A-14447, JULY 7, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 10

A-14447: Jul 7, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS NOT A NECESSARY EXPENSE AND IS NOT REIMBURSABLE. AS A STATE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE AN OATH OF A FEDERAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN CONNECTION WITH HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. A NOTARY FEE PAID IN ACKNOWLEDGING AN AFFIDAVIT AS TO THE OWNERSHIP OF A GOVERNMENT-OWNED TRUCK IN ORDER THAT IT MIGHT BE EXCHANGED AS PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF A NEW TRUCK IS NOT AN AUTHORIZED EXPENSE INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE. IN EXPLANATION OF THESE EXPENDITURES THERE IS SUBMITTED THE STATEMENT OF DELAHIDE AS FOLLOWS: VOUCHER 6966 JOHN J. IT WAS NECESSARY THAT A SWORN STATEMENT BEFORE A NOTARY PUBLIC ACCOMPANY THE REQUEST FOR STATE LICENSE. THIS STATEMENT REFERRED TO THE OWNERSHIP OF THE TRUCK ONLY AND WAS NOT A FEE TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOR A LICENSE TO OPERATE GOVERNMENT TRUCK.

A-14447, JULY 7, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 10

NOTARY FEES A NOTARY FEE PAID IN ACKNOWLEDGING AN AFFIDAVIT AS TO THE OWNERSHIP OF A GOVERNMENT-OWNED TRUCK, IN ORDER TO PROCURE A STATE LICENSE TAG, OTHERWISE FREE OF CHARGE, IS NOT A NECESSARY EXPENSE AND IS NOT REIMBURSABLE, AS A STATE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE AN OATH OF A FEDERAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN CONNECTION WITH HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. IN THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY SHOWING THAT THE CERTIFICATE OF A PROPER OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT SERVE THE PURPOSE, A NOTARY FEE PAID IN ACKNOWLEDGING AN AFFIDAVIT AS TO THE OWNERSHIP OF A GOVERNMENT-OWNED TRUCK IN ORDER THAT IT MIGHT BE EXCHANGED AS PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF A NEW TRUCK IS NOT AN AUTHORIZED EXPENSE INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JULY 7, 1926:

J. B. CALLAHAN, CHIEF DISBURSING CLERK, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, REQUESTED APRIL 21, 1926, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. C-34228-I, MARCH 1, 1926, DISALLOWING IN HIS ACCOUNTS CREDIT FOR $1 REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT TO JOHN J. DELAHIDE FOR TWO EXPENDITURES OF 50 CENTS EACH FOR NOTARY FEES IN ACKNOWLEDGING AFFIDAVITS AS TO THE OWNERSHIP OF A NEW BERKELEY TRUCK, IN ORDER TO PROCURE A STATE LICENSE OR TAG, AND AS TO THE OWNERSHIP OF AN OLD TRUCK.

IN EXPLANATION OF THESE EXPENDITURES THERE IS SUBMITTED THE STATEMENT OF DELAHIDE AS FOLLOWS:

VOUCHER 6966 JOHN J. DELAHIDE MAY 29, FEE TO NOTARY PUBLIC: IN ORDER TO PROCURE LICENSE FOR BERKELEY RESCUE TRUCK, IT WAS NECESSARY THAT A SWORN STATEMENT BEFORE A NOTARY PUBLIC ACCOMPANY THE REQUEST FOR STATE LICENSE. THIS STATEMENT REFERRED TO THE OWNERSHIP OF THE TRUCK ONLY AND WAS NOT A FEE TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOR A LICENSE TO OPERATE GOVERNMENT TRUCK. THE SAME IS TRUE OF THE TRANSACTION CONCERNING THE TRADE IN OR TRANSFER OF THE OLD TRUCK FOR THE NEW. THAT IS, THAT THE OWNERSHIP OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE MUST BE SWORN TO BEFORE TRANSFER CAN BE EXECUTED. THE COMPTROLLER'S RULING ON PAGE TWO OF YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 10, 1926, HAS NO BEARING ON THE TRANSFER AS HAPPENED AT BERKELEY.

AS THE NOTARY FEE FOR THE AFFIDAVIT AS TO OWNERSHIP OF THE NEW TRUCK WAS NOT A PAYMENT TO THE STATE IT IS NOT OBJECTIONABLE AS A STATE TAX UPON A FEDERAL INSTRUMENTALITY. HOWEVER, THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452, PERMITS THE ALLOWANCE, AS TRAVELING EXPENSES, ONLY OF SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE ACTUALLY AND NECESSARILY INCURRED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE TRUCK WAS THE PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES. SUCH BEING THE CASE, THE STATE WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT OR INTERFERE WITH ITS USE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, JOHNSON V. MARYLAND, 254 U.S. 51. ANY REQUIREMENT BY THE STATE THAT AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES MAKE AN AFFIDAVIT AS TO THE OFFICIAL USE OF A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE OR TRUCK IS NOT COMPULSORY AND THE PAYMENT OF THE NOTARY FEE FOR SUCH AN AFFIDAVIT WAS NOT AUTHORIZED. 24 COMP. DEC. 540; 5 COMP. GEN. 179. THE DISALLOWANCE OF THIS ITEM WAS CORRECT.

AS TO THE AFFIDAVIT OF OWNERSHIP OF THE OLD TRUCK, WHILE THE EXPLANATION IS RATHER MEAGER, IT IS PRESUMED THAT THE OLD TRUCK WAS TURNED IN TO A DEALER AS PART PURCHASE PRICE OF THE NEW TRUCK AND THAT THE AFFIDAVIT WAS ASSUMED TO BE NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH TITLE TO THE OLD TRUCK IN ORDER THAT IT MIGHT BE ACCEPTABLE BY THE DEALER IN SUCH TRANSACTION. IN THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY SHOWING THAT A CERTIFICATE OF A PROPER OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT HAVE SERVED THE PURPOSE OF THE AFFIDAVIT, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THIS EXPENSE, ALSO, WAS UNNECESSARY.