The importance of the indirect social and political effects of the fee system must not be overlooked. It is especially marked where the salary of the official is the fees collected. Under such conditions systems of regulation are likely to defeat their own ends. For example, it has long been the custom to require persons contemplating marriage to secure a license. To do this the requirements of the state are expected to be fulfilled, and it is the business of the official to see that such is the case. If, however, the fee for granting the license is to go to the official, age, relationship, or whatever the requirement may be, might be easily set aside in order to get the fee. The same situation is more or less true of all regulative fees used in this way.

Sheriffs, police, and city judges have often been paid on a fee basis, with the expectation that they would be more alert to duty. If paid so much per arrest it is likely that the policeman will be more alert to find criminals - it will be to his interest to develop crime rather than to prevent and repress it. The attitude of other officials will be much the same when their remuneration is the fee. The judge will be interested in trying more cases, the sheriff in having more commitments to his keeping. Each official act means a fee, hence a larger income. It is to the interest of the officials to increase crime rather than to prevent it. Examples are numerous of where the sheriff of one county has sought to exceed the hospitality of the sheriffs of adjoining ones in order to obtain more fees for keeping vagrants. A tramp was always welcome, and the longer he stayed the bigger the fee. Most states have overthrown the system, yet in some it seems to be so deeply embedded as to be a fixture.

Where a magistrate receives a fee for his services, justice is likely to be warped. This system of payment has been given up in most of the larger tribunals, yet it remains in some of the smaller, such as those of the justice of the peace. The temptation exists to give the decision in favor of the plaintiff, for if such a reputation is gained that justice of the peace will get more and more cases to try, for anyone bringing suit would much prefer such a justice to one who had given many decisions in favor of defendants.

Political Corruption. - The payment of officials by fees has been the cause of much political corruption. Sums entirely out of proportion to the duties required have been received, and are still received where the system remains. Such positions make desirable political plums to be given to the ward boss, who can afford to go almost any length to secure the lucrative position. Reform comes slowly, because the party in power has given the plums in fulfillment of promises, while the defeated party is promising to give them with the hope of gaining power.

These social and political evils have no doubt had a big influence in arousing sentiment to abolish fee payments to officials. The Central and Western states have taken the lead, but much remains to be done in the Southern and Eastern sections. It is here that the system has become so deeply intrenched in the political machinery as to be hard to remove.