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Mr. SMOOT. They all go.
Mr. COPELAND. No; they do not all go. Where would there be a convention hall or a town big enough to contain all the doctors if they all went?
Mr. SMOOT. They do not all go at one time, of course.
Mr. COPELAND. I am not going to split hairs with the Senator. He Is in opposition to this proposal, but I want to say that any doctor who is worth while, who is seeking to acquaint himself with the progress made in his profession, who wants to know what the new procedures are, those things which will help to shorten disease and to relieve pain, and to stand off the awful day of death, goes to the medical society meetings. The man who goes to those meetings is the sort of man who acquires such knowledge.
Hr. SMOOT. I say to the Senator that the Imposition of the tax proposed here would not stand in the way of such a man going to a convention any more than it would prevent an attorney or any of the other professional men. The men who go there go for a certain purpose, and that is an educational purpose, whether it be a druggist, or an accountant, or a doctor, or any other professional man. He goes there for that purpose, and if one Is treated differently from another, there will be a discrimination. I can not see it any other way.
Mr. COPELAND. Does not the Senator see any difference in that respect between a physician and an architect?
Mr. SMOOT. Not as to the educational feature.
Mr. COPELAND. I am not referring so much to the educational feature, but to the return to society.
Mr. SMOOT. I will say to the Senator that there may be a degree of difference, but the principle is the same.
Mr. COPELAND. The principle may be the same.
Mr. SMOOT. Just the same as it could not be possible to have every man in the profession equal, but the object of everyone who goes to these conventions is exactly the same; they go for the same purpose.
Mr. GERRY. I wonder If the Senator from New York could give us his amendment now. Some of us have come into the Chamber since it was introduced.
Mr. COPELAND. I take pleasure in handing the amendment to the Senator.
I think there is a great distinction between what society receives from the increase in the boundaries of knowledge on the part of the architect, on the one hand, and the increase of knowledge on the part of the physician. I do not, of course, sneer at beautiful architecture. Nothing promotes the finer senses more. But when we come to deal with the human body, with disease, with human suffering, the prolongation of life, who can question that the physician has a part to play which, in my humble opinion, few other professions have?
In the next place, go out and ask the average man on the street about it. He wants his doctor to be a good doctor, and he is made a better doctor by going to these society meetings and having contact with physicians from every part of the country and from every part of the world, and the man in the street says, "I want him."
Mr. SMOOT. They want a good lawyer, too.
Mr. BORAH. As I understand it, the idea of the Senator from New York is that this is educational.
Mr. COPELAND. Yes, educational; but it is a form of education that is beneficial not alone to the man educated, but to all those with whom he comes in contact.
Mr. BORAH. When I think of what we are going to learn at Kansas City, I think the delegates to Kansas City ought to have the privilege <>f deducting their expenses.
Mr. COPELAND. I would say that as regards Kansas City, every man who goes ought to be paid a bonus out of the Treasury; a very liberal amount,
Mr. BORAH. It begins to look like some of them will be paid a bonus from some source.
Mr. COPELAND. Of course, I have nothing to say about that. This amendment in a different form was presented by the junior Senator from Indiana [Mr. Robinson!. I am sorry he is not here, since 1 am fighting his battle. It has been sent out all over the country, and there is not a Member of the Senate1 who has not received dozens of letters from the medical profession asking that this relief be given.
Mr. SMOOT. Thousands of thorn.
Mr. COPKLAND. Yes, thousands of them: and it should be done. I do not know that there are any words one can use to change the decision of the Senate; I doubt if anything can be done. But I hope that this amendment, either in the form in which I have presented it or in some other form which carries out its spirit, may he adopted by the Senate. 1 am satisfied to let the matter come to a vote.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Couzews In the chair). The question is on agreeing to the amendment offered by the Senator from New York.
Mr. COPELAND. I ask for the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered, and the Chief Clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. KENDRICK (when his name was called). On this vote I have a pair with the Senator from Connecticut [Mr. BinoHam], and in his absence I am compelled to withhold nay vote. If permitted to vote, I would vote "yea."
The roll call was concluded.
Mr. WHEELER. I have a pnir with the Senator from Idaho [Mr. Goodino], which I transfer to the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Walsh], and vote "yea."
Mr. RANSDELL (after having voted in the affirmative). I transfer iny pair with the junior Senator from Maine [Mr. Gould] to the junior Senator from Utah [Mr. Kino] and let my vote sUuul.
Mr. COPELAND (after having voted in the affirmative). Has the senior Senator from New Jersey [Mr. Edge] voted?
The VICE PRESIDENT. That Senator has not voted.
Mr. COPELAND. I have a pair with the Senator from New Jersey, which I transfer to the Senator from West Virginia [Mr. Neely], and let my vote stand.
Mr. BRATTON. I have a general pair with the Junior Senator from Indiana [Mr. Robinson]. I am told that he would vote as I intend to vote, and therefore I am at liberty to vote. I vote "yea."
Mr. WALSH of Montana. On this measure I am paired with the Senator from Vermont [Mr. Dale]. I transfer that panto the Senator from Arkansas [Mr. Robinson] and vote "yea."
Mr. JONES. The senior Senator from Virginia [Mr. SwanSon] is necessarily absent. I promised to take care of him on this vote, and therefore I withhold my vote. If at liberty to vote, I would vote "nay."
I desire to announce the following general pairs:
The Senator from Delaware [Mr. Du Pont] with the Senator from Florida [Mr. Trammeu,];
The Senator from North Dakota [Mr. Fraziee] with the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Bl.ease] ; and
The Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Keyes] with the Senator from New Jersey [Mr. Edwards].
Mr. WATSON. My colleague [Mr. Robinson of Indiana] is necessarily absent. If present, he would vote for this amendment
The result was announced—yeas 59, nays 13, as follows:
So Mr. Copeland's amendment was agreed to.
Mr. COPELAND. Mr. President, as I announced a little while ago, 1 am forced to leave the Senate in a very fevtf minutes. I send to the desk an amendment which I offer and ask to have reported. I think the Senator from Utah [Mr. Smoot]. in charge of the bill, will accept It.
Mr. SMOOT. I have no objection to the amendment if the word "President" is inserted instead of the words "Secretary of the Treasury.'"
Mr. COPELAND. I have made that change.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The amendment will he read.
The Chief Cucrk. On page 105, after line 25, insert a new section, as follows:
Sec. 121. International
In the casp of income derived from tin- operation of a bridge between the United States and n continuous foreign country, (he President Is authorized to enter into an agreement In respect of any taxable year with tile proper authorities of such foreign eountry, milking an equitable apportionment as between the United States and such foreign country of the Income and deductions allocable to the operation of such bridge. If Kiieh agreement is entered into, the tax imposed by this title In respect of HUch income for such year sdmll be considered to be the ta* based on the net income as computed under such agreement. Any t:ix computed imd<T tlie Hectinn .shall not be reduced by any credit as provided lu section 131 (relating to the credit for foreign tuxes).
Mr. COPELANI). The amendment relates primarily to the international bridge from Buffalo to Caniulu und was written originally to apply to it, but there is a bridge to be built between Detroit and Windsor and other international bridges will be built, .so it was thought wise to have general legislation.
The purpose of it is to prevent our country from taxing all the income oi' the bridge company and then Canada in her turn taxing all Ihe income likewise. With regard to the international bridge at Buffalo. Canada has agreed to tax only half of the tolls, but in this case the amendment provides that the President may make such an agreement, and I assume the Senator in charge of the bill will be glad to accept It.
Mr. BOKAH. Mr. President, I do not desire to object to the amendment in view of the change from •• Secretary of the Treasury" to "President." It is in effect authorizing the President to enter into an agreement with a foreign country; and as it relates to this particular matter and to a question of taxation. I shall not object to it.
But 1 do want to take this opportunity to say that I think the Senate ought to be much more vigilant in the future than it has been in the past with reference to these Executive •agreements. There is a wide range of Executive agreements being made in these last years which have the effect, of treaties. In my opinion most of those agreements ought to have come to the Senate for ratification. Hut. inasmuch an this is a tax matter, and perhaps, by reason of the nature of the peculiar situation the authorization can be justified. I trust it will not be considered as a precedent for any extension of the authority.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The question is on agreeing to the amendment submitted by the Senator from New York.
The amendment was agreed to.
MESSAOK FROM THE HOUSE
A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Haltigan, one of its clerks, announced that the House had agreed to the amendment of the Senate to the bill (II. R. 6104) to amend sections 57 and 61 of the act entitled "An act to amend and consolidate the acts respecting copyright," approved March 4, 1909.
E.MtOLLED BILLS SIGNED
The message also announced that the Speaker had affixed his signature to Ihe following enrolled bills, and they were signed by the Vice President:
8.2148. An act to fix standards for hampers, round stave baskets, and splint baskets for fru^s and vegetables, and for other purposes;
S. 3057. An act authorizing the Secretary of War to transfer and convey to the Portland Water District, a municipal corporation, the water pipe line including the submarine water main connecting Fort McKinley. Me., with the water system of the Portland Water District, and for other purposes;
II. R. 0508. An act to authorize the purchase at private sale of a tract of land in Louisiana, and for other purposes;
H. II. 11133. An act making appropriations for the government of the District of Columbia and other activities chargeable in whole or in part against Ihe revenues of such District for the fiscal year ending June 30, lOlid, and fur other purposes; and
H. K. 12286. An act making appropriations for the Navy Department and the naval service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1029, and for other purposes.
PRKSEHVAT1ON OF OLD CAI'ITOL
Mr. CARAWAY. Mr. President, the necessity for immediate action will be my excuse for asking in ft moment for unanimous consent to consider a concurrent resolution which I shall send to the desk.
There is a condemnation proceeding now going on in the city of Washington to condemn, among other properties, squares 727 and 72.S. The purpose of the particular condemnation is to acquire a site for a new building to house the Supreme Court of the United States and its activities. It transpires that on square 728 stands one of the most historic buildings in America. It was the Capitol of this Nation'from 1.H15 to 1819. The Congress met there during those years. President Monroe was inaugu
rated there as President of the United States. The first real feeling of solidarity of the American Republic found its birth in that building. II ushered in what was known as an era of good feeling. We had come out of the second war with the I'.ritish Empire. The fueling of sectional differences had very largely disappeared. There was a consciousness of a nationality that America hud not felt up to that time. The Monroe doctrine and much of our legislation that we look upon as fundamental found its birthplace there.
In addition to being the Capitol of the country, it has been the scene of very many historic occurrences. It has been not only a capitol but it has been a prison, and from it Mrs. Surrntt went to the gallows. There is hardly anything connected with American history, commencing in 1815 and down until quite recently, that did not have something in common with this site.
Either the Slates or patriotic societies have preserved every building that housed this Government from its foundation. Tin; old Independence Hall at Philadelphia, the building in which the Congress met in the city of Now York, the building in which the Continental Congress sat at York, Pa., the building at Annapolis which at one time sheltered the Government, have all been preserved as national shrines. This building, one of the most historic, the one that gave birth to real America, standing here in the National C'apital, is now to be torn down in order to house a department of the Government. Near it the Government of the United States owns laud, both north and south of the building, much better located for the purposes for which it is proposed to use this particular square.
Unless the concurrent resolution which I shall introduce, or something in its nature, shall pass before the Congress adjourns, when we come back here next December we will have committed this desecration. I feel that the Congress does not want to do it. Therefore, I am going to introduce the concurrent resolution asking merely that the matter be held up until we reconvene in December, to see if we can devise some means to preserve this historic building. I have spoken to the leader on the majority side, the Senator from Kansas [Mr. Cuktis], the leader on the minority side, the Senator from Arkansas [Mr. Robinson], and quite a number of other Senators, and there seems to be no objection to it. Therefore. I send it to the desk to be read, and I shall ask for its immediate consideration.
Mr. WARREN. Mr. President, I think it is in order to ask the Senator a question. Is this particular building in one of the blocks that are proposed for the location of the Supreme Court?
Mr. CARAWAY. That is true. The concurrent resolution deals with blocks 727 and 728, because block 727 would not be large enough for the purpose. It will take both of them for the purpose for which they are intended to be used. Therefore, I am merely asking that the condemnation of blocks 727 and 72S be held up until we can have time to reconsider the question.
Mr. WARREN. If it were intended to ask for action to-day other than merely lo delay the matter, I should expect to oppose it, of course, because we have made an appropriation of $1,500,000 for the purchase of the property in order to locnta the Supreme Court there.
Mr. CARAWAY. I do not think we have purchased any of it. Condemnation proceedings are now pending for all that ground. I do not think the Government has invested a dollar except in its condemnation proceedings. I am only asking that we hold them up until we can come back here in December and investigate the whole question.
I now ask that the concurrent resolution be read.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The cleric will read the concurrent resolution.
The Chief Clerk read the concurrent resolution.
Mr. NOKKIS. Mr. President, I should like to make an inquiry of Ihe Senator from Arkansas. I heard him refer to the resolution as a concurrent resolution.
Mr. CARAWAY. Yes, sir.
Mr. NORRIS. I wish to suggest to the Senator that, while it might have the effect desired, to have any legal effect it seems to me the resolution ought to be a joint resolution instead of a concurrent resolution. In the form of a concurrent resolution it would not have the force of law, because it would not be sent to the President, as would a joint resolution, and it would not receive the signature of the President. Therefore, while- the officials might stop the proceedings—they have commenced lawsuits, they have started in on the project under the law which was passed—it might be embarrassing for them to stop them.
Mr. CARAWAY. I have no objection to changing it to a joint resolution.
Mr. NORRIS. I suggest to the Senator that he make it a joint resolution instead of a concurrent resolution.
Mr. CARAWAY. Very well. I will ask unanimous consent that the resolution he changed from a concurrent to a joiut resolution.
The VICE PRESIDENT. Without objection, the form of the resolution will be changed as requested.
The joint resolution (S. J. lies. 150) to stay proceedings for the condemnation of squares 727 and 728 in the District of Columbia was read the first time by its title and the second time at length, as follows:
Whereas condemnation proceedings arc now pending to condemn squares 727 and 728, lying north of East Capitol Street and east of FirHt Street facing the Cupltol; and
Whereas on square 728 stands a building tbat next to the Capilol and Mount Vernon is one of the most historic in America; and
Whereas it 1ms been asserted that hud it not been for this building the Capitol would have been removed from the District of Columbia lifter the British bad destroyed the Capitol Building in 1.S14; and
Whereas the Congress convened in said building from 1K15 to 1819, and President Monroe was inaugurated there in 1817; and
Whereas other historic events occurred within said building and nre associated with it; and
Whereas it has been both a capltol and a prison, scenes of revelry and tragedy, and connected with it many other historical events; and
Whereas every building that has been used as a Capitol of tills Republic since its founding, including Independence Hall and the one at York. Pa., the one at New York City, and the one at Annapolis, has been preserved by patriotic people in the Interest of history and sentiment; and
Whereas this building now standing in the Capital of this Nation and so long used as our Capitol during the most critical times of our Republic is now threatened to be torn down to use the site for a building for the Supreme Court: Therefore, be it
Resolved, eto.. That no further proceedings shall be taken for the condemnation by the United States, as a site for a building for the Supreme Court, of squares 727 and 728 in the District of Columbia, as such squares appear on the records of the office of the surveyor of the District of Columbia until the Congress shall by law direct the acquisition of such squares for such sites.
Sbc. 2. If such squares are at any time acquired by the United States, the buildings thereon shall not bo destroyed, hut shall be removed by the United States to some other site.
Mr. CARAWAY. I ask unanimous consent for the immediate consideration of the joint resolution.
There being no objection, the Semite, as in Committee of the Whole, proceeded to consider the joint resolution.
The joint resolution was reixirted to the Senate without amendment, ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, read the third time, and passed.
The preamble was agreed to.
BOULDER DAM—SENATOR SMOOT
Mr. ASHURST. I ask the Secretary to read from the desk an article from the Graham County (Ariz.) Guardian. The Graham County Guardian is one of the leading Democratic newspapers in the State of Arizona.
The VICE PRESIDENT. Without objection, the clerk will read, as requested.
The Chief Clerk read as follows:
[Prom Graham County (Ariz.) Guardian]
ARIZONA'S GRATITUDE TO SENATOR SMOOT
Arizona citizens owe a deep debt of gratitude and appreciation to Senator Hkkd Smoot, of Utah, for his masterly argument against the Johnson Boulder Canyon Dam bill before the Senate. He gave valuable and impressive aid to the forces of Arizona in their hour of greatest need.
Senator Smoot takes his place alongside Governor Bern, of Utah, in the affection of tbe people of Arizona. Governor Dern also has been Arizona's friend in this long-drawn-out fight in which our State Is engaging In a desperate effort to retain her natural interest in tbe resources of the Colorado Uiver.
Senator Smoot i< recognized as one of the most powerful and influential Members of the United States Senate. He Is chairman of tbe all powerful Finance Committee. In his long term of service. Senator Smoot has bnilded a reputation as one of tbe greatest leaders in that body. His ability Is outstanding; bis Integrity is unquestioned: bis patriotism has been proven over and over to be of the highest order.
It Is interesting to recall to memory that a very determined effort was made to prevent Senator Smoot from taking his seat In the Senate In 1007.
Disbarment was sought on the grounds that he was disqualified because of his religion. Senator Smoot was then, and Is now, a prominent member of the Mormon Church.
Fortunately for the good name of America, the movement to unseat Senator Smoot because of his religion was defeated. Thus a man who
has proven to be one of the greatest Senators in tbe history of that body was preserved for a life of usefulness to the Nation.
Succeeding years have demonstrated the hollowncss of tbe claims which were made in 1007 by proving that Senator Suoot'h religious affiliations have not Interfered with the discharge of bis duties as a Member of the Senate of the United States.
HeUgious intolerance has not entirely disappeared, however, and to-d«y we rind in America opposition expressed toward a candidate for the Presidency because of his religious views.
Such intolerance is as foreign to American ideals and traditions to-day us It was in the case of Senator Smuot, of Utah, back In 1907.
The Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed the consideration of the bill (H. R. 1) to reduce and equalize taxation. provide revenue, and for other purposes.
Mr. FLETCHER. Mr. President, 1 offer an amendment to the pending bill.
Mr. NORHIS. Mr. President, I think it was understood when I agreed tbat my amendment might be laid aside that its eonsideralion should follow the disposition of the amendment suggested by the Senator from New York [Mr. Copelaxd].
Mr. FLETCHER. That is quite tnie, Mr. President; but I spoke to the Senator from Nebraska about it, assuring him that my amendment \vonld take only a minute or two, whereas his amendment will probably lead to considerable debate.
Mr. NORKIS. Mr. President, I think my amendment will lead to some controversy.
Mr. FLETCHER. I think my amendment may !>e disposed of in live minutes.
Mr. NORRIS. Very well.
Mr. FLETCHER. I ask that the amendment proposed by me may be stated.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The amendment proposed by the Senator from Florida will be stated.
The Chief Clebk. Ou page 206, after line 2, it is proposed to insert the following:
Subdivision 5 of schedule A of Title VIII of the revenue act of 1020 is amended to read:
"Passage ticket, one way or round trip, for each passenger, sold or Issued In the United States for passage by any vessel to a port or place not in the United States, Canada, Mexico, or Cuba, If costing not exceeding $30, $1; costing more than $30 and not exceeding $60. $3; costing more than $00, $5. This subdivision shall not apply to passage tickets costing $10 or less, and shall take effect on the expiration of 30 days after tbe enactment of this act."
Mr. SMOOT. Mr. President, as I understand, the amendment proposed by the Senator from Florida simply inserts the word "Cuba "?'
Mr. FLETCHER. It merely proposes to insert the word "Cuba" in the present law, so as to include Cuba along with Canada and Mexico.
Mr. SMOOT. I have no objection to the amendment.
The VICE PRESIDENT. Without objection, the amendment is agreed to.
Mr. FLETCHER. Mr. president, I ask consent to insert in the Rkcord a couple of letters on the sublcct.
The VICE PRESIDENT. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The letters are as follows:
Tim Mears, Torus, Tampa, Fla., December 10, I9U. Hon. Dt-NCAN U. Fletcher,
United States Senator, Washington, D. C.
Dear Sir: I thank you for yours of the 8th instant, with copy of letter from Hon. D. H. Blair, Commissioner of Internal Revenue, with reference to the matter of the difference in the stamp tax imposed on tickets from Tort Tampa and Key West to Ilabnnn.
I have for quite a long time been under the impression that It would be necessary to have tho law changed to get the relief desired, slure the commissioner has not only ruled as mentioned in his letter, but tbat if a person buys a ticket to Key West and then buys a ticket from Key West to Habana, and us-es tbe same steamer on the same day he arrives in Key West, he must pay the same tax as If be had bought a through ticket from Port Tampa to Habana.
In view of the fact that there is no tax on steamship tickets from the United States to polnis in Canada and Mexfco, and Cuba Is in a way our "ward," it would seem that our Government would do well to remove the stamp tax on tickets to that country; hut if that can not be done, then Port Tampa and Key West ought to be put on an equal basis. While I am not positive, I feel reasonably certain that then- is not a case in the United States, other than from Port Tampa, where a ship on a regular passenger run to a foreign country stops at another point in the United Stntcs, after having begun the trip, before saillne for tbe foreign port. If the ships from here sailed directly to Uabana. then? might be some excuse for Imposing a blither stomp tax. hut In view of the fact that there Is always « call lit Key West, where the Hhip Is cleared by the customs and immigration officials, it seems very unjust that we are compelled to pay the full $3 tax whether we buy directly to Habana or whether we buy from Port Tampa to Key West and then from Key West to Habanu. especially when one is required to pay but $1 tax If his ticket is from Chicago or elsewhere to Ilabana via Key West if he arrives In Key West by any route other than by steamer from Tort Tampa. It would be ju,*t as equitable to assess the passenger from Chicago (who travels via rail to Key West and thence by steamer to Habana) with a tax on the purchase price of his ticket for the entire journey as it Is to make the passenger from or via Tort Tampa and Key West on the steamer to do so.
The present law greatly discriminates against this port.
Comparatively speaking, I am sure the amount of revenue received by the Government from the tax on tickets to Cuba Is not great, especially since almost all of the people in Cuba traveling to the United States who expect to return within six months buy round-trip tickets, from Habana, and on these, of course, our Government collects no revenue. Therefore to do away with this tax entirely would not mean the loss of much revenue. Yours very truly,
Jamks E. Mkars. Manager.
The Peninsular & Occidental Steamship Co.,
Accounting Dkpaktmbnt, Jacksonrtlle, Fla., October it, 1917. Hon. D. U. Flbtchkk,
United States Senator, Wasliiiiffton, D. C.
IfKAB Sin: The newspapers announce that the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives will begin the preliminary work to write a new tJix bill. The transportation lines are very much Interested in having eliminated from the new bill paragraph No. •"> of Schedule "A," stamp taxes, of the bill approved February 20, 1920, which reads as follows:
•• r>. Passage ticket, one way or round trip, for each passenger, sold or issued In the United States for passage by any vessel to a port or place not in the United States, Canada, or Mexico, If costing not exceeding $30, $1; costing more than $.'tO and not exceeding $00, $2; costing more than $60, $">. This subdivision shall not apply to passage tickets costing $10 or less."
Most of the other stamp taxes were eliminated when the present bill was written, and thanks to your assistance, the bill that first passed the Congress had taken this element of tax out of the old bill, but when it was rewritten in conference It appeared again. At present it is more obnoxious than In the previous bill because It is one of the very few items of stamp tax In existence. It Is particularly trying on the traveling public and the transportation people in applying it through the Florida ports In view of the Internal Hevenue Bureau's decision j that the entire ocean proportion from Port Tampa to Ilabana is tax- | able. Hence tickets reading Key West to Habana are taxable $1, while tickets reading 1'ort Tampa to Habana are taxable $3. It Is confusing both to all the ticket agents of the United States and the traveling public, and on each voyage of our ships there is n-controversy and explanation relative to the collection of this tax which places it In line as the most aggravating nuisance tax.
If you can find time to do so. and yon agree with us that this element of tax should be eliminated, we will consider it a great favor If you would bring this to the attention of the committee writing the revision. In the event that we are successful in having this item of the new bill eliminated It will give me great pleasure to advise the ticket agents, conductors, and ships' pursers of the country of your assistance in obtaining this result. Yours truly,
Roy Raixkv, Auditor.
Mr. NORTHS. I now titter the amendment which has heretofore been read.
The VICE PRESIDENT. The amendment proposed by the Senator from Nebraska will be stated.
The Chief Ci.ebic. On page 48, lino 23, after the word " title," it is proposed to strike out all down to and including line 26, on page 48, and in lieu thereof to Insert the following: shall be open to examination and inspection as other public records under the same rules and regulations as may govern the examination of public documents generally.
Mr. NORRIS. Mr. President, this amendment, which comes in on page 48 of the bill, provides for making; all income-tax returns public records, and that, as the amendment states."they "shall be open to examination and inspection as other public records under the same rules and regulations as may govern the examination 'if public documents generally."
It is in exact form, as I now remember, in which it was approved as an amendment to one of the prior revenue bills. It was, however, rejected by the House of Representatives, and
in conference a compromise provision was adopted, which became the law, but which, as a matter of fact, was so unsatisfactory that, us I recall, it was not included in the next revenue bill.
Mr. President. I do not desire to take up the time of the Senate by going into a detailed argument on this publicity amendment. It has been debuted in the Senate on several occasions, and I presume Senators all have definite ideas as to whether or not it ought to be included in the bill. To my mind there is no more reason why income-tax returns should be secret, why they should not be treated as public records are usually treated, than there is why in the States the returns of the tax assessor should be .secret.
I presume that under the law of every State in the Union the returns of the tax assessor have been treated as a public document; they are accessible, under such rules and regulations as may be made in regard to all public documents and records, to examination by any person who desires to make such examination. I myself can not understand why there should be any more objection to making a tax return under the Federal law a public record than there would be to making the tax assessor's return a public record under the general taxing laws of the State. There certainly can be no harm come, so far as I am able to see, to any taxpayer because his return may be examined by those who desire to examine either that record or any other public record.
Everyone who has made any study of government or the history of government knows that from the dawn of civilisation one of the evils of government has been secrecy in the transaction of public business. It is impossible to exaggerate, Mr. President, the dangers that may come to any government, National or State, county or municipal, that insists upon secrecy in the transaction of its public business. It may be that for a time no evil will come: it may be that such a course may be pursued for a while without danger arising to the government or its taxpayers; but it has been demonstrated over and over again that governments which have transacted the business of the public in secret and prevented the ordinary citizen from having opportunity to look into the records of public business and to examine public documents sooner or later fail.
Moreover, Mr. President, there is no doubt that dishonest taxpayers will take every advantage they can in order to avoid the payment of their taxes which are legally and justly due. The man who is perfectly willing to pay whatever under the law he should pay, as a rule makes no objection to having his tax return considered a public document. The corporation and the individual, however, who want to avoid taxation, who are ready to resort to all the technicalities that shrewd attorneys may discover for the purpose of avoiding taxation are the ones who are particularly interested in having this portion of the public business transacted on a secret basis.
The system of secrecy in connection with tax returns gives a premium to the dishonest taxpayer, and thus increases the burden of the honest taxpayer. It does another thing, Mr. President; it prevents Congress from legislating intelligently on tax questions. If we are not informed as to the evils that arise under our tax laws, we can not, of course, intelligently consider and enact legislation that will correct such evils in any way. Everyone knows that no law is perfect; every law, whether it be a revenue law or any other, especially when it covers the ramifications of all kinds of business, as a tax law does, will have imperfections: but from knowledge of conditions we will be able to learn how we can improve the law, how we can remedy its defects, how we can provide that the dishonest taxpayer shall not have an opportunity to avoid the just taxes which he owes to the Government. We are not now able to do this, because we are not able to secure information apprising us of the remedies which should be applied in our tax laws by way of legislation.
So, from any viewpoint, it seems to me there can be no just objection to making a tax return a public document, subject to the same rules and regulations as every other publicdocument.
But, Mr. President, there is another reason that has recently bo-en called to the attention of Congress and the attention of the country why I think we should lake some such step as this.
The Investigations mode by the so-called Couzens committee developed that there were a great many imperfections in our revenue law. of which neither Congress nor the country had ever been advised. If Senators will examine the reports of these investigations, or talk with members of the committee, I think they will be able to see that the very fact of the secrecy that has pervaded the entire bureau in the collection of (axes, and in the decision of controverted questions that have arisen between the taxpayer and the Government for adjudication. under onr law, has resulted not only in tlie loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of tuxes justly due to the Government, but has kept from Congress the necessary information by which we could pass legislation thut would remedy the evils.
There are other instances where an injustice has been done to the taxpayer, and where no one has an opportunity to find out just what it is in order that it may be remedied; but there are still other things that have come to our notice recently.
The Committee on Public Lands and Surveys, the chairman of which committee is now honoring me with his presence and his attention, has been for a long time engaged in investigations that have brought to light facts and circumstances that have shocked the conscience of the American people. Those investigations have developed the fact that some of our wealthiest men and our wealthiest corporations have been engaged in a business that was as disreputable as ever was engaged in by Benedict Arnold or any of his pals. They have developed that these men have not only bribed public officials, but they have robbed the Government or attempted to rob the Government: and had it not been for these investigations, and the litigation that came as a result of these investigations, they would have robbed the Government of its naval oil reserves.
That probably might have meant, in case of war with a foreign country, defeat instead of victory. That might have meant the destruction on the battle field of hundreds of thousands of human lives that otherwise might be preserved.
Congress, in its wisdom, through the officials of the executive department of the Government, had set aside certain reserves, Ko that in time of emergency or war our Governmtnt might lie equipped as well as any of the navies of the world at least, if not better. It has l*-en shown that these reserves were sqandered away, that officials were bribed to sell them, that these wealthy corporations invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring about the debauchery of public officials and the stealing from the people of the United States of hundreds of millions of dollars of the Government's property. It was further developed, Mr. President, that in carrying out part of these reprehensible schemes an illegal and a fraudulent corporation was organized over in Canada; and this committee of the Senate has spent a great deal of public money and a great deal of valuable time in trying to find out just what that corporation was. who was in it, who got the money, who were its officials, and all about it. The committee has been to a great extent unable to secure all the information that it ought to have been able to acquire, that the Senate and the country needed and wanted. It ha.s been handicapped at every step.
It occurred to this committt-e on the investigation, and it has occurred to many of us. that if the schemes that it was known that this Continental Trading Co. of Canada was organized to carry out were successful, as they evidently had been up to a certain point, at least, these officials had not paid to the Government of the United States the money that was due it on incomes. That was perfectly apparent some time ago in this investigation to any student who was trying to follow the work that committee was doing. It was quite apparent that if Sinclair and Blackmer and O'Neil and Stewart had been doing the things that the evidence disclosed they were doing, they owed t<> the Government of the United States at least millions of dollars in the way of taxes for profits that they had made. But all those records were locked up right here in Washington, in the same city where the committee has been sitting during all these weary weeks of investigation. If there was any such evidence, if there was anything that would give any clue to what this corporation had made in the way of money, any returns that had been made to the Government by this corporation or any of its agents or officials or stockholders, there was no way to get the evidence. It was tied up, it was secret, because of the existence of our law now that makes all these returns secret.
I have no doubt, Mr. President, but that if the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys had access to the records of the Treasury, their weary way would have been eased many times by mi examination of the records there; and it may be thut Ihey would have been able to save a vast amount of time and a vast amount of money if they had been permitted to look at. the records and see what the records showed in regard to those profits that it was quite evident had been made by somebody. They might have been able, Mr. President, perhaps not to get all that they needed, but perhaps to get a clue to evidence that would have led them to get possession of the entire story. But, as I say. the law closed the doors in the face of the committee, ag it closed the doors to every citizen of the United States. It seems to me this has been a demonstration that our law is wrong; that we ought to permit the.se returns to be examined, the same as any other public document can be examined: and hud that been the law at the beginning of these investigations,
one of the first things that would have been done would have been to examine the returns, to examine the records in the Treasury Department, to see whether or not these men, who hud evidently made millions out of this transaction, had made a return; if they had not made a return, then to find out what the Treasury Department was doing about it. If they had made no return, they are liable under the law cirimiuully as well as civilly.
Mr. NYE. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Vanuenuero in the chair). Does the Senator from Nebraska yield to the Senator from North Dakota?
Mr. NOHRIS. I yield to the Senator.
Mr. NYE. The Senator from Nebraska is now touching upon a matter in which the committee has been very materially interested. I think, for his information and for the information of the Senate, it ought to be disclosed at this time that a few days ago the committee did make inquiry of the Treasury Department as to what proceedings were being initiated or carried out with relation to the collection of any tax that was due the Government as a result of the Continental Trading Co. deal. That the Senator may know it, and that it may carry weight with the argument which he is offering, I think it ought to be stated at this time that if the committee has gained from the Treasury any information at all touching upon this matter it is not the privilege of the committee to disc-lose what it has found out.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator from Nebraska yield to the Senator from California?
Mr. NORRIS. I do.
Mr. JOHNSON. This is one of the most important things, in my opinion, that could come before us, and witli which this bill should deal. I think the entire Senate ought to be familiar with what is being stated now by the Senator from North Dakota. Will he yield that I may call a quorum, that the Senate may hear it?
Mr. NOUKIS. I have the floor, and I yield.
Mr. JOHNSON. I suggest the absence of a quorum, Mr. President.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Secretary will call the roll.
The legislative clerk called the roll, and the following Senators answered to their names:
Mr. JONES. I desire to announce that the Senator from Oregon [Mr. Steiweu! and the Senator from South Dakota [Mr. McAlASTERl are detained on business of the Senate in a committee meeting.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Seventy-nine Senators having answered to their names, there is a quorum present.
Mr. NORRIS. Mr. President, I would like to say to those Senators who have come in in answer to the roll call, and who were not here when the roll call was begun, that I had been discussing the amendment now pending, with particular reference to the action of the Committee on Public Lands and Surveys in the making of its investigation regarding Sinclair, Ulackmer. O'Neil. and Stewart, and their connection, if any, with the Treasury of the United States in the payment of income taxes on the profits of the fraudulent Continental Trading. Co., of Canada. The Senator from North Dakota [Mr. Nye], the chairman of the Committee on Public Land- and Surveys, had just interrupted me, and manifested a desire and an intention of giving to the Senate Information in regard to that difficulty, and as to what the committee had done in referent* to it. I can not say what his statement is going to be, but at the time of the roll call he was starting to speak in regard to the matter, and I yield to him now to continue and finish his statement.
Mr. NYE. Mr. President, perhaps under the circumstances I ought to have refrained from speaking in this connection at