Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 26, 1896

To the House of Representatives:

I return herewith without approval House bill No. 7161, entitled "An act for the relief of Benjamin F. Jones."

This bill directs the payment to the beneficiary, late postmaster at Beauregard, Miss., or to his order, of the sum of $50, in full compensation for services and expenses in carrying and distributing the mails between Wesson and Beauregard, in the State of Mississippi, in 1883.

It appears from the report of the House committee recommending the passage of this bill that on April 22, 1883, while Mr. Jones was postmaster at Beauregard, a cyclone destroyed every building in the place, including that in which the post-office was kept; that in consequence of this disaster the mails for Beauregard were for a period of thirty-five days, and until May 27, 1883, deposited at Wesson, 1 mile distant; that during that time it became necessary to transport such mails from Wesson to Beauregard, and that the postmaster caused this to be done, at an expense of $97.

A report from the Postmaster-General discloses the fact that this claim was presented to the Department in 1884 and was rejected on the ground that if the service was performed as alleged it was not authorized or directed by the Department.

In 1885 a suit was instituted against this postmaster and his sureties for a balance due the Government from him on his official accounts for the quarter ending June 30, 1883.

It will be observed that this quarter covered the period within which the alleged services were performed.

In the suit referred to a judgment was recovered by the Government against the postmaster for $190.45, being the balance found due from him. This judgment still remains unpaid.

In this condition of affairs it is quite plain that in fairness and justice no appropriation should be made in favor of the claimant.

It is the opinion of the Auditor of the Post-Office Department that even if this bill becomes a law payment of the money appropriated should be withheld under a section of the Revised Statutes which provides:

No money shall be paid to any person for his compensation who is in arrears to the United States until he has accounted for and paid into the Treasury all sums for which he may be liable.


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

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