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sion, Congress only being competent to grant head of Department. Opinion of Jan. 6, 1857, relief in such cases. Opinion of Feb. 11, 1845, 8 Op. 293. 4 Op. 355.

38. When by special law, or in reference to 30. The accounting officers of the Treasury any special matter, the authority of the acare not authorized to allow a claim for un- counting officers of the Treasury is extended liquidated damages alleged to have been sus- beyond the question of accounts to one of tained by a contractor for emigrating Indians unliquidated damages, such officers are not in consequence of the interference of and per- thereby converted into independent courts of formance by the officers of the Government law, but still remain executive or administraof a part of the services. Opinion of Sept. 30, tive officers of a Department. Ibid. 1847, 4 Op. 627.

39. An accounting officer has undoubted 31. If the contractors in this case have any power to disallow a fee charged by a person equitable claim upon the Government for dam- who is not an officer and who had no right to ages, they can be awarded only pursuant to a perform the services for which he seeks to be future act of Congress. Ibid.

| paid. Opinion of Feb. 11, 1859, 9 Op. 268. 32. Where the Secretary of War has decided 40. A settlement was made by the accountthat certain officers have a command according officers of the Treasury with F., as assignee ing to their brevet rank, it is the duty of the of certain parties, for the use and occupation accounting officers of the Treasury to respect his of some buildings by the military authorities, decision. Opinion of June 26, 1851, 5 Op. 386. whereupon he was paid the amount allowed.

33. The existence of a command according Subsequently another settlement was made to brevet rank is to be presumed from the decis- with him, as assignee of certain other parties, ion or order of the Secretary of War respecting for the use and occupation of other buildings them, and to be regarded by the Auditor and by the same authorities, wherein, it having in Comptroller as established by and according to the mean time been ascertained that the his decision and orders. Ibid.

| allowance on the first settlement was improper, 34. Acts done within the peculiar and legiti- and made in ignorance of a fact which, had the mate sphere of the Secretary's official duty are accounting officers been cognizant thereof at to be taken and understood as rightly done, the time, would have precluded such allowand to preclude all collateral inquiry by ac- ance, the amount paid as aforesaid was decounting officers. Ibid.

ducted, and only the balance remaining after 35. In case a contract for services be re- the deduction allowed: Held that, notwithscinded by the United States, without mal- standing the claims originally belonged to and feasance of the other party, and after the serv- were derived by assignment from different perices have been partly performed by him, if he sons, it was competent to the accounting officlaim unliquidated damages as for breach of cers, under the circumstances, to make a decontract the case is beyond the powers of the duction in the last settlement of what had accounting officers of the Treasury; but if he been improperly allowed and paid on the first. waive all other claims and elect to take pay- | Opinion of July 10, 1874, 14 Op. 412. ment as for part performance in discharge of 41. The authority of the Third Auditor and the contract, it is a mere question of account Second Comptroller to settle claims or accounts to be passed by the proper Auditor and Comp- of any kind against the United States is detroller. Opinion of June 1, 1854, 6 Op. 496. rivable solely from legislative enactment. The

36. The Comptrollers and Auditors of the statutory provisions conferring upon them auTreasury have no general authority to award thority in that regard reviewed; and held that damages as for tort, on contract broken; their the authority so conferred does not extend to jurisdiction is confined to matters of account the settlement of any claims or accounts for arising ex contractu or by operation of law. compensation for damages (whether the damOpinion of June 7, 1854, 6 Op. 516.

ages were sustained by the loss of property or 37. It is the general duty of the accounting otherwise) other than such as are of the classes officers of the Treasury, by standing laws, to specifically described in those provisions. deal with accounts only; in doing which they Opinion of Sept. 9, 1875, 15 Op. 39. are subject to the supervision of some proper / 42. It is not the duty of the accounting officers of the Treasury to require of claimants 49. Section 191 of the Revised Statutes is under the act of March 3, 1849, chap. 129 (sec- limited to cases where balances are found upon tion 3483 Rev. Stat.), proof of loyalty. Opin- | the settlement of accounts or claims, and certifion of Sept. 6, 1877, 15 Op. 652.

icates thereof are transmitted to the head of the

proper Department for his warrant or requisiIII. Eifect of Settlement by.

tion; it does not extend to any case where po

balance is certified, or where the whole account 43. The settlement of an account by the or claim is disallowed. Opinion of Feb. 7, 1877, proper accounting officers is final and conclu- | 15 Op. 192. sive, so far as concerns the executive depart 50. The prohibition in that section against ment of the Government. If the individual changing or modifying balances certified by the whose account has been settled conceives him- Commissioner of Customs and the Comptrollers self injured by such settlement, his recourse of the Treasury does not apply to these officers. must be to the judiciary or to Congress. Opin- | Ibid. ion of Oct. 20, 1823, 1 Op. 624.

51. The provision making their findings 44. Where the Third Auditor shall have ex-“conclusive upon the executive branch of the amined and certified, and transmitted, with Government” signifies only that such findings vouchers, an account to the Second Comptroller, are not to be revisable by any other officer or and the latter officer shall have certified the officers of that branch of the Government. Ibid. amount due to the Secretary of War, the mat | 52. Whether the Comptrollers and Comter is final so far as the accounting officers of missioner are authorized to reopen settlements the Government are concerned, and can only made by themselves or their predecessors in be set aside by the Secretary, acting under the office depends upon considerations founded on direction of the President. Opinion of Dec. the law as it stands independently of the said 4, 1829, 2 Op. 303.

section; its provisions have no bearing on this 45. A decision by the Second Comptroller subject. Ibid. upon a claim properly before him cannot be questioned by any other of the accounting off

IV. Appeal from. cers. A demand after passing him ceases to be a matter of account, and becomes a liqui-| 53. The laws regulating the settlement of dated and adjusted demand. Ibid.

the public accounts, under which the Treasury 46. Where the account of General Taylor Department is organized, require the Auditors had been settled by the accounting officers and to receive and examine accounts, and to certify a balance found against him, for which a suit them to the Comptrollers, who also examine had been commenced, and a memorial was and pass upon them and certify the balances subsequently presented by him to the Presi- thereon to the Register, and give no power of dent, requesting the discontinuance of the suit appeal to the President, except in particularinon account of alleged errors in the settlement: stances, like that of the accounts of Daniel D. Held that the decision of the Comptroller was Tompkins, where the power of revision and conclusive upon the executive branch of the final decision by the President was expressly Government, and that the President does not conferred by the act. Opinion of Oct. 20, 1823, possess the power to enter into the correctness | 1 Op. 624. of the account for the purpose of taking any 54. An appeal does not lie to the President measures to correct the errors which the ac- from the determination of accounting officers counting officers may have committed. Opin- acting in the sphere of their duties; nor can the ion of April 5, 1832, 2 Op. 508.

President interfere with their decisions. Opin47. Where the question is merely one of com- ion of Dec. 18, 1832, 2 Op. 544. putation or amount, the decision of the account 55. The provision of the fourth section of the ing officers is to be regarded as final. Opinion act of August 16, 1856, chap. 124, declaring that, of March 25, 1869, 13 Op. 6.

as to the accounts of marshals, district attor48. Provisions of the acts of March 3, 1817, neys, &c., “an appeal shall lie from the decischap. 45, and March 30, 1868, chap. 36, relating | ion of the accounting officers to the Secretary to this subject considered. Ibid.

of the Interior," was impliedly repealed by the sion, Congress only being competent to grant head of Department. Opinion of Jan. 6, 1857, relief in such cases. Opinion of Feb. 11, 1845, 8 Op. 293. 4 Op. 355.

38. When by special law, or in reference to 30. The accounting officers of the Treasury any special matter, the authority of the acare not authorized to allow a claim for un- counting officers of the Treasury is extended liquidated damages alleged to have been sus- beyond the question of accounts to one of tained by a contractor for emigrating Indians unliquidated damages, such officers are not in consequence of the interference of and per- thereby converted into independent courts of formance by the officers of the Government law, but still remain executive or administraof a part of the services. Opinion of Sept. 30, tive officers of a Department. Ibid. 1847, 4 Op. 627.

39. An accounting officer has undoubted 31. If the contractors in this case have any power to disallow a fee charged by a person equitable claim upon the Government for dam- who is not an officer and who had no right to ages, they cau be awarded only pursuant to a perform the services for which he seeks to be future act of Congress. Ibid.

paid. Opinion of Feb. 11, 1859, 9 Op. 268. 32. Where the Secretary of War has decided 40. A settlement was made by the accountthat certain officers have a command accord- ing officers of the Treasury with F., as assignee ing to their brevet rank, it is the duty of the of certain parties, for the use and occupation accounting officers of the Treasury to respect his of some buildings by the military authorities, decision. Opinion of June 26, 1851, 5 Op. 386. whereupon he was paid the amount allowed.

33. The existence of a command according Subsequently another settlement was made to brevet rank is to be presumed from the decis- with him, as assignee of certain other parties, ion or order of the Secretary of War respecting for the use and occupation of other buildings them, and to be regarded by the Auditor and by the same authorities, wherein, it having in Comptroller as established by and according to the mean time been ascertained that the his decision and orders. Ibid.

allowance on the first settlement was improper, 34. Acts done within the peculiar and legiti- and made in ignorance of a fact which, had the mate sphere of the Secretary's official duty are accounting officers been cognizant thereof at to be taken and understood as rightly done, the time, would have precluded such allowand to preclude all collateral inquiry by ac- ance, the amount paid as aforesaid was decounting officers. Ibid.

ducted, and only the balance remaining after 35. In case a contract for services be re- the deduction allowed: Held that, notwithscinded by the United States, without mal standing the claims originally belonged to and feasance of the other party, and after the sery- were derived by assignment from different perices have been partly performed by him, if he sons, it was competent to the accounting officlaim unliquidated damages as for breach of cers, under the circumstances, to make a decontract the case is beyond the powers of the duction in the last settlement of what had accounting officers of the Treasury; but if he been improperly allowed and paid on the first. waive all other claims and elect to take pay- | Opinion of July 10, 1874, 14 Op. 412. ment as for part performance in discharge of 41. The authority of the Third Auditor and the contract, it is a mere question of account Second Comptroller to settle claims or accounts to be passed by the proper Auditor and Comp- of any kind against the United States is detroller. Opinion of June 1, 1854, 6 Op. 496. rivable solely from legislative enactment. The

36. The Comptrollers and Auditors of the statutory provisions conferring upon them auTreasury have no general authority to award thority in that regard reviewed; and held that damages as for tort, on contract broken; their the authority so conferred does not extend to jurisdiction is confined to matters of account the settlement of any claims or accounts for arising ex contractu or by operation of law. compensation for damages (whether the damOpinion of June 7, 1854, 6 Op. 516.

ages were sustained by the loss of property or 37. It is the general duty of the accounting otherwise) other than such as are of the classes officers of the Treasury, by standing laws, to specifically described in those provisions. deal with accounts only; in doing which they Opinion of Sept. 9, 1875, 15 Op. 39. are subject to the supervision of some proper 42. It is not the duty of the accounting off

cers of the Treasury to require of claimants 49. Section 191 of the Revised Statutes is under the act of March 3, 1849, chap. 129 (sec- limited to cases where balances are found upon tion 3483 Rev. Stat.), proof of loyalty. Opin- the settlement of accounts or claims, and certifion of Sept. 6, 1877, 15 Op. 652.

icates thereof are transmitted to the head of the

proper Department for his warrant or requisiIII. Effect of Settlement by.

tion; it does not extend to any case where no

balance is certified, or where the whole account 43. The settlement of an account by the or claim is disallowed. Opinion of Feb. 7, 1877, proper accounting officers is final and conclu- | 15 Op. 192. sive, so far as concerns the executive depart- 50. The prohibition in that section against ment of the Government. If the individual changing or modifying balances certified by the whose account has been settled conceives him- Commissioner of Customs and the Comptrollers self injured by such settlement, his recourse of the Treasury does not apply to these officers. must be to the judiciary or to Congress. Opin- Ibid. ion of Oct. 20, 1823, 1 Op. 624.

51. The provision making their findings 44. Where the Third Auditor shall have ex-“conclusive upon the executive branch of the amined and certified, and transmitted, with Government” signifies only that such findings vouchers, an account to the Second Comptroller, are not to be revisable by any other officer or and the latter officer shall have certified the officers of that branch of the Government. Ibid. amount due to the Secretary of War, the mat- 52. Whether the Comptrollers and Comter is final so far as the accounting officers of | missioner are authorized to reopen settlements the Government are concerned, and can only made by themselves or their predecessors in be set aside by the Secretary, acting under the office depends upon considerations founded on direction of the President. Opinion of Dec. the law as it stands independently of the said 4, 1829, 2 Op. 303.

section; its provisions have no bearing on this 45. A decision by the Second Comptroller subject. Ibid. upon a claim properly before him cannot be questioned by any other of the accounting offi

IV. Appeal from. cers. A demand after passing him ceases to be a matter of account, and becomes a liqui- 53. The laws regulating the settlement of dated and adjusted demand. Ibid.

the public accounts, under which the Treasury 46. Where the account of General Taylor Department is organized, require the Auditors had been settled by the accounting officers and to receive and examine accounts, and to certify a balance found against him, for which a suit thein to the Comptrollers, who also examine had been commenced, and a memorial was and pass upon them and certify the balances subsequently presented by him to the Presi- | thereon to the Register, and give no power of dent, requesting the discontinuance of the suit appeal to the President, except in particular inon account of alleged errors in the settlement: stances, like that of the accounts of Daniel D. Held that the decision of the Comptroller was Tompkins, where the power of revision and conclusive upon the executive branch of the final decision by the President was expressly Government, and that the President does not conferred by the act. Opinion of Oct. 20, 1823, possess the power to enter into the correctness 1 Op. 624. of the account for the purpose of taking any 54. An appeal does not lie to the President

counting officers may have committed. Opin- acting in the sphere of their duties; nor can the ion of April 5, 1832, 2 Op. 508.

President interfere with their decisions. Opin47. Where the question is merely one of com- ion of Dec. 18, 1832, 2 Op. 544. putation or amount, the decision of the account- / 55. The provision of the fourth section of the ing officers is to be regarded as final. Opinion act of August 16, 1856, chap. 124, declaring that, of March 25, 1869, 13 Op. 6.

as to the accounts of marshals, district attor48. Provisions of the acts of March 3, 1817, neys, &c., “an appeal shall lie from the decischap. 45, and March 30, 1868, chap. 36, relating ion of the accounting officers to the Secretary to this subject considered. Ibid.

of the Interior," was impliedly repealed by the act of March 30, 1868, chap. 36. Opinion of the arbitrary action of the executive branches Aug. 91, 1872, 14'Op. 104.

of the Government, and produces certainty and 56. Prior to the act of 1856 there was no law equality, at least, in their administrations. authorizing an appeal in such cases to the Sec- Ibid. retary of the Interior, and none was enacted sub- 5. Where application was made to the Secresequent to the act of 1868 down to the act of tary of the Interior for a review of the action June 22, 1870, chap. 150, by which only such of his predecessor in office and of the Execupowers as were then exercised by the Secretary tive in a case passed upon by them during tl of the Interior over the accounts aforesaid were preceding administration, the application restthereafter to be exercised by the Attorney- ing solely upon the ground of alleged error in General. Ibid.

the construction of a statute : Advised that the 57. No statute has been passed since the last former action in the case cannot with propriety mentioned act giving an appeal from the ac- be reviewed. Opinion of March 20, 1877, 15 counting officers to the Attorney-General in the Op. 208. cases referred to; and hence, under the exist- 6. It is a settled rule of administrative pracing law, such an appeal does not lie. Ibid. tice that the official acts of a previous admin

istration are to be considered by its successor as final, so far as the Executive is concerned. Ibid.

ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE.

See also ACCOUNTS, IV; CLAIMS, XXII; RES

ADMINISTRATOR.
JUDICATA.

See EXECUTORS AND ADMINISTRATORS. 1. It is a rule which each administration has prescribed to itself to consider the acts of its predecessors conclusive, so far as the Executive is concerned. If a decision in a case, made

ADVERTISEMENT. eight years ago, under a former Executive, is

See also CONTRACT, III; PRINTING. open for review and revisal, the same principle will open decisions made during the Presi- |

1. The twelfth section of the act of 3d dency of Washington, and keep the acts of the March, 1845, chap. 77, concerning the adExecutive perpetually unsettled and afloat. vertising which the heads of Departments and Opinion of Oct. 1, 1825, 2 Op. 8.

| Bureaus are required to do, does not entitle 2. Where a question has been deliberately the National Era, weekly newspaper, to any settled, and the practice of the Department, part of the printing. Opinion of July 25, 1849, under the eye of the Government, during suc- | 5 Op. 145. cessive sessions of Congress, has conformed to 2. The clause permitting a third paper to the decision then made, it does not seem proper be selected requires that the publications to disturb such a decision unless a very strong | therein shall be made equal to the others as to and pressing case should be made for consider- frequency. Ibid. ation. Opinion of July 2, 1829, 2 Op. 220. 3. Under section 12 of the act of March 3,

3. It having been the usage of the War De- | 1845, chap. 77, the Postmaster-General is not partment to require of States which were en- authorized to order advertisements from his titled to reimbursements, such as are provided Department to be published in more than three for in the act of 2d June, 1848, chap. 60, to newspapers in the city of Washington. Opinfurnish proof of actual expenditure of money, ion of April 9, 1851, 5 Op. 315. and of the purpose to which it was applied, it 4. The opinion previously given upon the is to be presumed that Congress in that act ex- construction of the act of 3d March, 1845, pected such usage to be followed. Opinion of chap. 77, relative to publications in newsJuly 8, 1852, 5 Op. 563.

| papers by the Executive Departments, is con4. Adherence to established rules prevents firmed. Opinion of July 13, 1852, 5 Op. 566.

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