A-15104, AUGUST 16, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 116

A-15104: Aug 16, 1926

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GENERALLY WILL. REQUIRE RECEIPTS IN ALL CASES WHERE NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH THE ACTUALITY AND CORRECTNESS OF ANY EXPENDITURE FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED. ARE NOT INDISPENSABLE TO AN ALLOWANCE AS TO CHARGES WHICH STAND SELF EVIDENCED. 1926: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 15. WHICH ARE STATED AS FOLLOWS: VOUCHER 52683. THE LETTER STATES IN EXPLANATION OF THE REASONS WHY NO RECEIPTS ARE FURNISHED: IT HAS NOT BEEN THE PRACTICE OF THE BUREAU TO REQUIRE RECEIPTS TO SUPPORT MINOR ITEMS OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY CLAIMANTS OR BENEFICIARIES DIRECTED TO REPORT FOR EXAMINATION. TRAVEL ACCOUNTS OF CLAIMANTS AND BENEFICIARIES ARE NECESSARILY STATED ON FORM 3228. - ALTHOUGH THIS FORM IS PRIMARILY FOR USE OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU IN ACCOUNTING FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE DISCHARGE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES.

A-15104, AUGUST 16, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 116

TRAVELING EXPENSES - RECEIPTS REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE REGULATIONS OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU ASSUME TO WAIVE THE REQUIREMENTS THAT RECEIPTS COVERING TRAVELING EXPENSES BE FURNISHED BY BENEFICIARIES OF THE BUREAU, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MUST, AND GENERALLY WILL, REQUIRE RECEIPTS IN ALL CASES WHERE NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH THE ACTUALITY AND CORRECTNESS OF ANY EXPENDITURE FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED. SUCH RECEIPTS, HOWEVER, ARE NOT INDISPENSABLE TO AN ALLOWANCE AS TO CHARGES WHICH STAND SELF EVIDENCED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, AUGUST 16, 1926:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 15, 1926 (FILE DAA-D), REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF SUSPENSIONS IN THE ACCOUNTS OF MELVIN P. HOLT, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, AS PER EXCEPTIONS EXPRESSED IN SETTLEMENT CERTIFICATE NO. M-20046-V, DATED MAY 28, 1926, WHICH ARE STATED AS FOLLOWS:

VOUCHER 52683. PAYMENT TO HARRY E. HOOVER, C-195559, WALLA WALLA, WASH., FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE REPORTING FOR PHYSICAL EXAMINATION JANUARY 4, 1926, TO JANUARY 10, 1926. NO RECEIPTS ATTACHED TO VOUCHER. $20.36.

VOUCHER 5273L. PAYMENT TO HERBERT A. OLSEN, C-1283095, TACOMA, WASH., FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE REPORTING FOR PHYSICAL EXAMINATION JAN. 18, 1926. NO RECEIPT ATTACHED TO VOUCHER FOR GASOLINE AND OIL. $1.35.

THE LETTER STATES IN EXPLANATION OF THE REASONS WHY NO RECEIPTS ARE FURNISHED:

IT HAS NOT BEEN THE PRACTICE OF THE BUREAU TO REQUIRE RECEIPTS TO SUPPORT MINOR ITEMS OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY CLAIMANTS OR BENEFICIARIES DIRECTED TO REPORT FOR EXAMINATION, OBSERVATION, TREATMENT, OR FOR OTHER PURPOSES AUTHORIZED UNDER TITLE II--- COMPENSATION AND TREATMENT--- OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. AS A MATTER OF FACT BUREAU REGULATIONS RELATIVE TO TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVELING EXPENSES OF CLAIMANTS AND BENEFICIARIES DO NOT REQUIRE RECEIPTS TO SUPPORT CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES. (REGULATION NO. 99, EFFECTIVE MARCH 28, 1925, AND REGULATION NO. 131, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 29, 1926, SECTIONS 8010 AND 8020.)

TRAVEL ACCOUNTS OF CLAIMANTS AND BENEFICIARIES ARE NECESSARILY STATED ON FORM 3228--- PUBLIC VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES--- ALTHOUGH THIS FORM IS PRIMARILY FOR USE OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU IN ACCOUNTING FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE DISCHARGE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES. IT IS THE OPINION OF THE BUREAU, HOWEVER, THAT CLAIMANTS AND BENEFICIARIES REPORTING FOR EXAMINATION, OBSERVATION, TREATMENT, ETC., ARE NOT PROPERLY SUBJECT TO TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED FOR OBSERVANCE OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU, AS IT IS REASONABLE TO PRESUME THAT CLAIMANTS AND BENEFICIARIES, AS A GENERAL RULE, ARE TOTALLY IGNORANT OF ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENTS PRESCRIBED BY BUREAU REGULATIONS. THE REQUIREMENT THAT SUBVOUCHERS BE FURNISHED TO SUPPORT MINOR PAYMENTS HAS THEREFORE BEEN WAIVED AS IMPRACTICABLE IN THE CASE OF CLAIMANTS AND BENEFICIARIES, AND THE OATH OR AFFIRMATION OF VETERAN THAT ACCOUNT IS JUST AND TRUE IN ALL RESPECTS HAS BEEN CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT REIMBURSEMENT CLAIMS, PROVIDED CHARGES MADE ARE NECESSARY AND REASONABLE.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE AND IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY SPECIFIC REGULATION TO THE EFFECT THAT RECEIPTS SHOULD BE FURNISHED BY CLAIMANTS AND BENEFICIARIES IN SUPPORT OF MINOR ITEMS OF EXPENSE INCURRED IN REPORTING FOR EXAMINATION, OBSERVATION, TREATMENT, OR FOR OTHER PURPOSES, IT IS REQUESTED THAT CREDIT BE ALLOWED FOR THE ABOVE AND ALL SIMILAR PAYMENTS SUSPENDED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, AND THAT NO FURTHER SUSPENSIONS OF THIS KIND BE REPORTED IN SUBSEQUENT SETTLEMENTS OF ACCOUNTS OF BUREAU DISBURSING OFFICERS.

IN THE CASE OF HOOVER, $11.36 WAS CHARGED AS EXPENDED FOR 44 GALLONS GASOLINE, AND OIL, AND THE DISTANCE TRAVELED IS ALLEGED TO BE 980 MILES, THE AUTOMOBILE USED BEING A FORD, AND IN THE CASE OF OLSON, $1.35 WAS EXPENDED FOR 5 1/2 GALLONS GASOLINE, AND OIL, USED IN A FORD CAR, AND THE DISTANCE TRAVELED IS GIVEN AS 82 MILES. THESE CHARGES FOR THE DISTANCES TRAVELED WOULD APPEAR FAIR AND REASONABLE AND IT IS PROBABLE NEITHER OF THESE PARTIES COULD HAVE TRAVELED FOR LESS. IT MAY BE SAID THAT AS TO SUCH CHARGES THEY STAND SELF-EVIDENCED, AND WHILE IT IS DESIRABLE AND PROPER THAT ALL CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENTS OF EXPENDITURES CHARGEABLE TO THE PUBLIC FUNDS SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED BY RECEIPTED BILLS, THEIR ABSENCE IN THIS CASE WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED AS INDISPENSABLE TO AN ALLOWANCE. THE ONLY OTHER CHARGE IN QUESTION IS THAT OF HOOVER FOR LODGING AT SEATTLE, JANUARY 5, 6, 7, 8, AT $1.50, STATED TO BE CONTRACT RATES, TOTAL $6, AND LODGING PORTLAND, JANUARY 4 AND 9, GOING AND RETURNING, $1.50 EACH, TOTAL $3.

AS THE LODGING AT SEATTLE WAS AT CONTRACT RATES, PRESUMABLY WITH THE VETERANS' BUREAU, RECEIPTS ARE UNNECESSARY EXCEPT FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING THE FACT THAT LODGING WAS ACTUALLY OBTAINED, FOR WHICH PAYMENT IS CLAIMED, BUT AS TO THIS IT IS SAFE TO ASSUME THAT LODGING WAS NECESSARILY PROCURED, AND THIS WOULD APPLY AS WELL TO THE LIKE CHARGES AT PORTLAND. ACCORDINGLY, UPON REVIEW THE SUSPENSIONS INVOLVED ARE DIRECTED TO BE ALLOWED.

IT IS PROPER TO SAY, HOWEVER, RELATIVE TO STATEMENTS IN THE ABOVE QUOTED LETTER, THAT THE FURNISHING OF PROPER RECEIPTS AS EVIDENCE IS NOT NECESSARILY RESTRICTED TO APPLICATION THROUGH TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ALONE, SUCH REGULATIONS BEING BUT A SPECIFIC STATEMENT FOR THE INFORMATION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES OF THE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS AS TO SUCH EVIDENCE. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE BUREAU REGULATIONS ASSUME TO WAIVE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCH RECEIPTS AS TO SUCH BENEFICIARIES, THIS OFFICE MUST, AND GENERALLY WILL, REQUIRE RECEIPTS IN ALL CASES WHERE NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH THE ACTUALITY AND CORRECTNESS OF ANY EXPENDITURE FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED.

IF, AS YOU STATE, THE BENEFICIARIES ARE NOT GENERALLY FAMILIAR WITH THE ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WITH RESPECT TO SUPPORTING PAYMENTS FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES BY PROPER RECEIPTS, THE TRAVEL ORDER TO THE BENEFICIARY, INCIDENT TO THE OBSERVATION, EXAMINATION, ETC., WHICH WILL OBLIGATE APPROPRIATED FUNDS, SHOULD DIRECT THE BENEFICIARY TO FURNISH SUCH RECEIPTS AS EVIDENCE OF PAYMENTS IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENTS.