Statement on the Sundry Civil Bill


Statement on the Sundry Civil Bill


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924




1913 June 23


Woodrow Wilson gives his statement regarding his signing of the Sundry Civil Bill.


Wilson Papers, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia


Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924--Correspondence


STATEMENT in re Sundry Civil Bill.

I have signed this bill because I can do so without in fact limiting at all the opportunity or the power of the Department of Justice to prosecute violations of the law, by whomsoever committed.
If I could have separated from the rest of the bill the item which authorizes the expenditure by the Department of Justice of a special sum of three hundred thousand dollars for the prosectuution of violations of the anti-trust law, I would have vetoed that item, because it places upon the expenditure a limitation which is, in my opinion, absolutely unjustifiable in principle. But I could not separate it; and to have to have sought to have it eliminated it from the bill before its passage¹ would have cost several weeks time, even if it had been possisble to eliminate it at all in face of the overwhelming majority of votes in the House of Representatives which were known to be behind it. If the bill had not been re-introduced in exectly the same terms as the bill of the last session, the House would have had to wait several weeks for the complete organization of its committees and the introduction and passage of the² tariff bill would have been delayed for a corresponding length of time., together with every other matters of vital consequence like the currency. What the country demands now is constructive action on lines of essential reform³I can assure the country that this item will neither limit nor in any way hinder the actions of the Department of Justice. Other appropriations supply the Department with abundant funds to enforce the law. The law will be interpreted, in the administration of the Department, not by clauses in money bills, but by judicial interpretations of the just meaning of statutes of the United Stateis.

Original Format




Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924, “Statement on the Sundry Civil Bill,” 1913 June 23, WWP17847, First Year Wilson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.