A-14334, JUNE 22, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1011

A-14334: Jun 22, 1926

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IT IS FOR THE DISBURSING OFFICER. TO INSIST UPON SUCH SAFEGUARDS AS WILL ENABLE HIM TO MEET ALL ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENTS. PAYMENT CONSISTED OF AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS AND WAS MADE PURSUANT TO A COMMUNICATION DATED JULY 1. FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO THE DISBURSING CLERK IN THE FOLLOWING TERMS: YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO ADVANCE TO RANDOLPH MCADAMS. THERE IS WITH THE RECORD A PRINTED FORM OF RECEIPT UNDER DATE OF JULY 1. VOUCHER NO. 9953 WAS EXECUTED BY MR. AS NO CHECK NUMBER IS GIVEN IN THE VOUCHER AND AS NO CANCELED CHECK OF THAT DATE HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE DISBURSING CLERK'S ACCOUNTS IN THIS OFFICE. SAID DATE IS UNDERSTOOD AS REPRESENTING THE DATE THE DISBURSING OFFICER CLAIMED CREDIT FOR THE ADVANCE PAYMENT MADE JULY 1.

A-14334, JUNE 22, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1011

DISBURSING OFFICERS, RESPONSIBILITY - ADVANCE OF FUNDS FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES THE ADVANCE OF FUNDS BY A DISBURSING OFFICER TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES, PURSUANT TO A STATUTE AND AUTHORIZATION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN EXPENDITURE FOR WHICH THE DISBURSING OFFICER MAY CLAIM CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNTS, BUT HIS RESPONSIBILITY CONTINUES TO ATTACH UNTIL THE AMOUNT HAS BEEN FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR, EITHER IN APPROVABLE EXPENDITURES OR A RETURN OF THE FUNDS. IT IS FOR THE DISBURSING OFFICER, HOWEVER, TO INSIST UPON SUCH SAFEGUARDS AS WILL ENABLE HIM TO MEET ALL ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENTS.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 22, 1926:

BY LETTER OF APRIL 27, 1926, DON C. FEES, DISBURSING CLERK, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, REQUESTED REVIEW OF THE ACTION TAKEN BY THIS OFFICE IN NOT ALLOWING CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR THE ADVANCE PAYMENT OF $200 MADE BY HIM TO RANDOLPH MCADAMS, INSPECTOR OF PRISONS, AS SHOWN ON VOUCHER NO. 9953, JANUARY, 1925, ACCOUNTS.

PAYMENT CONSISTED OF AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS AND WAS MADE PURSUANT TO A COMMUNICATION DATED JULY 1, 1924, FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO THE DISBURSING CLERK IN THE FOLLOWING TERMS:

YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO ADVANCE TO RANDOLPH MCADAMS, INSPECTOR OF PRISONS, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AN AMOUNT OF $200 FROM THE APPROPRIATION "TRAVELING AND MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 1925," TO BE USED BY HIM IN DEFRAYING EXPENSES OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL.

THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION AS MADE BY THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1924, 43 STAT. 216, PROVIDES:

FOR TRAVELING AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS AND EMERGENCY EXPENSES, INCLUDING ADVANCES MADE BY THE DISBURSING CLERK, AUTHORIZED AND APPROVED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, TO BE EXPENDED AT HIS DISCRETION, THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, TO THE CONTRARY NOTWITHSTANDING, $7,500.

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927, SEE ACT OF APRIL 29, 1926, 44 STAT. 342.

THERE IS WITH THE RECORD A PRINTED FORM OF RECEIPT UNDER DATE OF JULY 1, 1924, SIGNED BY RANDOLPH MCADAMS, ACKNOWLEDGING RECEIPT FROM THE DISBURSING CLERK, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IN CASH, OF THE SUM OF $200. VOUCHER NO. 9953 WAS EXECUTED BY MR. MCADAMS FOR THIS $200, WHICH HAS BEEN INDORSED AS PAID BY THE DISBURSING CLERK, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, JANUARY 27, 1925. AS NO CHECK NUMBER IS GIVEN IN THE VOUCHER AND AS NO CANCELED CHECK OF THAT DATE HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE DISBURSING CLERK'S ACCOUNTS IN THIS OFFICE, SAID DATE IS UNDERSTOOD AS REPRESENTING THE DATE THE DISBURSING OFFICER CLAIMED CREDIT FOR THE ADVANCE PAYMENT MADE JULY 1, 1924. CREDIT WAS NOT ALLOWED BY THIS OFFICE FOR THE REASON THAT NO ACCOUNTING WAS MADE BY RANDOLPH MCADAMS OTHER THAN EXECUTION OF THE GENERAL VOUCHER FOR THE ENTIRE AMOUNT; THAT IS, NO ITEMIZED STATEMENT OF EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED AND NO VOUCHERS OR SUBVOUCHERS IN SUPPORT OF ITEMS OF TRAVELING EXPENSES MADE FROM THE FUNDS ADVANCED BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER WERE SUBMITTED BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER PRIOR TO THE DISMISSAL OF RANDOLPH MCADAMS FROM THE SERVICE, EFFECTIVE JUNE 30, 1925.

BOTH THE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE DISBURSING CLERK CONTEND THAT CREDIT SHOULD BE ALLOWED, THE FORMER FOR THE REASON THAT MR. MCADAMS WAS DISMISSED FROM THE SERVICE AFTER HIS FINAL COMPENSATION HAD BEEN PAID AND WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE TO THE DISBURSING CLERK OF THE DISMISSAL, AND THE LATTER FOR THE REASON THAT THE ADVANCE WAS MADE ACCORDING TO LAW AND PURSUANT TO AN AUTHORIZATION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, WHICH, IT IS CONTENDED, RELIEVES THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF RESPONSIBILITY FOR AN ACT DONE UNDER THE SPECIFIC DIRECTION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT WHEN THE SAME IS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE.

THE TERMS OF THE APPROPRIATION HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION, EXCEPTING ADVANCE OF FUNDS AUTHORIZED AND APPROVED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES FROM THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED AS RELIEVING THE DISBURSING CLERK FROM A PROPER ACCOUNTING FOR SUCH ADVANCES. THE ADVANCE OF FUNDS PURSUANT TO THE STATUTE AND AUTHORIZATION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN EXPENDITURE FOR WHICH THE DISBURSING CLERK MAY CLAIM CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNTS. WHILE HE IS AUTHORIZED TO ADVANCE THE FUNDS, HE IS NOT THEREBY RELIEVED OF THE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF REQUIRING THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TO WHOM THE ADVANCE IS MADE TO ACCOUNT THEREFOR BY SUBMITTING WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME A REGULAR TRAVELING EXPENSE VOUCHER DULY EXECUTED, SUPPORTED, APPROVED, ETC. THE PROCEDURE PROVIDED IN THE STATUTE WHEREBY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AUTHORIZES AND APPROVES THE ADVANCE PAYMENT DOES NOT SHIFT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROPER ACCOUNTING, FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE AUDIT, FROM THE DISBURSING CLERK TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. THE DECISIONS HOLDING THAT ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OF AN APPROPRIATION DOES NOT AFFECT THE BONDED RESPONSIBILITY OF THE DISBURSING CLERK ARE APPLICABLE IN THIS INSTANCE. SEE 5 COMP. GEN. 727; ID. 822. REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 12, 1924, A-6089, ADDRESSED TO THE DISBURSING CLERK, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, WHEREIN IT WAS STATED AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU FOLLOW A PROCEDURE SIMILAR TO THAT FOLLOWED IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS, THE DISBURSING OFFICERS OF WHICH HAVE AUTHORITY TO MAKE ADVANCES. AMOUNTS ADVANCED SHOULD BE RETAINED IN YOUR ACCOUNTS AS MONEYS ADVANCED AND SHOULD BE SHOWN ON YOUR ACCOUNT CURRENT AS A PART OF YOUR BALANCE ON HAND. THE AUTHORITY GIVEN FOR EACH ADVANCE THAT IS MADE SHOULD ACCOMPANY THE ACCOUNT CURRENT. CREDIT FOR EXPENDITURES MADE SHOULD BE CLAIMED BY YOU ONLY AS YOU SUBMIT FULLY SUPPORTED DETAIL VOUCHERS COVERING SUCH EXPENDITURES. IF THE NUMBER OF ADVANCES OUTSTANDING AT THE CLOSE OF THE PERIOD FOR WHICH YOUR ACCOUNT CURRENT IS RENDERED PREVENTS LISTING ON THE ACCOUNT CURRENT, A SEPARATE LIST OF PERSONS TO WHOM ADVANCES ARE MADE WITH THE AMOUNTS NOT COVERED BY DETAIL VOUCHERS MAY BE SUBMITTED TO SUPPORT THE TOTAL ADVANCES OUTSTANDING AS ENTERED IN SUCH ACCOUNT CURRENT.

WHEN A DISBURSING OFFICER MAKES AN ADVANCE PURSUANT TO A STATUTE SUCH AS IS HERE INVOLVED, HIS RESPONSIBILITY CONTINUES TO ATTACH UNTIL THE AMOUNT HAS BEEN DULY AND FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR, EITHER IN APPROVABLE EXPENDITURES OR A RETURN OF THE FUNDS, AND IT IS FOR THE DISBURSING OFFICER IN CONNECTION WITH EACH SUCH ADVANCE TO INSIST UPON SUCH SAFEGUARDS AS WILL ENABLE HIM TO MEET ALL ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENTS. IN THIS CASE IT APPEARS THE DISBURSING OFFICER EVEN CONTINUED TO MAKE SALARY PAYMENTS TO THE OFFICER TO WHOM THE ADVANCE WAS MADE FOR APPROXIMATELY A YEAR AFTER THE ADVANCE, AND, APPARENTLY, WITHOUT MAKING ANY EFFORT TO OBTAIN AN ACCOUNTING FOR SUCH ADVANCE.