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APPORTIONMENT OF POSTAL SAVINGS DEPOSITS AMONG
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When there is no bank available to receive the funds in the particular
place in which a postal savings depository is located, as provided for under section 9 of the act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 816), creating the Postal Savings System, the deposits should be apportioned among the qualified banks equally convenient to such locality.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
September 22, 1911. Sir: I have your communication, dated September 7, 1911, wherein you present a question for my consideration as follows:
“Section nine of the act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 816), creating the Postal Savings System, provides in part as follows:
“The funds received at the postal savings depository offices in each city, town, village, and other locality shall be deposited in banks located therein (substantially in proportion to the capital and surplus of each such bank) willing to receive such deposits under the terms of this Act and the regulations made by authority thereof * If no such bank exist in any city, town, village, or locality, or if none where such deposits are made will receive such deposits on the terms prescribed, then such funds shall be deposited under the terms of this Act in the bank most convenient to such locality.'
“In establishing postal savings depository offices throughout the country numerous instances have arisen where there is no local bank or none that is willing to receive postal savings funds. When there are two or more banks in a near-by city desirous of receiving these funds, all of which appear to be equally convenient since deposits are remitted by mail, doubt is entertained as to whether the total amount to be deposited should be apportioned among the several banks or assigned to one of them. For example: The post office at Red Bank, N.J., has been designated a postal savings depository. There are two national banks at that place, but neither has qualified to receive deposits of postal savings funds. At Long Branch, only a few miles distant, two banks have qualified to receive the
deposits of their own post office. It is necessary that the receipts of the Red Bank office be deposited in the near future in order that they may commence to draw interest.
“I therefore have the honor to request your opinion as to whether the provision of the postal savings act above quoted contemplates that in cases such as the one presented postal savings deposits should be apportioned among the several banks willing to receive them in the city most convenient as to locality, or whether a single bank should be selected. If you take the latter view, your opinion is further requested as to what procedure should be observed under the law in making such selection.”
Section 8 of the bill entitled “A bill to establish postal savings depositories for depositing savings at interest with the security of the Government for repayment thereof, and for other purposes” (S. 5876, 61st Cong., 2d sess.), as it was originally passed by the Senate, provided in part as follows:
“That postal savings funds received under the provisions of this act shall be deposited in any solvent bank or banks subject to public supervision and examination in the State or Territory and as nearly as practicable in the immediate neighborhood in which the funds are received at a rate of interest not less than two and one-fourth per centum per
Where more than one such bank is available the deposits shall be distributed ratably among the banks as far as practicable on the basis of their capital and surplus.”
The Report of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads of the House of Representatives (H. Rept. 1445, 61st Cong., 2d sess., p. 3, et seq.) contains an explanation of several of the provisions of section 9 of the bill as it was finally enacted into law, which section was substituted for section 8 of Senate bill No. 5876, but no reference is made to the change in the language of the provision last above quoted. In presenting the amended bill to the House, Representative Gardner, speaking in behalf of the committee having charge of the bill, carefully discussed, in detail, the purpose of the amendments contained in section 9, but did not touch upon the change in the language in the specific provision which you submit for interpretation.
I think that it is quite plain that the bill, as it was originally passed by the Senate, contemplated an apportionment of postal savings deposits among the banks available to receive them under the provisions of the bill, irrespective of whether or not such banks might be located in the same city, town, or village as the postal savings depository. The language relating to the redeposit of postal savings funds was radically changed in the amended bill in order to make the disposition of such funds more restricted and certain, but no express provision was made to meet the situation presented in your letter. However, the context of the statute does not indicate that there was any intention to limit or qualify the fundamental scheme of apportionment of such funds among the several banks located in the immediate neighborhood, or at the place most convenient to the postal savings depository, which might be available to receive the same under the terms of the act.
It was the avowed purpose of this legislation to keep the bulk of the funds received by postal savings depositories in local banking institutions, in so far as it might be practicable so to do, so that the same might become readily available to supply the legitimate demands of the local business communities. This object can be better attained by the apportionment of these deposits among a number of available banks rather than the centralization of such deposits in any one bank. The reason for this distributive policy applies with equal force when there is no bank available to receive such funds in the particular town or village in which the postal savings depository is located, and the redeposit must, therefore, be made in a qualified bank, or banks, located at the place most convenient thereto.
In the case which you submit there is no one bank most convenient to the locality in which the postal savings deposits are received, but, on the contrary, there are several banks equally convenient to such locality, and inasmuch as the act makes no provision for a selection under these circumstances, the designation of any one of the available banks must needs be purely arbitrary. Such a procedure would not be in harmony with the spirit and
purpose of the statute, and I am therefore of the opinion that postal savings deposits received at Red Bank, N. J., should be properly apportioned between the two banks at Long Branch, N. J., which have satisfied the requirements of the act. Respectfully,
J. A. FOWLER,
Acting Attorney General. The POSTMASTER GENERAL.
AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO REMIT
OR MITIGATE A SEIZURE.
The Secretary of the Treasury is without authority to remit or mitigate
a seizure made pursuant to the provisions of subsection 7 of section 28 of the act of August 5, 1909 (36 Stat., 95), on shipments of imported frozen eggs, where the appraised value of the eggs exceeded their entered value more than 75 per cent.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
October 23, 1911. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of October 5, with accompanying papers, requesting my opinion as to your authority to remit or mitigate a seizure made pursuant to the provisions of subsection 7 of section 28 of the act of August 5, 1909 (36 Stat. 95), on three shipments of frozen eggs imported at the port of New York in January, 1910.
It appears that the appraised value of the eggs exceeded their entered value more than 75 per cent, and they were seized pursuant to the requirements of said subsection 7, but that forfeiture proceedings have not yet been instituted. The importers have preferred their petition to the judge of the district court at New York for a summary investigation and the remission of the penalties pursuant to section 5292 Reyised Statutes, United States, and the findings of fact and testimony are now before you for consideration.
Said section 5292, Revised Statutes, provides that whenever any person who shall have incurred any fine, penalty, or forfeiture, or disability, or may be interested in any ves
sel or merchandise which has become subject to any seizure, forfeiture or disability, by authority of any law for imposing or collecting any duties or taxes, shall prefer his petition to the judge of the district court in which such fines, penalties, forfeitures, or disability were incurred, setting forth the circumstances and praying that the same may be mitigated or remitted; the judge shall proceed in a summary manner to inquire into the circumstances of the
case, and shall cause the facts bearing on such inquiry to be annexed to the petition and transmitted to the Secretary of the Treasury, who shall thereupon have power to mitigate or remit the fine, if, in his opinion, it was incurred without willful negligence or any intention of fraud.
Section 28 of the act of August 5, 1909 (36 Stat. 95), amending the customs administrative act of 1890, provides in subsection 7 that the importer of merchandise at the time of making his written entry thereof may add to or deduct from the cost or value stated in the invoice produced with his entry, such amount as, in his opinion, will make the entry state the actual market value of the merchandise in the markets of the country from which it was imported at the time of the exportation to the United States; that the collector shall cause the actual market value of such merchandise to be appraised, and that if such appraised value shall exceed the value declared the entry there shall be levied an additional duty of 1 per cent of the total appraised value for each 1 per cent that such appraised value exceeds the declared value, which additional duty, however, is limited to 75 per cent of the appraised value. After providing that such additional duties shall not be construed to be penal, and shall not be remitted except in cases of manifest clerical error, the section continues:
“Provided, That if the appraised value of any merchandise shall exceed the value declared in the entry by more than seventy-five per centum, except when arising from a manifest clerical error, such entry shall be held to be presumptively fraudulent, and the collector of customs shall seize such merchandise and proceed as in case of forfeiture for violation of the customs laws, and in any legal proceeding other than a criminal prosecution that may result from