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Letter to the Chairman, House Committee on the District of Columbia.

September 04, 1965

[Released September 4, 1965. Dated September 3, 1965] Dear Mr. Chairman:

This will acknowledge the letter dated September 2 and signed by you and several other members of the House of Representatives Committee on the District of Columbia.

Your letter states that under H.R. 4644, the District of Columbia Charter Act shortly to be considered by the House of Representatives, "the Mayor and Council are authorized to levy annual taxes on such property" (of the United States Government). Your letter further states that the provisions in the bill for a Federal payment to the District would be in violation of the appropriations provisions of the Constitution.

These arguments were made during consideration of the bill by the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia. The Chairman of that committee, Senator Alan Bible, requested an opinion of the Justice Department on the merits of the contentions. Deputy Attorney General Ramsey Clark replied that the bill does not authorize the District of Columbia to tax Federal property and therefore does not raise a constitutional question in that regard. Further, General Clark stated, the bill does not propose an unconstitutional delegation of the appropriation power of Congress. The Senate Committee accepted this opinion, and, as you know, the Senate itself passed the measure by a heavy, bipartisan majority.

I am enclosing a copy of General Clark's reply to Senator Bible, and a detailed memorandum giving the basis for his conclusions.

Very truly yours,


[Honorable John L. McMillan, Chairman, Committee on the District of Columbia, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.]

Note: The letter was released at Austin, Tex. The enclosures referred to in the last paragraph were not made public as part of the White House release.

The letter, dated September 2, from the members of the House Committee on the District of Columbia is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 1, p. 211).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the Chairman, House Committee on the District of Columbia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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