Section 590a of 18 U.S.C.A. was enacted August 24, 1942, as a separate and distinct Act of Congress (Public Law 706, 77th Congress, 56 Stat. 747), to suspend temporarily the running of statutes of limitations applicable to offenses involving defrauding or attempts to defraud the United States or any agency thereof. Section 19(b) of the Contract Settlement Act, enacted July 1, 1944, Public Law 395, 78th Congress, 58 Stat. 649, 667, merely amended the 1942 act by enlarging it specifically to include any offense under the Contract Settlement Act and by extending the time for suspension of the statutes of limitations. Section 28 of the Surplus Property Act of 1944, enacted October 3, 1944, Public Law 457, 78th Congress, 58 Stat. 765, 781, again amended the 1942 act by making it applicable to a further class of offenses, those under the Surplus Property Act. It is significant to point out that neither of these amendments changed the wording of the statute here involved, namely:
'* * * defrauding or attempts to defraud the United States or any agency thereof whether by conspiracy or not, and in any manner * * * .'
It cannot, therefore, be successfully argued that these amendments limited the scope of the suspension statute to frauds involving pecuniary or property loss to the government.
While it is true that the amendments to the original act are to be found in the Contract Settlement Act and the Surplus Property Act, this fact is neither significant nor controlling, for both of the latter acts contain other provisions that are not germane to the subject matter of either contract settlements or surplus property.
In contrast with the 1942 act, the suspension of the running of the statutes of limitations for similar offenses enacted after World War I, discussed at length by counsel for defendants, was enacted as a proviso appended to R.S. § 1044, 42 Stat. 220, 18 U.S.C.A. § 582, the section dealing with general limitations on offenses not capital. According to rules of construction, a proviso containing exceptions to a general policy is to be strictly construed; but it is important to note that here we are not dealing with a proviso clause -- on the contrary, we are concerned with the main body of the act itself.
One of the authorized functions of governmental departments and agencies, particularly in time of war, is to see that their employees are loyal to our democratic form of government and to no other. For an employee to falsely state that he was not a member of the Communist Party amounts to a deceptive practice which, as Justice Hughes stated in United States v. Gilliland, supra, was exactly what was encompassed within the amendment of June 18, 1934.
As to whether or not fraud is inherent in false answers given by a government employee in connection with his employment, see Palmer v. Collday, 18 App.D.C. 426, wherein it is stated:
'The Civil Service Commission is a legal agency of the United States, created by Act of Congress; and through it the President undertakes to find and appoint such persons as may best promote the efficiency of the civil service; and to that end regulations are prescribed by means of which the age, health, character, knowledge, and ability for the branch of service into which he seeks to enter, of each candidate, may be fully ascertained.
'If falsehoods are imposed upon the persons charged with the duty of ascertaining these qualifications, and made to take the place of facts, then the United States is defrauded, is deprived by deceit of the knowledge justly due to its officers in the proper discharge of its business, and it is thereby liable to obtain a less efficient employee.' (Emphasis supplied.)
See also United States v. Curley, C.C., 122 F. 738, certiorari denied 195 U.S. 628, 25 S. Ct. 787, 49 L. Ed. 351.
In Burdick v. Post, 12 Barb., N.Y., 168, 186, it is said that 'to defraud' is to withhold from another that which is justly due him or to deprive him of a right by deception or artifice, and the Bouvier adopts this definition. Thus it will be seen that the word 'defraud' in legal acceptation refers to rights, as well as property and money. 'Moreover, when the word 'defraud' is used in connection with the government and the law itself, it naturally and necessarily has a broader and a different meaning than when used in connection with personal rights or in connection with individual rights of property.' Curley v. United States, 1 Cir., 130 F. 1, 11.
(18) Where there is no ambiguity in the statute, it is unnecessary to consider legislative intent.
In the light of the foregoing, defendant's motion to dismiss is denied.