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Of the Attorneys-General of the United States who were appointed and served within the
period embraced by this Digest, viz, from the year 1789 to the year 1881, arranged in chronological order according to their terms of service respectively.
1789–1794, Hon. Edmund Randolph, of Virginia.
DIGEST OF OPINIONS
ATTORNEYS-GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.
4. The act of August 2, 1861, chap. 37, does
not transfer the settlement of the accounts of See also ACCOUNTING OFFICERS; CLAIMS.
district attorneys and marshals to the Attor
ney-General's Office. Opinion of Aug. 10, I. Generally.
1861, 10 Op. 95. II. Rendition.
5. Duties of the accounting officers of the III. Adjustment.
Treasury as to the auditing of the accounts of IV. Reopening.
the State of Indiana, under the provisions of V. Property Accounts (Army).
the act of March 29, 1867, chap. 14, to reim
burse that State for moneys expended in enI. Generally.
rolling and equipping troops to aid in suppress
ing the rebellion, defined. Opinion of Feb. 1. The accounts of Army contractors should | 19, 1870, 13 Op. 218. be settled by the accounting officers. If they have any doubts on questions of law, arising
II. Rendition. in the course of the settlement, they will state them to the head of the Department, who, if | 6. The clerk of the circuit court of the Dishe please, may call for the opinion of the At-trict of Columbia, who is also clerk of the torney-General. Opinion of July 27, 1824, 1 criminal court of the District, is bound to acOp. 678.
count to the Treasury for the fees which he 2. The interference of the President in any receives in the latter capacity. Opinion of form with the settlement would be illegal. He March 2, 1854, 6 Op. 388. has no official connection with the settlement of 7. The clerks of the district courts of the such accounts; and so far from being called United States in California are bound to renupon to interpose any directions to the account- der to the Treasury an emolument account ing officers, it would be an unauthorized as- equally with clerks of other districts. Opinion sumption of authority for him to interfere at of May 1, 1854, 6 Op. 433. all. Ibid.
8. The provision in section 3622, Rev. Stat., 3. The late commissioners to hold treaties giving the Secretary of the Treasury power, with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians are when, in his opinion, the circumstances of the not bound to account to the Government for case justify and require it, to extend the time the depreciation of the money deposited by prescribed for the rendition of accounts, does them in bank to the credit of the Treasurer of not authorize him to institute a new system of the United States. Opinion of June 8, 1830, 2 rendering accounts-e.g., by permitting disOp. 346.
bursing officers to render their accounts bimonthly, quarterly, or at longer intervals, in-counting officers may continue the former stead of monthly, as now required. Opinion accounts by charging to the debit of Carter all of Dec. 2, 1878, 16 Op. 222.
such sums as they may find to have been erro9. That provision is intended only to enable neously credited to him in either of the former the Secretary of the Treasury to deal with par | accounts, and all items of this nature will pass ticular cases wherein accidental circumstances to his debit in the general account between him make it proper to give more time for the ren- and the Government. Opinion of May 3, 1834, dition of the accounts, by way of exception to 2 Op., 650. the general rule. Ibid.
15. The several sums which may be allowed
under the act for his relief should be credited III. Adjustment.
in the above-mentioned general account, and
the balance, either for or against him, should 10. The first section of the act of March 2, be certified in the usual manner. Ibid. 1833, chap. 123, for the relief of Colonel Car- 16. The accounts of marshals, certified by ter, assumes that the item of $1,860 has been the court, or one of the judges thereof, as propaid, and provides for the immediate payment vided in the fourth section of the act of May 8, of a gross sum in addition to the amount be- | 1792, chap. 36, are conclusive upon the acfore received, without authorizing the account- counting officers of the Treasury, except in cases ing officers to open the former account or to re where charges shall be allowed by the court adjust it. It is, therefore, a provision by itself, or judge for a service or purpose not mentioned and should be so considered in reference to other in the acts of Congress, and where a greater matters provided for in said act. Opinion of sum shall be allowed than that fixed by law. April 23, 1834, 2 Op. 640.
Opinion of March 20, 1838, 3 Op. 316. 11. The second section provides for the settle- 17. As to whether a charge of $2 for serving ment of various other accounts-i.e., those ac- a writ of subpæna is proper, it is not percounts only which, on the 2d March, 1833, ceived that there is any legal warrant for exwere unadjusted and unsettled between him cepting it from the enacting words of the statand the Government. In settling these ac- ute giving that compensation for the service counts the accounting officers may proceed and / of any process, &c. Ibid. settle any one or more of the separate accounts 18. The account of the marsbal of the Disreferred to in the papers, for the claimant is trict of Columbia for extra allowances to Goventitled to such a settlement. Ibid.
ernment witnesses on the trial for the burning 12. How far it may be proper to make par- 1 of the Treasury buildings, made by the circuit tial settlements of either of the separate ac- court, and certified, cannot be legally paid, counts is a question of convenience and discre- notwithstanding the certificate, for the reason tion; but it occurs to the Attorney-General that no act of Congress authorizes payment of that what may be required by justice and charges for such a purpose. [The distinction equity in respect to the accounts under each between this and the preceding case is, that contract cannot very well be ascertained with- here the service is not, whilst there it was, auout a view of all the claims which it is intended thorized by law. The two opinions read toto present under it. Ibid.
gether clearly define the views of the Attorney13. But in adjusting the unsettled claims General upon the subject of the efficacy and and accounts presented under the act in ques- legal bearing of the certificate of the court upon tion, the accounting officers have no authority the accounts of marshals.] Opinion of March to reopen the former settlements, nor to require 20, 1838, 3 Op. 318. the production of evidence to establish their 19. The accounting officers may allow an accorrectness, nor to set off errors prejudicial to count, if it be a just one, of C. J. I., district the Government which may be detected therein attorney of the eastern district of Pennsylvaagainst the allowances to which Colonel Carter | nia, notwithstanding his having been sued by may now show himself to be entitled in the the United States for various bonds placed in unsettled accounts. Ibid.
his hands for collection, for moneys received 14. On a reconsideration of the opinion given thereon, and for other moneys (his account in Carter's case (2 Op. 640), held that the ac- not having been set off in the suit), and a judg.
ment recovered by the United States against discharge of the first bond, and the deficit him for $3,975.78, the same as if it were pre- found charged to the account of said receiver sented prior to the institution of that suit, as and his sureties in the second bond. Opinion the said account was a matter separate and dis- of July 2, 1851, 5 Op. 396. tinct from the subject-matter of the suit, and 25. Astatute of private relief enacted that a a set-off not having been required to be made. certain account in the Post-Office Department, Opinion of Aug. 6, 1838, 3 Op. 345.
which had been rejected by the Sixth Auditor 20. Where the acceptance of a Postmaster- and on which appeal had been taken to the General had been given in payment ofan account First Comptroller, should be finally adjusted for work done, and the amount thereof had by the Second Comptroller and the Commisbeen recharged by a subsequent Postmaster- sioner of Customs, and, in case of their disaGeneral, held that the amount of the accept- | greement, by the Attorney-General. Held ance ought not to be deducted from an account that the effect of this provision is to substitute current for other work. Opinion of March 2, another person or persons, pro hac vice, to per1841, 3 Op. 624.
form one of the statute duties of the First 21. The sixth section of the act of September | Comptroller. Opinion of June 25, 1856, 7 Op. 22, 1789, chap. 17, and also the third section of | 724. the act of January 22, 1818, chap. 5, provide 26. This may be lawfully done, in so far as that the compensation which shall be due to respects the Second Comptroller and the Comthe members and officers of the Senate shall be missioner of Customs, who will thus in effect certified by the President thereof, and the control an auditing of the Sixth Auditor, and same shall be passed as public accounts and certify the same to the Postmaster-General. paid out of the Treasury; and the certificate But the Attorney-General cannot lawfully be of such President, which is the presumed act required to act as the substitute of the First of the Senate pro hac vice, is conclusive upon Comptroller; and, so far as regards him, the the matter as between that body and the ac- only effect is to require him to advise the Seccounting officers. Opinion of Oct. 18, 1841, 3 ond Comptroller and the Commissioner of CusOp. 662
toms on matters of law arising in the case. 22. The certificate of the presiding officer of Ibid. the Senate is conclusive evidence in support of 27. All accounts of the post-offices, in comcharges for certain payments of mileage made mon with other public accounts, are to be adby the Secretary to Senators for attending a justed quarterly, with such vouchers as the special session. Opinion of Nov. 27, 1849, 5 Postmaster-General may prescribe. Opinion Op. 191.
of Oct. 26, 1856, 8 Op. 125. 23. Under the first section of the act of Jan 28. Under section 3 of the act of May 4, uary 22, 1818, chap. 5, the Secretary of the 1858, chap. 25, for the relief of the Clerk of the Senate is entitled to credit for such payments, House of Representatives, that officer is entiwhether the certificate of the presiding officer | tled to credit only for those extra allowances be conclusive or not. Ibid.
that were both authorized by the House and 24. Where a receiver of public moneys, re- approved by the Committee of Accounts. ceived from sales of public lands, made default Opinion of June 21, 1858, 9 Op. 172. . after November, 1841, and it was made to ap- 29. Where the accounts of a mail contractor pear that a former commission to that office have been fully settled, and no attempt has expired on the 13th September in that year, been made to disturb them for many years, that the bond given for the performance of they are conclusive, and no charge can now be duties under the former commission was dated made against him which ought to have been setin March, and that given for performance of tled then. Opinion of July 21, 1858, 9 Op. 198. duties under the latter was dated in Novem- 30. An act of Congress granting money to ber, held that in stating the account an amount one mail contractor, or ordering the same of the public moneys, certified to have been in amount to be charged upon the account of anhis hands in November, 1841, sufficient to pay other, whose accounts have been long since for all the lands sold up to the 13th of Sep-settled, is void and of no effect as against the tember, 1841, should be credited to him in the latter. Ibid.