Purchase and Sale of Federal Offices

January 6, 1927

Report Outline
Recent Charges of Barter of Federal Offices
Political Influence in Appointments
Laws on Assessment and Barter of Offices

Two bills aimed against the purchase and sale of federal offices, passed by both houses in the closing hours of the last session of Congress without debate, were signed by President Coolidge, December 11, 1926. These measures, although they constituted the most important addition to the federal statutes dealing with patronage evils since the passage of the civil service law in 1883, attracted little public attention either at the time they were passed or when they were approved by the President.

The first of the new acts is a blanket prohibition of the payment, solicitation or receipt by any person of any sum of money or other thing of value for the purpose of procuring an appointment under the Government of the United States.

The second act requires the filing of an affidavit by every person appointed to a federal office stating that “neither he nor anyone acting in his behalf has given, transferred, promised or paid any consideration for or in the expectation or hope of receiving assistance in securing such appointment.” No salary may be paid to the appointee until the required affidavit has been filed.

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