A-10801, OCTOBER 31, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 308

A-10801: Oct 31, 1925

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WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED IF OTHERWISE CORRECT. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7. IN WHICH YOU STATE THAT THE INSURANCE POLICIES (COVERING A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS) WILL EXPIRE SHORTLY ON THE TWO DORMITORIES AND THEIR CONTENTS AT THE MURRAY STATE SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE. ALSO TO RENEW INSURANCE ON OTHER BUILDINGS AND PROPERTY PURCHASED FROM FUNDS OF THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES IF THERE IS NO LEGAL OBJECTION THERETO. YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE EXPENDITURES FROM THE TRIBAL FUNDS TO PAY PREMIUMS ON SUCH INSURANCE RENEWALS. IT IS AN ESTABLISHED POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT NOT TO CARRY FIRE. THE DISCRETION VESTED IN THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO EXPEND INDIAN MONEYS FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDIANS WHO ARE WARDS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS A LEGAL DISCRETION LIMITED GENERALLY AS THE EXPENDITURE OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS ARE LIMITED.

A-10801, OCTOBER 31, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 308

INSURANCE--- INDIAN PROPERTY INDIAN FUNDS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE USED TO PAY PREMIUMS ON FIRE, MARINE, OR TORNADO INSURANCE CARRIED ON ANY INDIAN PROPERTY UNLESS AND UNTIL EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR SUCH EXPENDITURE HAS BEEN PROVIDED. PAYMENTS OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS UNDER EXISTING POLICIES APPEARING IN THE ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS UP TO AND INCLUDING THE CURRENT QUARTER ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1925, WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, BUT NO PAYMENTS MAY BE ALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS RENDERED THEREAFTER IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, OCTOBER 31, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7, 1925, IN WHICH YOU STATE THAT THE INSURANCE POLICIES (COVERING A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS) WILL EXPIRE SHORTLY ON THE TWO DORMITORIES AND THEIR CONTENTS AT THE MURRAY STATE SCHOOL OF AGRICULTURE, OKLAHOMA, BELONGING TO THE CHICKASAW TRIBE OF INDIANS; AND THAT YOU PROPOSE TO RENEW THE INSURANCE AT THE EXPIRATION OF THE PRESENT TERM, PAY THE PREMIUM THEREON FROM TRIBAL FUNDS OF THE CHICKASAW NATION, AND ALSO TO RENEW INSURANCE ON OTHER BUILDINGS AND PROPERTY PURCHASED FROM FUNDS OF THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES IF THERE IS NO LEGAL OBJECTION THERETO. YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE EXPENDITURES FROM THE TRIBAL FUNDS TO PAY PREMIUMS ON SUCH INSURANCE RENEWALS.

IT IS AN ESTABLISHED POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT NOT TO CARRY FIRE, MARINE, OR TORNADO INSURANCE ON ITS PROPERTY. THE DISCRETION VESTED IN THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO EXPEND INDIAN MONEYS FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDIANS WHO ARE WARDS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS A LEGAL DISCRETION LIMITED GENERALLY AS THE EXPENDITURE OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS ARE LIMITED. AS A GENERAL PROPOSITION, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY OTHERWISE PROVIDING, THE POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT WITH RESPECT TO THE INSURANCE OF ITS OWN PROPERTY MUST CONTROL WITH RESPECT TO THE INSURANCE OF INDIAN PROPERTY UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND THAT NO FIRE, MARINE, OR TORNADO INSURANCE SHOULD BE CARRIED ON PROPERTY BELONGING TO INDIVIDUAL INDIANS OR INDIAN TRIBES THE PREMIUMS ON WHICH ARE PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED TO INDIAN FUNDS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT.

IN ADDITION TO THIS GENERAL POLICY THERE ARE FOR CONSIDERATION THE SPECIFIC RESTRICTIVE STATUTES APPLICABLE TO USE OF TRIBAL FUNDS. THE ACT OF MAY 18, 1916, 39 STAT. 159, PROVIDES:

* * * THAT THEREAFTER NO MONEY SHALL BE EXPENDED FROM INDIAN TRIBAL FUNDS WITHOUT SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION BY CONGRESS EXCEPT AS FOLLOWS: EQUALIZATION OF ALLOTMENTS, EDUCATION OF INDIAN CHILDREN IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING LAW, PER CAPITA AND OTHER PAYMENTS, ALL OF WHICH ARE HEREBY CONTINUED IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THIS SHALL NOT CHANGE EXISTING LAW WITH REFERENCE TO THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES.

THE ACT OF MAY 24, 1922, 42 STAT. 575, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THAT HEREAFTER NO MONEY SHALL BE EXPENDED FROM TRIBAL FUNDS BELONGING TO THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES WITHOUT SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION BY CONGRESS: * * *

INSURANCE IS NOT ONE OF THE EXPRESS PURPOSES ENUMERATED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 18, 1916, SUPRA, FOR WHICH INDIAN TRIBAL FUNDS MAY BE EXPENDED WITHOUT SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION, NOR COULD INSURANCE PREMIUMS BE REASONABLY IMPLIED AS COMING WITHIN ANY OF SUCH EXPRESS PURPOSES, PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF THE SETTLED POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH NEGATIVES CARRYING INSURANCE ON ITS OWN PROPERTY. THERE EXISTS NO APPROPRIATION OR OTHER STATUTORY PROVISION EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZING THE USE OF THE FUNDS OF THE CHICKASAW NATION OR FUNDS OF THE OTHER FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES FOR PAYMENT OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS.

ACCORDINGLY, IT MUST BE HELD THAT IN NO CASE MAY INDIAN MONEYS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT BE USED TO PAY PREMIUMS ON FIRE, MARINE, OR TORNADO INSURANCE CARRIED ON ANY INDIAN PROPERTY UNLESS AND UNTIL EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR SUCH EXPENDITURE IS PROVIDED.

THE QUESTION SUBMITTED IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE. THERE WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED PAYMENTS OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS UNDER EXISTING POLICIES APPEARING IN THE ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS UP TO AND INCLUDING THE CURRENT QUARTER ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1925, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, BUT NO PAYMENTS OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS MAY BE ALLOWED IN ACCOUNTS RENDERED THEREAFTER.