A-10785, OCTOBER 23, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 283

A-10785: Oct 23, 1925

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ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7. CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO TO COVER WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION INSURANCE ON SUCH EMPLOYEES ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY OF LAW. THE PREMIUMS ON SUCH PRIVATE INSURANCE ARE NOT A LAWFUL CHARGE AGAINST MONEYS ARISING FROM THE OIL OPERATIONS. THE MONEYS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE FOR PURPOSES AS APPROPRIATIONS IN GENERAL TERMS. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 11. IS AUTHORIZED. PROVIDES: * * * THAT UPON THE APPROVAL OF THIS ACT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED TO TAKE OVER AND OPERATE EXISTING WELLS ON ANY OF SUCH LANDS PENDING THE FINAL DISPOSITION OF APPLICATIONS FOR LEASES AND PERMITS. THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED TO USE AND EXPEND SUCH PORTION AS MAY BE REQUIRED TO PAY THE EXPENSE OF ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION OVER LEASES AND PERMITS AND THE PRODUCTS THEREOF.

A-10785, OCTOBER 23, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 283

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT - LIMITATION ON THE EXPENDITURE OF TRUST FUNDS EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN THE OPERATION AND SUPERVISION OF OIL WELLS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1448, ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 39 STAT. 742, PROVIDING COMPENSATION FOR INJURED EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, AND CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO TO COVER WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION INSURANCE ON SUCH EMPLOYEES ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY OF LAW. THE PREMIUMS ON SUCH PRIVATE INSURANCE ARE NOT A LAWFUL CHARGE AGAINST MONEYS ARISING FROM THE OIL OPERATIONS. WHILE MONEYS DERIVED FROM THE RED RIVER OIL OPERATIONS UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1448, DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN APPROPRIATION OF MONEYS FROM THE TREASURY, THE FACT THAT CONGRESS HAS AUTHORIZED THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AS THE HEAD OF AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE EXPENDITURES FROM SUCH MONEYS, SUBJECTS EXPENDITURES THEREFROM TO THE SAME GENERAL LIMITATIONS AS EXPENDITURES FROM ORDINARY APPROPRIATIONS. THE MONEYS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE FOR PURPOSES AS APPROPRIATIONS IN GENERAL TERMS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO W. F. ZENS, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, OCTOBER 23, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 11, 1925, TRANSMITTING VOUCHER FOR $333.25 STATED IN FAVOR OF LAWFORD AND MCKIM, GENERAL AGENTS, COVERING "PREMIUM ON WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION POLICY NO. WC 237989 IN THE EMPLOYERS' LIABILITY ASSURANCE CORPORATION (LTD.), OF LONDON, ENGLAND, FOR THE PERIOD JULY 1, 1924, TO SEPTEMBER 30, 1924," WITH REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT THEREOF FROM MONEYS ARISING FROM RED RIVER OIL OPERATIONS UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1448, IS AUTHORIZED.

SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1449, PROVIDES:

* * * THAT UPON THE APPROVAL OF THIS ACT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED TO TAKE OVER AND OPERATE EXISTING WELLS ON ANY OF SUCH LANDS PENDING THE FINAL DISPOSITION OF APPLICATIONS FOR LEASES AND PERMITS, AND TO UTILIZE AND EXPEND IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION SO MUCH AS MAY BE NECESSARY OF MONEYS HERETOFORE IMPOUNDED FROM PAST PRODUCTION OR HEREAFTER PRODUCED, AND UPON FINAL DISPOSITION OF APPLICATIONS FOR AND THE ISSUANCE OF LEASES AND PERMITS, AFTER DEDUCTING THE EXPENSES OF ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION AND PAYMENT TO THE UNITED STATES OF THE ROYALTY HEREIN PROVIDED, TO PAY THE BALANCE REMAINING TO THE PERSON OR COMPANY ENTITLED THERETO: AND,PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT OUT OF THE 10 PERCENTUM OF MONEY HEREAFTER RECEIVED FROM ROYALTIES AND RENTALS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT AND PAID INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES AND CREDITED TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 35 OF THE SAID ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1920, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED TO USE AND EXPEND SUCH PORTION AS MAY BE REQUIRED TO PAY THE EXPENSE OF ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION OVER LEASES AND PERMITS AND THE PRODUCTS THEREOF.

ACCOMPANYING YOUR SUBMISSION IS A LETTER DATED AUGUST 5, 1925, ADDRESSED TO THIS OFFICE BY H. W. MACFARREN, IN SECRETARIAL CHARGE OF RED RIVER OIL OPERATIONS, UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, FROM WHICH IT APPEARS THAT PRIOR TO THE DATE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TOOK CHARGE OF THESE OPERATIONS UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, SUPRA, RECEIVER DELANO, APPOINTED BY THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT, HAD A CONTRACT WITH LAWFORD AND MCKIM COVERING COMPENSATION INSURANCE ON RED RIVER EMPLOYEES AS REQUIRED BY OKLAHOMA LAWS; THAT THE CONTRACT WAS CANCELED BY RECEIVER DELANO ON JUNE 30, 1924; THAT THE OPERATIONS WERE TAKEN OVER FROM RECEIVER DELANO JULY 1, 1924, AND A CONTRACT AS OF THAT DATE FOR SUCH INSURANCE WAS SIGNED BY THE FIRST ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, WHICH CONTRACT WAS RETURNED TO THE AGENTS AT THEIR REQUEST; AND THAT UPON BEING ADVISED SEPTEMBER 24, 1924, BY THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION THAT ALL PERSONS PERFORMING SERVICE FOR THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, SUPRA, ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, SAID PRIVATE INSURANCE WAS DISCONTINUED ON SEPTEMBER 30, 1924.

IN DECISION OF THIS OFFICE SEPTEMBER 25, 1924, A-5011, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, WAS INVOLVED THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE MONEYS ARISING FROM THE OPERATION AND SUPERVISION OF THESE OIL WELLS COULD LEGALLY BE USED IN THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO INJURED EMPLOYEES UNDER THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 39 STAT. 742, AND WHAT WAS SAID THEREIN IS APPLICABLE GENERALLY TO THE QUESTION HERE PRESENTED. THE EMPLOYEES ARE REPORTED AS TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES, AUTHORIZED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, AND HAVE THE GENERAL STATUS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES.

UNDER THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, SUPRA, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED TO UTILIZE AND EXPEND SO MUCH MONEY AS MAY BE NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION OF EXISTING OIL WELLS PENDING THE FINAL DISPOSITION OF APPLICATIONS FOR LEASES AND PERMITS AND SUCH PORTIONS OF ROYALTIES AND RENTALS RECEIVED FROM THE LEASES AND PERMITS AS MAY BE REQUIRED TO PAY THE EXPENSE OF ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION OF LEASES AND PERMITS AND THE PRODUCTS THEREOF.

THE PROVISIONS QUOTED DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN APPROPRIATION OF MONEYS FROM THE TREASURY, BUT IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT CONGRESS HAS AUTHORIZED THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AS THE HEAD OF AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, TO MAKE EXPENDITURES FROM THE MONEYS IN QUESTION, IT MUST BE CONSIDERED THAT SUCH EXPENDITURES ARE SUBJECT TO THE SAME GENERAL LIMITATIONS AS ORDINARY APPROPRIATIONS AND THAT THE MONEYS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSES AS APPROPRIATIONS IN GENERAL TERMS.

THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, SUPRA, PROVIDING COMPENSATION FOR INJURED EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES IS COMMITTED TO THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, WHICH WAS CREATED BY SAID ACT. THE FUNDS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT ARE APPROPRIATED EACH YEAR AND ARE PAID OUT UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION.

IT IS A WELL-SETTLED RULE THAT WHEN AN APPROPRIATION IS MADE FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE ANOTHER APPROPRIATION IN GENERAL TERMS IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THAT PURPOSE. AT THE TIME THE OPERATION AND SUPERVISION OF THE OIL WELLS WERE TAKEN OVER, JULY 1, 1924, BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR UNDER THE PROVISION OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, SUPRA, THERE WAS A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION FOR THE COMPENSATION OF INJURED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES. THERE BEING, THEREFORE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATION OF THE OIL WELLS NO NECESSITY FOR THE COMPENSATION INSURANCE CONTRACTED FOR, THE CONTRACT THEREFORE WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY OF LAW AND THE PREMIUMS IN QUESTION ARE NOT A LAWFUL CHARGE AGAINST THE MONEYS ARISING FROM THE OPERATION AND SUPERVISION OF THE WELLS.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER IS NOT AUTHORIZED.