Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

January 16, 1889

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 8469, entitled "An act for the relief of Michael Pigott."

This bill appropriates the sum of $48 to the beneficiary therein named, formerly the postmaster at Quincy, Ill., which was paid by him for the use of a telephone for the year ending June 30, 1873.

There is evidently a mistake made in the statement of the period covered by the use of this telephone, for the official term of the beneficiary extended from May 16, 1881, to June 18, 1885.

Assuming, however, that it was intended to describe the period ending June 30, 1883, it appears that the use of a telephone during that time was wholly unauthorized by the Post-Office Department, and that the only authority given for any expenditure for that purpose covered the period of one year from the 1st day of January, 1884.

The following letter, dated July 16, 1884, was sent to the beneficiary from the salary and allowance division of the Post-Office Department:

In reply to your letter relative to amounts disallowed for use of telephone for your office, you are informed that the said expenditures were made without the authority of this office, and it is therefore deemed advisable not to approve the same.

Your authority for a telephone was for one year beginning January 1, 1884. At the expiration of the time named, if you desire to continue the telephone service, you should make application to the First Assistant Postmaster-General for a renewal of the same.

The multitude of claims of the same kind which the legislation proposed would breed and encourage, and the absolute necessity, in the interest of good administration, of limiting all public officers to authorized expenditures, constrain me to withhold my approval from this bill.


Grover Cleveland, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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