A-10695, AUGUST 13, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 110

A-10695: Aug 13, 1925

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FORWARDING WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT THEREON IS AUTHORIZED. THAT IN ORDER TO SECURE AN ADVANCE DECISION THEREON THE REMAINING ONE-HALF OF THE COST WAS VOUCHERED SEPARATELY. THE EMPLOYEE URGES THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO THE FULL AMOUNT. AS NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE WAS INCURRED TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE FACT THAT HIS WIFE WAS RIDING WITH HIM. THE COST OF TRANSPORTING HIS WIFE WAS NOT INCREASED BY THE FACT THAT THE HUSBAND ACCOMPANIED HER. THE QUESTION THEREFORE IS THE AMOUNT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED. THE RULE IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS USES A ROOM. THIS RULE IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL. WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST IF THE EMPLOYEE HAD TRAVELED ALONE IS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION.

A-10695, AUGUST 13, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 110

TRAVELING EXPENSES - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY FOR ONE-HALF THE COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL CONSUMED IN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO C. E. MOLSTER, DISBURSING CLERK, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, AUGUST 13, 1925:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 30, 1925, FORWARDING WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT THEREON IS AUTHORIZED, A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF CHARLES C. ECKLIFF, OF THE STEAMBOAT INSPECTION SERVICE, FOR $2.11, BEING ONE-HALF THE COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL CONSUMED IN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHEN USED ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE. IT APPEARS THAT ONE-HALF OF THE COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID, BUT THAT IN ORDER TO SECURE AN ADVANCE DECISION THEREON THE REMAINING ONE-HALF OF THE COST WAS VOUCHERED SEPARATELY.

THE EMPLOYEE URGES THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO THE FULL AMOUNT, AS NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE WAS INCURRED TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE FACT THAT HIS WIFE WAS RIDING WITH HIM. THE SAME ARGUMENT COULD BE USED WITH EQUAL FORCE AGAINST THE CLAIM; I.E., THE COST OF TRANSPORTING HIS WIFE WAS NOT INCREASED BY THE FACT THAT THE HUSBAND ACCOMPANIED HER.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452, PROVIDES THAT "ONLY ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES SHALL BE ALLOWED TO ANY PERSON HOLDING EMPLOYMENT OR APPOINTMENT UNDER THE UNITED STATES.' THE QUESTION THEREFORE IS THE AMOUNT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED; AND THE RULE IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS USES A ROOM, PULLMAN BERTH, OR OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS JOINTLY WITH ANOTHER HE HAS INCURRED AN ACTUAL EXPENSE OF ONLY ONE-HALF OF THE VALUE OF SUCH ACCOMMODATION. 21 COMP. DEC. 291, 599, 622. THIS RULE IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL. WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST IF THE EMPLOYEE HAD TRAVELED ALONE IS NOT FOR CONSIDERATION.