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The CHAIRMAN. We inserted a provision in the proposed appropriation for the Shipping Board to this effect:
**Provided further, That no part of this sum shall be used to pay the compensation of any attorney, regular or special, for the United States Shipping Board or the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation unless the contract of employment has been approved by the Attorney General of the United States."
Now, that provision, of course, was intended to limit the amount of compensation to be paid to attorneys in the trial of those cases by the Shipping Board. That provision would involve, I should assume, a considerable amount of conference between the Shipping Board and the Attorney General's office in the adjustment of those cases on trial, and we would like to get as much information about what is being done on that as we can, in connection with the statement you are about to supply.
Mr. HARRIS. To show you that we are not paying exorbitant sums to any of them, I will say that we have one man at San Francisco who gets $300 per month. He submits a report monthly of what he has done, and the reports show that he is rendering service every day of the month. He is a man who is pretty well up in admiralty law; and I think that instance shows that we are not paying exorbitant sums to counsel.
The CHAIRMAN. The main thing we are to see to is that the defenses are properly conducted; but we are, of course, also concerned about not having a lot of money spent that should not be spent.
NUMBER OF CASES ON DOCKETS OF UNITED STATES COURTS.
Mr. SLEMP. What is the total number of cases on the dockets in all of the United States courts.
Mr. KENNARD. At the close of the fiscal year ended June 30, 1921, there were pending about 140,000 cases. This figure includes bankruptcy proceedings and suits between private litigants.
Mr. SLEMP. The defense of the Government's interests in all of those cases rests upon the district attorneys and their assistants?
Mr. KENNARD. There is no defense by the Government in private cases, of course, but approximately 70,000 of these cases are cases in which the United States is the defendant or complainant. There are about 70,000 criminal cases pending, and in all there are about 85,000 cases in which the Government is interested.
Mr. SLEMP. How does that record compare with the record of cases in 1912.
Mr. KENNARD. The number of criminal cases pending is about eight times the numher pending in 1912.
Mr. SLEMP. How does your force that is employed in handling those cases compare with the force that was employed in 1912?
Mr. HARRIS. We could give it to you in the form of the total amount of expenditures for those two years.
Note.-Total expenditures of department and courts, fiscal year 1912, $10,169,572.91; total like expenditures, fiscal year 1921, approximately, $17,000,000.
Mr. SLEMP. You have no greater number of district attorneys now than you had then?
Mr. KENNARD. We have practically the same number of district attorneys, but, of course we have a greater force of regular assistants and clerks.
Mr. SLEMP. How much more money are you spending now than in 1912?
Mr. KENNARD. I have not the figures showing the expenditures in 1912, but I can insert them in the record.
Mr. SLEMP. The expenditures now are not eight times as much as they were then?
Mr. KENNARD. No, sir; not anywhere near eight times as much; less than twice as much.
Mr. STEWART. They are not twice as much.
Mr. SLEMP. As a matter of fact are you not cutting off a lot of assistants at the present time that you carried during the fiscal year that this appropriation here refers to?
Mr. Harris. No, sir; those are special attorneys, and the special attorneys come under another head. They are employed only in special cases, and a large number were employed last year.
Mr. SLEMP. Do you know to what extent you have reduced the number of special assistants since the first of the year?
Mr. HARRIS. Based upon the amount then expended for special attorneys, whose services were terminated and deducting therefrom the cost of attorneys since appointed, I think a conservative estimate would be a reduction of $250,000.
Mr. SLEMP. How many attorneys does that dispense with?
Mr. SLEMP. Has that additional work been thrown back on the offices of the district attorneys and assistants?
Mr. HARRIS. Yes, sir; the district attorneys must handle as much of that work as it is possible for them to handle: but there are some special cases of great importance in which the Attorney General deems it expedient to employ special counsel.
Mr. KELLEY. Are the dockets as clear, relatively speaking, as they were in 1912?
Mr. HARRIS. One district might clean up its business more rapidly than another. and the congestion in one district may be greater than it is in another. Therefore, we have not been able to determine what the general average is, or whether they are two years, three years, or five years behind. We know that there is a very large increase in the number of cases, but how long it will take to try that additional number of cases it would be difficult to say. Some of the cases are of a trivial nature and will require a short time to try, while others may require three or four weeks in the trial.
Mr. SLEMP. It is the policy of the Department of Justice to have this business handled by the regular United States district attorneys and their assistants, rather than to employ large numbers of special counsel?
Mr. HOLLAND. That is the policy.
Mr. SLEMP. Expecting those district attorneys to give their entire time to the business of the Government?
Mr. HOLLAND. Yes, sir.
Mr. BYRNs. As I understand it, it is the policy of the department and of the courts and properly so--to try the criminal cases first, and dispose of them, and especially the jail cases. With respect to those civil cases in which the Government is interested, I was wondering whether or not you are trying many of those cases now, or what the percentage of trials is with reference to those cases.
Mr. HARRIS. The percentage of cases disposed of is about the same, although the number of cases is greater. The percentage would remain about the same. At the beginning of the term the criminal docket is taken up first, and then they take up the civil cases. For instance, there is a number of civil cases in which the l'nited States is interested as a party, and those cases are taken up as rapidly as possible.
Mr. KELLEY. Does that increase in the number of cases grow out of war claims?
Mr. Harris. Yes, sir; a part of it does. We estimate that there are something like eight or nine million dollars in claims against the Government. A large proportion of them are claims on account of patent infringements, involving airplanes, radio apparatus, etc., together with a lot of revenue cases.
The ('HAIRMAN. How do you estimate that $29,000 is the amount of the deficiency in this item?
Mr. KENNARD. The overdrafts and requisitions for money to settle bills already rendered amount to $21,000, or they did a few days ago. They are still coming in slowly, and it is perfectly clear that at least $8.000 or $10.000 more is necessary.
The CHAIRMAN. Why would it not be a good idea in estimating for deficiencies to estimate the ascertained amount and not estimate any anticipated amount?
Mr. Harris. That is because we get so many complaints, growing out of the fact that we are not able to pay the bills as they come in.
The CHAIRMAN. It would not be a deficiency until you knew it.
Mr. KENNARD. These expenses are incurred all over the United States, even including the outlying possessions, and it is difficult to get all of the liabilities together promptly.
The CHAIRMAN. You are sure that the obligations which enter into this amount have been incurred, although you have not ascertained the exact amount?
Mr. KENNARD. Undoubtedly so.
FOR SALARIES OF CLERKS OF UNITED STATES (OURTS, THEIR DEPI'TIES AND ASSISTANTS.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is for salaries of clerks of the United States district courts, their deputies and assistants, expenses of travel and subsistence, and other expenses of conducting their respective offices, etc., $46,000. Tell us how that estimate is arrived at.
Mr. KENNARD. We know there is a deficiency of $59,000-
Mr. KENNARD. Yes, sir; we are asking for $66,000.' It will take $59,000 to clear overdrafts and requisitions already presented.
The CHAIRMAN. You received an appropriation for this purpose of $990,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Tell us how these additional expenses under this appropriation have been incurred.
Mr. KENNARD. It was incident to the great rush of business. The clerks and their assistants were unable to handle the work. On June 30, 1920, we had 493 deputies and clerical assistants, whereas, on June 30, 1921, we had 560.
The CHAIRMAN. Was the employment of the additional number due to the increased volume of business?
Mr. KENNARD. Yes, sir; wholly so.
The CHAIRMAN. It is not simply for the purpose of putting people on the pay roll or to give somebody a job?
Mr. HARRIS. No, sir; we have had an increase of 50 per cent
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). What part of this amount is due to increased salaries, if any?
Mr. KENNARD. Very little. The average salary at the opening of the fiscal year was about $1,232 and the average salary at the close of the year was $1,350.
The CHAIRMAN. Who fixes the compensation of this class of employees? Mr. HARRIS. The Attorney General. The CHAIRMAN. He is authorized to do that under the law? Mr. Harris. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. This appropriation is made in lump-sum form? Mr. HARRIS. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. What was it that caused the increased compensation to be granted within the last year?
Mr. HARRIS. In some of those districts the clerks complained to us very earnestly that they were unable to employ assistants for the money allowed. For instance, take the situation at Shreveport, La., where we used to employ people for $1.200 and $1,400, and now we have to pay them $1,600 and $1,800, because it is not difficult for them to get jobs at the oil wells, or in connection with the oil development down there, at much larger salaries than that.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words. the oil development in Louisiana has brought about an increase in the compensation that must be paid by the Government to these people?
Mr. Harris. That is largely so in that particular jurisdiction. I mention that as an illustration of the situation. We have had our field men check the statements closely to ascertain whether they were true, and we find from those investigations that clerkg are leaving after a service of five or six years. For instance, they secure employment in the offices of attorneys at $200 or more a year more than we are paying. Of course, we find that it costs a great deal more to put in a new man than to increase the compensation of the old man, because an experienced man is able to do from 50 per cent to 70 per cent more work than a new man, who does not understand the work, can do. As you know, the work of a deputy clerk and assistant is quite intricate. It is something that they can only acquire by experience.
The CHAIRMAN. I was wondering why you were paying increased compensation, when the tendency is toward lower compensation.
Mr. Harris. It is because of statements that we have had verified by our field men that they can not hold their assistants for that pay. Many times we do not permit them to pay the men anything beyond what we are allowing, but in other cases we have to allow some increase. We have to allow increases in some cases where we find that it is absolutely necessary in order to hold the men.
The CAAIRMAN. I would like to impress this thought upon the Attorney General's office, that the tendency throughout the United States is toward the lowering rather than the increasing of expenses. At any rate that is what Congress assumes. Of course that involves not adding anything to the compensation of those who are already in the service.
Mr. HARRIS. We have not done that, or it was not done voluntarily. It was only done where it was absolutely necessary in order to retain the services of some particular person. These requests are not always granted by any means. For instance, the other day there was an application for a clerk who had been in the service 22 years. Letters came in from the judge and other officials insisting upon an increase. They said that the man would quit the service if his pay were not increased, and we had to say to them "he will have to quit, because we have not the money with which to grant the increase."
The CHAIRMAN: Did he quit?
Mr. KENNARD. It is a question whether the judicious handling of this matter, by making salary increases at times does not result in an economy, by reason of stimulating and expediting the transaction of business.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, we do not undertake to say what we would do in a particular case, but we want you to be impressed with the importance of the necessity of making sure that you have a case that justifies an increase before you grant it. That is the position I take. Mr. HARRIS. We wish to assure the committee that we are doing just that thing. Mr. BYRNS. What is the total amount? The CHAIRMAN. $1,051,000.
AMOUNT OF FEES COVERED INTO TREASURY.
Mr. BYRNS. What are the fees that have been covered into the Treasury? Mr. KENNARD. We have not completed the compilation for this year, but there will be about $750,000.
Mr. Byrns. Then the putting of clerks op salary has cost the Government $300,000 or $400,000 in a year?
Mr. HARRIS. No; not if you take into consideration the fact that when they were on the fee system the Government paid the necessary portion to reach their maximum as well
as the expenses of the offices. Mr. KENNARD. The last year they were on a fee basis you appropriated $327,000. The CHAIRMAN. So this places it on a basis of equality?
Mr. KENNARD. Yes. If you add the two appropriations, say, $330,000 and $750,000, that makes $1,080,000, and it comes very close.
Mr. Byrns. But it has cost the Government something to put them on a salary basis. Mr. KENNARD. Very little.
Mr. Byrns. When the bill was proposed my understanding was that the Government would save money by the process rather than lose money.
Mr. HARRIS. I think it would have resulted in a saving if it had not been for the increased business.
The CHAIRMAN. But if you have increased business you have increased fees.
Mr. Harris. That is true. But under the law or under a regulation we charge $1 for making out an application for a passport and we estimate that it takes $1.50 or $2 of a man's time to make out an application for passport and issue a passport, and that is new business which did not obtain previously, and it is because of that.
Mr. KENNARD. The question is whether, if you had continued the fee system, instead of appropriating, as you did during the last year of the fee system, $327,000, you would not be appropriating at least $400,000 for the share of the United States, and maybe more. So it is a very close question as to a saving.
Mr. Byrns. What proportion of this deficiency of $66,000 is represented by an increase of salaries, to which you have referred?
Mr. KENNARD. Well, it is hardly possible to make that estimate. Of course, the change in the salary roll, as compared with the previous year, has been far more than $66,000. The salaries were only about $890,000 in 1920, whereas they will be $1,030,000 or $1,040,000.
Mr. Byrns. I was wondering whether you could approximate the amount of this increase in salaries.
Mr. KENNARD. Yes, sir; we can. Mr. HOLLAND. Do you mean as to individuals or the increase due to the addition of new employees?
Mr. Byrns. I refer to the individuals.
Mr. KENNARD. That would be a difficult matter to work out, but an average of $100 on 500 clerks would be $40,000 or $50,000, and that would be very close to it.
The CHAIRMAN. That would very nearly cover your deficiency?
Mr. Harris. The increase under this over what it was under the fee system may be accounted for in part by reason of the maximum compensation. Prior to the act of 1919 it was $3,500 from the fees of their offices. Congresss authorized that the clerks' salaries be fixed at a minimum of $3,000 and a maximum of $5,000. When the circuit courts were abolished it was understood that there would be some provision made to pay the clerk of a district court more for doing the work of both courts than he received for doing the work of only one court, so that the increase from $3,500 to $5,000 is a
part of the additional amount paid over and above what we paid prior to the act of 1919.
The CHAIRMAN. That was fixed by law; that is, it was authorized by law?
The CHAIRMAN. You said something about having a certain function to perform in connection with passports, where you do $1.50 or $2 worth of work for $1. Why do you not suggest some legislation which will authorize the collection of a greater sum? The people who get that service should pay for it.
Mr. HARRIS. The State Department gets the rest. It is $10, and I understand the State Department gets the remainder, we retaining $1. We might get a better allowance and I think we really should.
The CHAIRMAN. That would be a matter of negotiation between you and the State Department.
Mr. KELLEY. But it would not save the Government anything. Mr. HOLLAND. Before you leave that I would like to say that a good many of these administrative matters have been turned over to me, and I had a conference with General Daugherty with reference to them. He impressed upon me the necessity for rigid economy, and the files of the office will disclose that district attorneys have been requested to exercise the most rigid economy all along the line. Some very serious complaints have come to the department from members of Congress because certain special attorneys have been discharged, when it was believed by the department, based on representations made to it, that the work to which those special assistants had been assigned could now be handled by the regular district attorney and his regular force, and in a number of instances those specials have been cut off, due in part to that and in part to the fact that a portion of their work has already been disposed of, leaving a residue which could well be taken on by the regular force.
The CHAIRMAN. You can not do anything which will be more gratifying to this committee than to show efficiency and economy. We are anxious to have it.
Mr. HOLLAND. But with the accumulation of business, and particularly in criminal cases, due largely to the Volstead Act, the district attorneys come in and make a very strong showing that it is impossible for them to expedite the cases in court and properly handle them without additional assistants.
FEES OF JURORS.
The CHAIRMAN. Let us go to the next item, “For fees of jurors, fiscal year 1921, $31,000.” The appropriation was $2,250,000.
Mr. KENNARD. We will need all of this money and probably a little more.
Mr. KENNARD. No control whatever. The fees are fixed by statute and the number of days' service is determined by the courts.
The CHAIRMAN. We will just pass that. There is no use arguing about it, because I know you can not control it.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Let me ask a question before you go to the next item. You say you have been stopping the services of special attorneys in certain cases and have turned the work over to the forces of the regular district attorneys?
Mr. HOLLAND. Yes, sir.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Are you increasing to any extent the number of assistant district attorneys?
Mr. HOLLAND. I have not been in the department long enough to answer that, but in one instance I know that will be recommended. That is in the northern district of New York.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Is there any limitation on the number of assistants you can appoint in the office of any one district attorney?
Mr. HOLLAND. No; there is no limitation. That is based on the business of the office, and we have in the department comparative tables which we use in passing upon those matters, and also the revenues derived from these different offices.
Mr. BUCHANAN. As I understand, then, it is the policy of the department, so far as possible, to run the business with its regular force, believing that the business can be done in a more efficient manner, even if it is necessary to increase the regular force, rather than to employ special counsel in special cases.
Mr. HOLLAND. That is the policy, except in some cases that are of very great importance, where it is deemed best to employ special counsel.
Mr. BUCHANAN. That is, in some exceptional case?
Mr. HOLLAND. Yes; for instance, some of the important land cases and condemnation proceedings.