The Writings of Carl Schurz/To—(unknown), June 12th, 1878

TO _______ (UNKNOWN)

Department of the Interior
, June 12, 1878.

Dear Sir: I have received your letter submitting to me the following questions connected with the circular received by you from the Congressional campaign committee asking for contributions to the campaign fund; whether you are obliged to pay such contributions; whether you are permitted to do so; and whether your doing so or not doing so will affect your official standing and prospects in this Department.

1. You receive your salary as an employee of the Government for certain services rendered in your official capacity, not as a member of a political party. The salary so earned belongs to you, and, unless taxed by law, it is in no sense subject to any assessment for any object whatever. In return for it, you are expected to perform your official duties faithfully and efficiently, nothing more. In this connection I have to call your attention to the following statutory provision (19 Statute p. 169, Sec. 6):

That all executive officers as employees of the United States not appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, are prohibited from requesting, giving to or receiving from, any other officer or employee of the Government, any money or property or other thing of value for political purposes; and any such officer or employee, who shall offend against the provisions of this section, shall be at once discharged from the service of the United States; and he shall also be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be fined in a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars.

2. You are as free as any other citizen to spend your spare money in any legitimate way you please, and as your political principles or your public spirit may suggest, provided you do not violate the above quoted provision of law either directly or indirectly.

3. Your contributing or not contributing as above stated will not affect in any manner whatever your official standing or prospects in this Department.