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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government


The New York Times
April 9, 1914

Washington Officials and Families Use Many Autos and Carriages.

Special to The New York Times.

WASHINGTON, April 8.—Sharp criticism by Senators of executive officers for devoting automobiles and carriages attached to their departments to the private use of themselves and their families recently induced Senator Martin, of Virginia, Chairman of the Committee on appropriations, to inquire into the matter.

To-day the codified information he received showed that the Governments of the United States and of the District of Columbia owned in all 341 passenger motor vehicles and 2,386, horse-drawn passenger carriages of various kinds.

All of these vehicles were explained as being for the official use of the officers of the Government whose duties require them to move about.  Many of the vehicles are used, however, at odd times by the families of officials.

For Secretary of State Bryan three vehicles have been provided, a victoria, a surrey and a brougham at a total cost of $2,000.  This, Mr. Bryan's memorandum explained, was an average cost of $666.66 a vehicle.

The total cost of the motor vehicles listed was $404,637.35.  The total cost of horse-drawn carriages was $452,362.94.  Many of them are of obsolete model.  Most of these vehicles were bought with money especially appropriated for the purpose, but Secretary of Labor Wilson reported that he had bought an automobile for about $1,000, charging it to the contingent expenses of his department.

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