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by making void all contracts which have for their object to influence legislation in any other manner than by such open and public presentation of facts, arguments and appeals to reason as are recognized as proper and legitimate with all public bodies. While counsel may be properly employed to present the reasons in favor of any public measure to the body authorized to pass upon it, or to any of its committees empowered to collect facts and hear arguments, and parties interested may lawfully contract to
pay for this service, yet to secretly approach the members of such a body with a view to influence their action at a time and in a manner that do not allow the presentation of opposite views, is improper and unfair to the opposing interest; and a contract to pay for this irregular and improper service would not be enforced by the law.2
1 See Wildey v. Collier, 7 Md. 273; obtain a fair and open hearing. And Bryan v. Reynolds, 5 Wis. 200; Brown though these committees properly disv. Brown, 34 Barb. 533; Russell v. pense with many of the rules which Burton, 66 Barb. 539.
regulate hearings before judicial tribu2 This whole subject was very fully nals, yet common fairness requires considered in the case of Frost v. that neither party shall be permitted Inhabitants of Belmont, 6 Allen, 152, to have secret consultations, and exerwhich was a bill filed to restrain the cise secret influences that are kept payment by the town of demands to from the knowledge of the other the amount of nearly $9,000, which party. The business of lobby memthe town had voted to pay as expenses bers' is not to go fairly and openly in obtaining their act of incorporation. before the committees, and present By the court, Chapman, J.: “ It is to statements, proofs, and arguments be regretted that any persons should that the other side has an opportunity have attempted to procure an act of to meet and refute, if they ar wrong, legislation in this Commonwealth, by but to go secretly to the members and such means as some of these items ply them with statements and arguindicate. By the regular course of leg- ments that the other side cannot islation, organs are provided through openly meet, however erroneous they which any parties may fairly and may be, and to bring illegitimate inopenly approach the legislature, and fluences to bear upon them. If the be heard with proofs and arguments • lobby member' is selected because respecting any legislative acts which of his political or personal influence, they may be interested in, whether it aggravates the wrong. If his busipublic or private. These organs are ness is to unite various interests by the various committees appointed to means of projects that are called • log consider and report upon the matters rolling,' it is still worse. to be acted upon by the whole body. tice of procuring members of the legisWhen private interests are to be lature to act under the influence of affected, notice is given of the hear what they have eaten and drank at ings before these committees; and houses of entertainment, tends to thus opportunity is given to adverse render those who yield to such inparties to meet face to face and fluences wholly unfit to act in such
# The Introduction and Passage of Bills.
Any member may introduce a bill in the house to which he belongs, in accordance with its rules ; and this he may do cases. They are disqualified from The court say: 'A lawyer may be acting fairly towards interested par- entitled to compensation for writing a ties or towards the public. The ten- petition, or even for making a public dency and object of these influences argument before the legislature or a are to obtain by corruption what it is committee thereof; but the law should supposed cannot be obtained fairly. not hold him or any other person to a
" It is a well-established principle, recompense for exercising any personal that all contracts which are opposed influence in any way, in any act of to public policy, and to open, upright, legislation. It is certainly important and fair dealing, are illegal and void. to just and wise legislation, and The principle was fully discussed in therefore to the most essential interFuller 0. Dame, 18 Pick. 472. In ests of the public, that the legislature several other States it has been ap- should be perfectly free from any plied to cases quite analogous to the extraneous influence which may either present case.
corrupt or deceive the members, or * In Pingrey v. Washburn, 1 Aik. any of them.' 26!, it was held in Vermont that an "In Clippinger v. Hepbaugh, 5 agreement, on the part of a corpora- Watts & S. 315, it was decided in tion, to grant to individuals certain Pennsylvania that a contract to proprivileges in consideration that they cure or endeavor to procure the paswould withdraw their opposition to sage of an act of the legislature by the passage of a legislative act touch- using personal influence with the ing the interests of the corporation, is members, or by any sinister means, against sound policy, prejudicial to was void, as being inconsistent with just and correct legislation, and void. public policy and the integrity of our In Gulick v. Ward, 5 Halst. 87, it was political institutions. And an agreedecided in New Jersey that a contract ment for a contingent fee to be paid which contravenes an act of Congress, on the passage of a legislative act was and tends to defraud the United held to be illegal and void, because it States, is void. A. had agreed to would be a strong incentive to the give B. $100, on condition that B. exercise of personal and sinister inwould forbear to propose or offer fluences to effect the object. hiniself to the Postmaster-General to “ The subject has been twice adjucarry the mail on a certain mail dicated upon in New York. In Harroute, and it was held that the con- ris v. Roof, 10 Barb. 489, the Supreme tract was against public policy and Court held that one could not recover void. The general principle as to for services performed in going to see contracts contravening public policy individual members of the house, to was discussed in that case at much get them to aid in voting for a prilength. In Wood v. McCann, 6 Dana, vate claim, the services not being per366, the defendant had employed the formed before the house as a body plaintiff to assist him in obtaining a nor before its authorized committees. legislative act in Kentucky legalizing In Sedgwick v. Stanton, 4 Kernan, his divorce from a former wife, and 289, the court of appeals held the his marriage with bis present wife. same doctrine, and stated its proper
[* 138] at any * time when the house is in session, unless the
constitution, the law, or the rules of the house forbid.
limits. Selden, J., makes the follow- Shaw, Ch. J., recognizes the welling comments on the case of Harris v. established right to contract and pay Roof : · Now the court did not mean for professional services when the by this decision to hold that one who promisee is to act as attorney and has a claim against the State may not counsel, but remarks that the fact employ competent persons to aid him appearing that persons do so act prein properly presenting such claim to vents any injurious effects froin such the legislature, and in supporting it proceeding. Such counsel is considwith the necessary proofs and argu-. ered as standing in the place of his ments. Mr. Justice Ha who de- principal, and his arguments and replivered the opinion of the court, very resentations are weighed and considjustly distinguishes between services ered accordingly.' He also admits of the nature of those rendered in the right of disinterested persons to that case, and the procuring and pre- volunteer advice; as when a person paring the necessary documents in is about to make a will, one may support of a claim, or acting as coun- represent to him the propriety and sel before the legislature or some expediency of making a bequest to a committee appointed by that body. particular person ; and so may one Persons may, no doubt, be employed volunteer advice to another to marry to conduct an application to the legis- another person; but a promise to pay lature, as well as to conduct a suit at for such service is void. law; and may contract for and receive “ Applying the principles stated pay for their services in preparing in these cases to the bills which the documents, collecting evidence, mak- town voted to pay, it is manifest that ing statements of facts, or preparing some of the money was expended for and making oral or written argu- objects that are contrary to public ments, provided all these are used or policy, and of a most reprehensible designed to be used before the legis- character, and which could not, therelature or some committee thereof as fore, form a legal consideration for a a body; but they cannot, with pro- contract.” priety, be employed to exert their See, further, a full discussion of the personal influence with individual same subject, and reaching the same members, or to labor in any form conclusion, by Mr. Justice Grier, in privately with such members out of Marshall v. Baltimore & Ohio R. R. the legislative halls. Whatever is Co., 16 How. 314. A sale of a town laid before the legislature in writing, office, though by the town itself, canor spoken openly or publicly in its not be the consideration for a conpresence or that of a committee, if tract. Meredith v. Ladd, 2 N. H. false in fact, may be disproved, or if 517 ; see Carleton v. Whitcher, 5 wrong in argument may be refuted; N. H. 196; Eddy v. Capron, 4 R. I. but that which is whispered into the 394. A town cannot incur expenses private ear of individual members is in opposing before a legislative comfrequently beyond the reach of cor- mittee a division of the territorial rection. The point of objection in limits : Westbrook v. Deering, 63 this class of cases then is, the per- Me. 231; or to pay the expenses of sonal and private nature of the ser- a committee to procure the annexavices to be rendered.'
tion of the town to another : Minot " In Fuller v. Dame, cited above, v. West Roxbury, 112 Mass. 1; s. C.
The Constitution of Michigan* provides that no new bill (* 139]
of the bill, and the law is passed, and 1 Art. 4, § 28.
the constitution at the same time ? Art. 3, § 26. In Arkansas there saved! This trick is so transparent, is a similar provision, limiting the and so clearly in violation of the contime to three days. Art. 5, § 24. stitution, and the evidence at the
: A practice has sprung up of same time is so fully spread upon evading these constitutional provi- the record, that it is a matter of sursions by introducing a new bill after prise to find it so often resorted to. the time has expired when it may
For the same reason it is required by the constitutions of several of the States, that no bill shall have the force of law until on three several days it be read in each house, and free discussion allowed thereon ; unless, in case of urgency, four-fifths or some other specified majority of the house shall deem it expedient to dispense with this rule. The journals which each house keeps of its proceedings ought to show whether this rule is complied with or not; but in case they do not, the passage in the manner provided by the constitution must be presumed, in accordance with the gen
eral rule which presumes the proper discharge of official [* 140] duty.1 * In the reading of a bill, it seems to be sufficient
to read the written document that is adopted by the two houses ; even though something else becomes law in consequence of its passage, and by reason of being referred to in it. Thus, a statute which incorporated a military company by reference to its constitution and by-laws, was held valid not withstanding the constitution and by-laws, which would acquire the force of law by its passage, were not read in the two houses as a part of it.3
1 Supervisors of Schuyler Co. 0. readings on different days is specific, People, 25 Ill. 181; Miller v. State, and capable of being precisely com3 Ohio, n. 8. 480. In People v. plied with, and we do not see how, Starne, 35 Ill. 121, it is said the even under the rules applied to statcourts should not enforce a legisla- utes, it can be regarded as directory tive act unless there is record evi- merely, provided it has a purpose dence, from the journals of the two beyond the mere regular and orderly houses, that every material require- transaction of business. That it has ment of the constitution has been such a purpose, that it is designed to satisfied. And see Ryan v. Lynch, prevent hasty and improvident legis68 Ill. 160. The clause in the Con- lation, and is therefore not a mere stitution of Ohio is: Every bill rule of order, but one of protection shall be fully and distinctly read on to the public interests and to the three different days, unless, in case citizens at large, is very clear: and of urgency, three-fourths of the house independent of the question whether in which it shall be pending shall dis- definite constitutional principles can pense with this rule ;” and in Miller be dispensed with in any case on the v. State, 3 Ohio, n. 8. 481, and Pim ground of their being merely direcv. Nicholson, 6 Ohio, n. 8. 178, this tory, we cannot see how this can be provision was held to be merely di- treated as any thing but mandatory. rectory. The distinctness with which See People v. Campbell, 8 ml. 466 ; any bill must be read cannot possibly McCulloch v. State, 11 Ind. 424. be defined by any law; and it must al- 2 Dew v. Cunningham, 28 Ala. ways, from the necessity of the case, rest with the house to determine finally 8 Bibb County Loan Association whether in this particular the consti- v. Richards, 21 Geo. 592.
And see tution has been complied with or not; Pulford v. Fire Department, 31 Mich. but the rule respecting three several 458.