The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEINFELD
The defendants move for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the Government's case of the various counts contained in two separate indictments which have been consolidated and tried together. The motion is made pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure on the ground the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction of offenses charged.
The indictment charges the defendant Quinn who was a member of Congress from January 1, 1946 to December 31, 1951, as a principal with violation of Section 281 of Title 18, and also charges that defendants Schwaeber and Saver, who were his partners in the practice of law at various times, with aiding and abetting in the commission of the offense. Section 281 in substances makes it illegal for a member of Congress to receive or agree to receive compensation for services rendered or to be rendered in any matter before a Federal department or bureau in which the Government is interested, whether he personally or another performs the services.
In this case the charges is the receipt of compensation. The broad objective of the Act is to secure the integrity of executive action against undue influence of members of Congress upon executive officers and to insure efficiency in the conduct of public affairs. It was felt that the absence of pecuniary gain to members of Congress would reduce or eliminate any undue influence upon executive officers or employees in those matters where they appeared before such executive officials.
The issue presented in this case is novel, as Government counsel concede, in that it is the first prosecution under that statute where admittedly the defendant Quinn as a member of Congress did not personally appear nor render services before the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Bureau involved, on behalf of any taxpayer or in any proceeding, with but one single exception, to which I shall make reference. All the services before the Bureau were rendered by either Quinn's law partners, co-defendants Schwaeber or Saver, or associates of the firm. It is acknowledged that none of the clients have retained him, met him or in general that he had any contact with them. However, this circumstance in and of itself is no bar to a prosecution, providing that the Government establishes prima facie the essential elements of the offense sufficient to send the case to the jury.
Section 281 of Title 18 of the United States Code, in so far as applicable, provides:
'Whoever, being a Member of * * * Congress * * * directly or indirectly receives or agrees to receive, any compensation for any services rendered or to be rendered, either by himself or another, in relation to any proceeding, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other matter in which the United States is a party or directly or indirectly interested, before any department, agency, court martial, officer, or any civil, military, or naval commission, shall be fined not more than $ 10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.'
Count 1 of the indictment charges as follows:
'Commencing on or about the first day of January, 1949, and continuing thereafter until about the 31st day of December, 1951, and at the several times of committing the offenses hereafter set forth in this indictment, T. Vincent Quinn was a member of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States of America, being representative of the Fifth Congressional District of New York, and also, at the several times of committing the offenses hereafter set forth in this indictment, was engaged as equal copartner in the practice of law in partnerships with Martin Schwaeber and James D. Saver, at times using the law firm name of Schwaeber, Quinn and Saver, and at other times using the law firm name of Quinn and Saver, but at all times herein maintaining a bank account at the Bank of the Manhattan Company, 40 Wall Street, New York, New York, in the name of Schwaeber, Quinn and Saver, and after March 12, 1951, maintaining a bank account at the Chase National Bank, 60 East 42nd Street, New York, New York, in the name of Quinn and Saver.
'(2) During the period of time from about January 1950, until about December, 1951, there was under investigation and consideration by the Bureau of Internal Revenue of the United States Treasury Department a certain matter consisting of a controversy, charge, accusation and proceeding relating to income taxes due and payable on the income of Daniel D. Zell and Sophie B. Zell, for the year 1945, to which matter the United States was a party and in which it was directly and indirectly interested.
'(3) At New York, New York, in the Southern District of New York, and on or about July 12, 1950, T. Vincent Quinn, herein named a defendant, being duly elected a member of Congress and after his election and during his continuance in office, acting jointly and in concert with James D. Saver, also herein named a defendant, said defendant james D. Saver aiding, abetting, counseling, inducing and procuring said defendant T. Vincent Quinn so to act, unlawfully did receive, directly and indirectly from Sophie B. Zell, compensation for services rendered and to be rendered by him, the said T. Vincent Quinn, and others, to wit, members of the law firm of Quinn and Saver and employees and associates of said law firm, in relation to the aforesaid matter, in which the United States was a party and was directly and indirectly interested, before the Bureau of Internal Revenue of the United States Treasury Department, said defendants well knowing that the United States was a party to said matter and was directly and indirectly interested therein, to wit, compensation in the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($ 7,500.00) by means of a certain check (and then the check is described) to the order of James D. Saver, which check was endorsed by said James D. Saver for deposit to the account of Schwaeber, Quinn and Saver and was deposited on or about July 11, 1950, by the said T. Vincent Quinn and James d. Saver in said law firm account of Schwaeber, Quinn and Saver, in the Bank of the Manhattan Company, 40 Wall Street, New York, New York, and on or about July 12, 1950, final payment of said check in the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($ 7,500.00) was received by said T. Vincent Quinn and James D. Saver from the Chase National Bank at New York, New York, in the Southern Judicial District of New York and within the jurisdiction of this court, from the funds of said Sophie B. Zell, there and then on deposit, said compensation being received in return for services rendered and to be rendered by members of the law firm of Quinn and Saver, and associates and employees of said law firm, said services consisting of obtaining information pertaining to said income tax matter from officers and employees of the Bureau of Internal Revenue of the Treasury Department, and other officers and employees of the United States, as well as interceding and conferring with said officers and employees, presenting arguments, assertions and allegations, and otherwise acting on behalf of Daniel D. Zell and Sophie B. Zell, to influence and persuade the aforesaid officers and employees in order to obtain favorable decisions and actions in and upon such controversy, charges, accusation and proceeding.'
This first of the second indictment is the only one in which the defendant Schwaeber is not also named as a defendant, as an aider and abettor.
The remaining counts of the indictments are all of similar import, except the alleged violation is charged with respect to different matters and on different dates.
The key problem on this motion is what are the essential elements which the Government must establish and whether there is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable person might conclude that the essential elements have been established.
I hold that under the statute, and the indictment as drawn in this case, the essential elements which the prosecution must establish are:
(1) that the defendant Quinn was a member of Congress at the times referred to in the indictment. It is conceded that he was such a member of Congress from January 1, 1949 to December 31, 1951.
(2) That the defendant Quinn received, directly or indirectly, compensation derived from one or more of the matters ...