninety days, take an appeal in writing to the governor, which appeal shall specifically set forth the particular action or decision of the auditor to which exception is taken, with the reasons and authorities relied upon for reversing such action or decision. "If the governor shall confirm the action or decision of the auditor, he shall so indorse the appeal and transmit it to the auditor, and such action or decision shall thereupon be final and conclusive. Should the governor fail to sustain the action or decision of the auditor, he shall forthwith transmit the appeal to the Comptroller General of the United States, together with his grounds of disapproval and the papers necessary to a proper understanding of the matter. The decision of the Comptroller General of the United States in such case shall be final and conclusive."

SEC. 2. Sections 24 and 25 of the act entitled “An act to declare the purpose of the people of the United States as to the future political status of the people of the Philippine Islands, and to provide a more autonomous government for those islands, approved August 29, 1916, as amended, are amended to read as follows:

'SEC. 24. There shall be appointed by the President an auditor. who shall examine, audit, adjust, decide, and settle all accounts and claims for or against. the Philippine Government pertaining to or growing out of the revenues and receipts, from whatever source, of the Philippine Government and for or against the provincial and municipal governments of the Philippines, including public trust funds and funds derived from bond issues; and shall examine, audit, adjust, decide, and settle, in accordance with law and administrative regulations, all accounts and claims for or against the Philippine Government growing out of the expenditure of funds or property pertaining to or held in trust by the government or the Provinces or municipalities thereof; and shall perform like duties to those hereinabove described in respect of all accounts and claims for or against all government branches, and shall examine and audid the accounts of all corporations in which said government shall own a controlling interest.

"All such adjustments, decisions, and settlements of the auditor shall be final and conclusive except as specifically provided in this act. The auditor

shall, except as provided in this act, have like authority as is now or may hereafter be conferred by law upon the Comptroller General of the United States, and he is authorized to communicate directly with any person having claims before him for settlement, or with any department, officer, or person having official relations with his office. He shall keep the general accounts of the government and preserve the vouchers and other papers pertaining thereto. "It shall be the duty of the auditor to bring to the attention of the proper administrative officers expenditures of funds or property which in his opinion are irregular, unnecessary, excessive, or extravagant.

"The administrative jurisdiction of the auditor over accounts, whether of funds or property, and over all vouchers and records pertaining thereto, shall be exclusive. With the approval of the Governor General, he shall from time to time make and promulgate general or special rules and regulations not inconsistent with law prescribing the method of accounting for public funds and property and funds and property held in trust by the government or any of its branches, and he shall have like jurisdiction and authority in respect of the method of accounting of all corporations in which the government owns a controlling interest.

"Any officer accountable for public funds or property may require such reports or returns from his subordinates or others as he may deem necessary for his own information and protection.

"As soon after the close of each fiscal year as the accounts of said year may be examined and adjusted the auditor shall submit to the Governor General and the Secretary of War an annual report of the fiscal concerns of the government, showing the receipts and disbursements of the various departments and bureaus of the government and of the various Provinces and municipalities, and shall also make a similar report of his examination and audit of the fiscal concerns of all corporations in which the government owns a controlling interest; and shall make such other reports as may be required of him by the Governor General or the Secretary of War.

"The office of the auditor shall be under the general supervision of the Governor General and shall consist of the auditor, three assistant auditors appointed in the same manner as the auditor, and such necessary employees as shall be prescribed by law. One of the three assistant auditors shall be an experienced attorney at law, and one shall be experienced in the supervision, examination, and liquidation of banking institutions. The assistant auditors shall sign such official papers and perform such other duties as the auditor may prescribe, and in event of the death, resignation, disability from whatever cause, or absence of the auditor from the jurisdiction, the Governor General shall designate one of the assistant auditors to act as auditor and to have charge of such office.

"In the execution of their duties the auditor and the assistant auditors are authorized to summon witnesses, administer oaths, and take evidence, and, in pursuance of these provisions, may issue subpoenas and enforce the attendance of witnesses, as now provided by law.

"SEC. 25. That any person aggrieved in respect of his account or claim by any action or decision of the auditor may, within 90 days, take an appeal in writing to the Governor General, which appeal shall specifically set forth the particular action or decision of the auditor to which exception is taken, with the reasons and authorities relied upon for the reversing such action or decision.

"If the Governor General shall confirm the action or decision of the auditor, he shall so indorse the appeal and transmit it to the auditor; and such action or decision shall thereupon be final and conclusive. Should the Governor General fail to sustain the action or decision of the auditor, he shall forthwith transmit the appeal to the Comptroller General of the United States, together with his grounds of disapproval and the papers necessary to a proper understanding of the matter. The decision of the Comptroller General of the United States in such case shall be final and conclusive."

SEC. 3. Section 29 of such act, approved August 29, 1916, as amended, is amended by striking out "auditor, $6,000; deputy auditor, $3,000," and inserting in lieu thereof "auditor, $10,000; assistant auditors, $6,000 each."

It is not proposed to take final action on the bill this morning, as Senator King has advised me he desires to be heard and can

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