ITEMS OF INTEREST

Under a verdict of guilty, brought in by a Federal Jury in Chicago on the 13th, the Standard Oil Company is liable to fines aggregating $29,260,000. The verdict was found in the rebating case which has been on trial for six weeks, and the company was found guilty on 1,463 separate counts in the indictment, each of which calls for a fine of from $1,000 to $20,000 under the Elkins law. Only one ballot was required to find the verdict. During the trial evidence was submitted by the Government to show that while the published tariff of the railroad filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission named eighteen cents per one hundred pounds as the rate between Whiting, Ind., and East St. Louis, Ill., the Standard Oil Company of Indiana got a special rate of six cents. The defendant company pleaded that it had acted in good faith in believing that the six-cent rate had been properly filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission, and was therefore a lawful rate. It is expected that the Standard Oil Company will move for a new trial. If this is denied the probable course of action will be to ask the court for stay of judgment; and on the ground that only one violation of the act was committed in the series of shipments, it will be contended that the fine cannot exceed the maximum of $20,000. Should this stay of judgment be denied, an appeal may be made to some higher court.

The Joint Congressional Postal Commission appointed at the last session of Congress, in a formal statement bearing upon the work thus far done, favors the establishment of modern up-to-date business methods in conducting the business and keeping the accounts of the post office and postal service. "The present system was established in 1833," says the statement, "and in view of the great changes and remarkable growth of the postal business since then, it is believed that the Commission will be able, in the light of the proposed examination, to recommend to Congress a revision of the postal laws to the great advantage of the public service. It has been said by those claiming to be well informed, that a contract could be entered into with responsible parties to conduct the Post Office Department and the postal service with the same efficiency as now in vogue for one-half the cost, and the investigation now provided for will prove or disprove the correctness of such claim. The expert investigation will be prosecuted energetically to ascertain the methods employed and the sufficiency and accuracy thereof, for the purpose of collecting and guarding the revenues.

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ANSWERS FILED
April 27, 1907
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