A-16819, FEBRUARY 11, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 517

A-16819: Feb 11, 1927

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366 OF THE REVISED STATUTES AND IS NOT AUTHORIZED. CLERICAL SERVICES IN THE PREPARATION OF ABSTRACTS OF TITLE ARE FOR PERFORMANCE BY THE REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED. " A SUPPLEMENTAL CONTRACT TO FURNISH DATA THAT WERE NOT CONTAINED IN THE LAND RECORDS THEMSELVES WAS WITHOUT BENEFIT OR CONSIDERATION MOVING TO THE UNITED STATES AND IS THEREFORE VOID. THE HIRING OF ATTORNEYS BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO PROCURE THE EVIDENCE THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED BY CLAIMANTS CONTRAVENES SECTION 109 OF THE CRIMINAL CODE. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT OF BALANCES OF $500 EACH REMAINING UNPAID ON TWO CONTRACTS. - TO TAKE SUCH STEPS AS MAY IN HIS JUDGMENT BE NECESSARY FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE OWNERS OF PROPERTY OR RIGHTS WHATSOEVER THEREIN * * * FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASCERTAINING THE JUST COMPENSATION TO WHICH SAID OWNERS ARE ENTITLED * * *.

A-16819, FEBRUARY 11, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 517

PERSONAL SERVICES - SUPPLEMENTAL CONTRACTS - AID TO CLAIMANTS THE HIRING BY THE GOVERNMENT OF A FIRM OF ATTORNEYS TO FURNISH ABSTRACTS OF TITLE, LOCATE OWNERS, AND TO RENDER EVERY ASSISTANCE IN THEIR POWER TO CLEAR TITLE OF DEFECTS AND CLOUDS CONSTITUTES THE EMPLOYMENT OF ATTORNEYS OR COUNSEL IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTIONS 189, 365, AND 366 OF THE REVISED STATUTES AND IS NOT AUTHORIZED. CLERICAL SERVICES IN THE PREPARATION OF ABSTRACTS OF TITLE ARE FOR PERFORMANCE BY THE REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, OR BY LOAN OF EMPLOYEES FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS, OR BY TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL-SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS. WHERE AN ORIGINAL CONTRACT REQUIRED THE CONTRACTORS TO FURNISH "EVERY ASSISTANCE IN THEIR POWER" AND TO "PERFORM * * * ALL WORK IN CONNECTION WITH ADJUSTING AND SETTLING THE CLAIMS * * * IN ORDER THAT * * * THE LAND RECORDS IN EACH INSTANCE MAY BE CLEARED OF DEFECTS AND CLOUDS," A SUPPLEMENTAL CONTRACT TO FURNISH DATA THAT WERE NOT CONTAINED IN THE LAND RECORDS THEMSELVES WAS WITHOUT BENEFIT OR CONSIDERATION MOVING TO THE UNITED STATES AND IS THEREFORE VOID. WHERE AN ACT OF CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION TAKING POSSESSION OF CERTAIN LANDS FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES VEST TITLE THERETO IN THE UNITED STATES, PERSONS CLAIMING COMPENSATION AS OWNERS MUST SUPPLY ALL EVIDENCE NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH THEIR CLAIMS, AND THE HIRING OF ATTORNEYS BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO PROCURE THE EVIDENCE THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED BY CLAIMANTS CONTRAVENES SECTION 109 OF THE CRIMINAL CODE, ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909, 35 STAT. 1107.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, FEBRUARY 11, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 23, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT OF BALANCES OF $500 EACH REMAINING UNPAID ON TWO CONTRACTS, DATED MARCH 20, 1919, AND OCTOBER 9, 1919, RESPECTIVELY, WITH TALBIRD AND JENKINS, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, FOR FURNISHING ABSTRACTS OF TITLE, ASSISTING IN MATTERS CONCERNING TITLES, AND ADJUSTING AND SETTLING CLAIMS, IN THE TAKING BY THE UNITED STATES OF CERTAIN LANDS ON PARRIS ISLAND AND ADJACENT ISLANDS IN SOUTH CAROLINA.

THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1918, 40 STAT. 724, AUTHORIZED THE PRESIDENT TO ACQUIRE ALL OF THE REMAINING PORTION OF PARRIS ISLAND FOR THE ENLARGEMENT OF THE MARINE RECRUITING STATION AT PORT ROYAL, S.C., AND EXPRESSLY PROVIDED (40 STAT. 738) THAT UPON THE TAKING OVER OF SAID PROPERTY BY THE PRESIDENT THE TITLE TO ALL PROPERTY SO TAKEN OVER SHOULD IMMEDIATELY VEST IN THE UNITED STATES. UNDER PROCLAMATION OF AUGUST 7, 1918, 40 STAT. 1820, THE PRESIDENT TOOK TITLE TO, AND AUTHORIZED THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY TO TAKE POSSESSION OF, CERTAIN LANDS ON PARRIS ISLAND AND DIRECTED THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY---

TO TAKE SUCH STEPS AS MAY IN HIS JUDGMENT BE NECESSARY FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE OWNERS OF PROPERTY OR RIGHTS WHATSOEVER THEREIN * * * FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASCERTAINING THE JUST COMPENSATION TO WHICH SAID OWNERS ARE ENTITLED * * *.

THE PROCLAMATION NOTIFIED ALL THE OWNERS TO APPEAR BEFORE THE BOARD APPOINTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND TO PRESENT THEIR CLAIMS. UNDER DATE OF MARCH 20, 1919, AN AGREEMENT WAS ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE SENIOR MEMBER OF THE BOARD APPOINTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND THOMAS TALBIRD AND HEYWARD JENKINS, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, CONTAINING THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS:

1. THAT FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION OF THE SUM OF FIFTEEN HUNDRED ($1,500.00) DOLLARS LAWFUL MONEY OF THE UNITED STATES TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT TO THE ATTORNEYS, IN THE MANNER HEREINAFTER PROVIDED, THE ATTORNEYS AGREEING TO FURNISH THE GOVERNMENT WITH A FULL AND SATISFACTORY ABSTRACT OR ABSTRACTS OF TITLE TO ALL OF THE LANDS SITUATE, LYING AND BEING ON PARRIS ISLAND, IN THE COUNTY OF BEAUFORT AND IN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND THE SMALL ISLANDS ADJACENT THERETO WHICH HAVE BEEN TAKEN OVER BY THE GOVERNMENT BY PROCLAMATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DATED AUGUST 7, 1918, DELINEATED IN SAID PROCLAMATION ISSUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED JULY 1, 1918.

2. IT IS UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT THE ABSTRACT OR ABSTRACTS TO BE FURNISHED HEREUNDER WILL SHOW EVERYTHING AVAILABLE DOWN TO AND INCLUDING SEPTEMBER 19, 1918, THE DATE ON WHICH THE TITLE TO THE TRACTS OF LAND IN QUESTION BECAME VESTED IN THE UNITED STATES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID ACT OF CONGRESS, SUCH INFORMATION TO BE IN SUBSTANTIAL ACCORD WITH THAT CALLED FOR IN PRINTED COPY OF THE REGULATIONS DATED JULY 1, 1918, OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, RELATING TO THE TITLE TO LANDS ACQUIRED BY THE UNITED STATES, A COPY OF WHICH REGULATIONS IS ATTACHED HERETO AND MADE A PART OF THIS AGREEMENT.

3. IT IS FURTHER UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT THE ATTORNEYS ARE TO FURNISH THE GOVERNMENT WITH EVERY ASSISTANCE IN THEIR POWER IN RESPECT TO MATTERS CONCERNING THE TITLE TO SAID TRACTS INCLUDING THE FURNISHING OF COPIES OF SUCH MAPS OR PLATS AS MAY BE CALLED FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT.

4. IT IS FURTHER AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD THAT THE ATTORNEYS WILL PERFORM UNDER THE GENERAL SUPERVISION OF AND INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY ALL WORK IN CONNECTION WITH ADJUSTING AND SETTLING THE CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES ARISING OUT OF THE TAKING OVER OF THE SAID TRACTS OF LAND IN ORDER THAT IN SO FAR AS PRACTICABLE THE LAND RECORDS IN EACH INSTANCE MAY BE CLEARED OF DEFECTS AND CLOUDS AND THAT THE RIGHTFUL CLAIMANT AS SHOWN BY THE RECORDS MAY RECEIVE ON THE EARLIEST DAY PRACTICABLE THE COMPENSATION TO WHICH HE IS ENTITLED.

IT BEING UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT THE WORK HEREUNDER CONTEMPLATED TO BE PERFORMED BY THE ATTORNEYS IS TO INCLUDE THE PREPARING AND FURNISHING BY THE SAID ATTORNEYS TO THE RESPECTIVE CLAIMANTS THE APPROVED INSTRUMENTS TO BE EXECUTED BY THEM; THE RECORDATION AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES OF SAID INSTRUMENTS UPON THEIR DUE EXECUTION; THE LOOKING AFTER THE DETAILS OF HAVING SATISFIED AND RELEASED OF RECORD AT THE EXPENSE OF THE CLAIMANTS ALL UNRELEASED DEEDS OF TRUST, JUDGMENTS, AND OTHER ENCUMBRANCES WHATSOEVER THAT MAY BE OUTSTANDING AGAINST THE PARTICULAR PARCEL OF PROPERTY; TO SEE TO THE PAYMENT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE CLAIMANT OF ALL TAXES AGAINST A PARTICULAR PARCEL OF THE PROPERTY; THE BRINGING DOWN TO THE DATE OF EACH SETTLEMENT OF THE ABSTRACT AS FURNISHED, SHOWING THAT THE TITLE OF RECORD OF THE UNITED STATES IS CLEAR AND UNINCUMBERED AND IS NOT AFFECTED BY PROCEEDINGS IN BANKRUPTCY OR OTHER PROCEEDINGS OR JUDGMENTS OF THE FEDERAL COURTS; AND THE RETURN TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ALL PAPERS RELATING TO THE MATTER.

5. IT IS FURTHER UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS TO FURNISH THE ATTORNEYS WITH APPROPRIATE FORMS OF INSTRUMENTS, RUNNING TO THE UNITED STATES, TO BE EXECUTED AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME BY EACH CLAIMANT.

6. IT IS FURTHER UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT THE ATTORNEYS SHALL NOT BE CALLED UPON TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING LEGAL QUESTIONS THAT MAY ARISE IN THE COURSE OF EFFECTING SETTLEMENTS, BUT THAT ALL SUCH QUESTIONS SHALL BE DETERMINED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

7. THE CONSIDERATION HEREIN PROVIDED FOR IS TO BE PAID AS FOLLOWS: TWO- THIRDS ( 2/3 ( OF THE AMOUNT THEREOF TO BECOME DUE AS SOON AS THE ATTORNEYS HAVE FURNISHED THE GOVERNMENT WITH A SATISFACTORY ABSTRACT OR ABSTRACTS OF TITLE TO SUCH TRACTS OF LAND AND TO BE PAYABLE IN DUE COURSE THEREAFTER; THE REMAINING ONE-THIRD ( 1/3 ( OF THE AMOUNT TO BECOME DUE UPON THE SATISFACTORY COMPLETION BY THE ATTORNEYS OF THE WORK HEREIN PROVIDED FOR AND TO BE PAYABLE IN DUE COURSE THEREAFTER.

8. IT IS FURTHER UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT IN CASE SUIT OR SUITS ARE FILED BY OR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, FOR OR ON ACCOUNT OF MATTERS ARISING OUT OF THE TAKING OVER OF TITLE TO THE SAID TRACTS OF LAND BY THE UNITED STATES, THEN AND IN THAT EVENT THE ATTORNEYS, IF CALLED UPON, WILL FURNISH THE GOVERNMENT FREE OF ADDITIONAL CHARGE SUCH SUPPLEMENTAL ABSTRACT OR ABSTRACTS AS MAY BE CALLED FOR BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES FOR USE IN THE PROSECUTION OR DEFENSE OF SUCH SUIT OR SUITS.

ON OCTOBER 9, 1919, A SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT WAS ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE SAME PARTIES CONTAINING THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS:

WHEREAS THE RECORD TITLE TO THE SEVERAL TRACTS OF LAND WITHIN THE AREA DELINEATED IN SAID PROCLAMATION IS IN SUCH SHAPE AS TO REQUIRE THE PROCUREMENT OF A LARGE AMOUNT OF DATA FROM SOURCES ENTIRELY OUTSIDE OF THE LAND RECORDS OF BEAUFORT COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA, IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH A SATISFACTORY TITLE IN A PARTICULAR CLAIMANT;

NOW, THEREFORE, WITNESSETH AS FOLLOWS:

1. THAT FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION OF THE SUM OF ONE THOUSAND ($1,000) DOLLARS, LAWFUL MONEY OF THE UNITED STATES, TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT TO THE ATTORNEYS IN THE MANNER HEREINAFTER PROVIDED, THE ATTORNEYS AGREE TO USE EVERY REASONABLE EFFORT TO OBTAIN SUCH AFFIDAVITS AND OTHER PAPERS AND DATA OUTSIDE OF THE RECORDS AS MAY BE ASKED FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT IN ORDER THAT A TITLE TO EACH OF THE SEVERAL TRACTS OF LAND EMBRACED WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES DESCRIBED IN SAID PROCLAMATION MAY BE CLEARED UP IN SO FAR AS PRACTICABLE.

2. IT IS UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT THE ATTORNEYS WILL, AS CALLED UPON BY THE GOVERNMENT, AFFORD EVERY ASSISTANCE IN THEIR POWER TO THE UNITED STATES DISBURSING OFFICER IN EFFECTING FINAL SETTLEMENT OF THE SEVERAL CLAIMS ARISING OUT OF THE TAKING OVER OF THE LANDS DESCRIBED IN THE AFORESAID PROCLAMATION, INCLUDING PARTICULARLY THE MAKING OF A SATISFACTORY IDENTIFICATION OF THE SEVERAL CLAIMANTS THAT MAY BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE COMPENSATION FROM THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE PROPERTY TAKEN.

3. IT IS FURTHER UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT THE CORRESPONDENCE AND INSTRUCTIONS TO CLAIMANTS AND OTHERS RELATING TO THESE CLAIMS WILL BE MAILED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

4. IT IS FURTHER UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED THAT THIS AGREEMENT SHALL IN NO MANNER, EXCEPT AS HEREIN PROVIDED FOR, MODIFY THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE AGREEMENT DATED MARCH 20, 1919, BY AND BETWEEN THE SAME PARTIES FOR THE FURNISHING OF AN ABSTRACT OF TITLE TO THE LAND ON PARRIS ISLAND.

THE CONSIDERATION HEREIN PROVIDED FOR IS TO BE PAID AS FOLLOWS: ONE HALF ( 1/2 ( OF THE AMOUNT THEREOF TO BECOME DUE AS SOON AS SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN EFFECTED WITH FIFTY (50 PERCENT) PERCENT OF THE CLAIMANTS AND TO BE PAYABLE IN DUE COURSE THEREAFTER, THE REMAINING ONE-HALF ( 1/2 ( OF THE AMOUNT TO BECOME DUE AS SOON AS THE GOVERNMENT HAS DETERMINED THAT EVERY REASONABLE EFFORT HAS BEEN MADE TO SETTLE ALL REMAINING CLAIMS, AND TO BE PAYABLE IN DUE COURSE THEREAFTER.

AS THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT REQUIRED THE CONTRACTORS TO FURNISH THE GOVERNMENT WITH "EVERY ASSISTANCE IN THEIR POWER" AND TO "PERFORM * * * ALL WORK IN CONNECTION WITH ADJUSTING AND SETTLING THE CLAIMS * * * IN ORDER THAT * * * THE LAND RECORDS IN EACH INSTANCE MAY BE CLEARED OF DEFECTS AND CLOUDS," THERE WAS NO ADDITIONAL BENEFIT OR CONSIDERATION PASSING TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT WHICH WAS ACCORDINGLY VOID AND OF NO EFFECT. WITH RESPECT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE ORIGINAL AND ALLEGED SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENTS YOU STATE AS FOLLOWS:

WITH REFERENCE TO THE SAID AGREEMENT OF MARCH 20, 1919, FULL AND SATISFACTORY ABSTRACTS OF TITLE COVERING THE SEVERAL PARCELS OF LAND TAKEN OVER WERE DULY FURNISHED TO THE GOVERNMENT AND PAYMENT OF $1,000.00 UNDER AUTHORITY OF PARAGRAPH 7 THEREOF HAS BEEN MADE. REQUEST FOR PAYMENT OF THE UNPAID BALANCE OF $500.00 IS NOW BEFORE THE NAVY DEPARTMENT. OF THE TOTAL NUMBER OF APPROXIMATELY 250 CLAIMANTS DISCLOSED BY THE LAND RECORDS AS HAVING AN INTEREST IN THIS PROPERTY AT THE TIME OF ITS TAKING FULL AND FINAL SETTLEMENTS HAVE BEEN EFFECTED IN ABOUT 190 CASES, PARTIAL SETTLEMENTS HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED IN ABOUT 30 CASES AND IN THE OTHER 30 MORE OR LESS CASES NO SETTLEMENT HAS BEEN POSSIBLE. THIS IS DUE ALMOST ENTIRELY TO THE FACT THAT THE CLAIMANTS OF RECORD HAVE DIED INTESTATE AND THE HEIRS HAVE NOT BEEN LOCATED ALTHOUGH DILIGENT EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO DO SO. THE NECESSARY INFORMATION AS TO THE INTEREST ANY OF SUCH MISSING HEIRS MAY HAVE IN SAID PROPERTY IS NOW IN THE POSSESSION OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT AND IN THE EVENT THAT ANY OF SUCH HEIRS HEREAFTER MAKE CLAIM FOR THEIR SHARE THE WORK OF ADJUSTING AND SETTLING SAID CLAIMS CAN BE HANDLED PERHAPS MORE EXPEDITIOUSLY BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT DIRECT THAN BY DEALING THROUGH THE FIRM OF TALBIRD AND JENKINS. WHILE, TECHNICALLY SPEAKING, IT MAY BE SAID THAT DUE TO SAID REMAINING UNSETTLED CLAIMS SAID FIRM HAS NOT PERFORMED ALL THE WORK THAT COULD BE REQUIRED OF IT UNDER A LITERAL READING OF THE CONTRACT, NEVERTHELESS, FOR THE REASONS STATED ABOVE, THE NAVY DEPARTMENT REGARDS THE WORK REQUIRED BY SAID CONTRACTS AS HAVING BEEN PERFORMED AS FAR AS PRACTICABLE. WITH REFERENCE TO A STRICT INTERPRETATION OF THE CONTRACT, IT MAY BE SAID THAT OWING TO THE LACK OF INFORMATION AS TO THE IDENTITY AND THE WHEREABOUTS OF HEIRS IN THE UNSETTLED CASES IMPOSSIBILITY OF FULL SETTLEMENT IS NOT AN IMPROBABLE CONTINGENCY, AND THAT THE CONTRACTS SHOULD BE INTERPRETED WITH THIS CONTINGENCY IN VIEW.

UNDER SAID SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT OF OCTOBER 9, 1919, THE AMOUNT OF $500.00 WAS PAID AFTER SETTLEMENT HAD BEEN EFFECTED WITH 50 PERCENT OF THE CLAIMANTS AS PROVIDED BY PARAGRAPH 4 THEREOF. AS TO THE UNPAID BALANCE OF $500.00, THE NAVY DEPARTMENT FOR THE REASONS ABOVE STATED AFFECTING THE PRINCIPAL CONTRACT CONSIDERS THAT EVERY REASONABLE EFFORT HAS BEEN MADE BY THE MESSRS. TALBIRD AND JENKINS TO SETTLE ALL REMAINING CLAIMS.

EVEN ASSUMING THAT THE CONTRACTS IN QUESTION WERE AUTHORIZED AND LEGAL, THE CONTRACTORS HAVE BEEN PAID ALL THAT THE CONTRACTS CALLED FOR PRIOR TO THE FINAL COMPLETION AND SETTLEMENT OF ALL OF THE CLAIMS INVOLVED. THE COMPLETION OF 190 OUT OF 250 CLAIMS CAN NOT BE SAID TO BE A SUBSTANTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE AGREEMENT. THE CONTRACTS ARE, HOWEVER, OPEN TO FURTHER OBJECTION FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS HEREINAFTER SET FORTH.

UNDER THE ACT OF CONGRESS AUTHORIZING THE ACQUISITION OF THESE LANDS THE TITLE OF THE TRACTS IN QUESTION VESTED IN THE UNITED STATES IMMEDIATELY UPON THE ISSUANCE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION, THE OWNERS OF THE LANDS HAVING ONLY THE RIGHT TO FILE A CLAIM FOR JUST COMPENSATION THEREFOR, AND THE CLAIMANTS WERE DIRECTED BY THAT PROCLAMATION TO PRESENT THEIR CLAIMS FOR COMPENSATION. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE NECESSITY FOR THE UNITED STATES GOING TO THE EXPENSE OF PROCURING ABSTRACTS, ETC., OR OTHERWISE AIDING CLAIMANTS IN ESTABLISHING THEIR CLAIMS IS NOT APPARENT. IT WAS, AND IS, THE DUTY OF ALL CLAIMANTS TO PRESENT ALL EVIDENCE NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH THEIR CLAIMS TO COMPENSATION FOR THE LANDS SO TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE CONTRACTING WITH ATTORNEYS TO PROCURE ABSTRACTS, IDENTIFY THE CLAIMANTS, ETC., UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES WAS UNNECESSARY AND CONSTITUTED THE RENDERING OF SUCH ASSISTANCE TO CLAIMANTS IN PROSECUTING THEIR CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHICH IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 5498, REVISED STATUTES, AS REENACTED IN SECTION 109 OF THE UNITED STATES CRIMINAL CODE, ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909, 35 STAT. 1107. SECTIONS 189, 365, AND 366, REVISED STATUTES, PROHIBIT THE EMPLOYMENT OF ATTORNEYS OR COUNSEL EXCEPT UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS THEREIN SPECIFIED. WHILE THE EMPLOYMENT OF CLERICAL ASSISTANCE FOR THE PREPARATION OF ABSTRACTS OF TITLE WOULD NOT CONTRAVENE THESE SECTIONS OF THE REVISED STATUTES, THE CONTRACTS IN THIS CASE WERE FOR SERVICES IN EXCESS OF THOSE ORDINARILY PERFORMED IN FURNISHING ABSTRACTS OF TITLE AND THE MERE FACT THAT THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT NEGATIVED THE DETERMINING OF "LEGAL QUESTIONS" BY THE CONTRACTORS, WHO ARE SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFIED IN THE CONTRACTS AS ATTORNEYS AT LAW, DOES NOT ESTABLISH THE SERVICES CONTRACTED FOR TO BE OTHER THAN SUCH AS ATTORNEYS ARE USUALLY OR FREQUENTLY EMPLOYED TO FURNISH DUE TO THEIR SPECIAL TRAINING IN SUCH MATTERS AND THEY ARE THEREFORE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE SECTIONS OF THE REVISED STATUTES LAST ABOVE CITED. 4 COMP. GEN. 386.

ASSUMING, ARGUENDO, THAT THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT THE SERVICES COULD BE CONSIDERED OTHER THAN THE SERVICES OF ATTORNEYS, THEY WOULD, UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, CONSTITUTE PERSONAL SERVICES SUCH AS ARE FOR PERFORMANCE BY REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, OR BY THE LOAN OF EMPLOYEES FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS, OR BY TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES EMPLOYED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS. SEE 2 COMP. GEN. 544; 3 ID. 720; 4 ID. 357 AND 710; 5 ID. 231, 417, 450, 629, AND 968; 6 ID. 84, 134, 181, 324, 364, AND PARTICULARLY RECENT DECISIONS TO YOU, 6 COMP. GEN. 51 AND 140.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, NO FURTHER PAYMENTS TO THE ATTORNEYS IN QUESTION ARE AUTHORIZED FOR PAST OR FUTURE SERVICES OF THE NATURE COVERED BY THE CONTRACTS IN QUESTION.