Title: W. A. Field to George S. Boutwell, 24 June 1869
Date: June 24, 1869
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: National Archives and Records Administration
Whitman Archive ID: nar.01929
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Joshua Ware, John Schwaninger, and Nima Najafi Kianfar
June 24, 1869.
Secretary of the Treasury.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23d inst. with accompanying papers, all relating to the case of William Corning, of New York, arising under the Internal Revenue laws. I understand from the papers that one or more indictments have been presented against Corning, charging him with knowingly making false returns of income, and that in compromise of his liability therefor, and of the suit or suits, he proposes to pay in all the sum of $3500, and costs. I do not find in the papers any report, or expression of opinion from the District Attorney having charge of the suit or suits. One reason why the law requires the recommendation of the Attorney General before a compromise can be made of any Internal Revenue case, after a suit or proceeding in Court has been commenced, is that he may determine the propriety of compromising any suit by considering the effect of it upon the general administration of the law, by proceedings in court. The District Attorney having charge of the suit is the local officer whose opinion in this respect especially deserves consideration.
[continued on p. 545 seq.]
His opinion, too, upon the question whether a suit of which he has charge can, or can not be successfully prosecuted, ought to be at least of as much value as that of any other person. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue has authority to require a Report upon any Internal Revenue suit from any District Attorney who has charge of it—and although from the authority given to the Attorney General over District Attorneys, I have no doubt he can also require such a Report, it seems to me better that this Report should be made to the Commissioner, and sent to this office with the other papers relating to the case.
There may be cases where it is desirable that the making of the compromise should not be delayed to await a Report from the District Attorney, or where even it is not desirable that he be called upon to make any Report—and such cases I shall be happy to consider without requiring any Report from him; but in the case presented by your letter of the 23d inst. I think it desirable that the opinion of the District Attorney be asked for. I accordingly return herewith the papers in the case of Corning, that, if you concur with me in thinking that the opinion of the District Attorney in this case should be asked for, and that it is the more convenient practice that this be done by the Commissioner, the Commissioner may take such action.
After this has been done, I shall be pleased to give the case immediate attention, if it is again sent to me. If you do not concur with me in the suggestion I have made, I will, on the papers being sent again to me, decide upon the case.
Very Respectfully yours,
W. A. Field,
Acting Attorney General.