A-16791, JANUARY 6, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 442

A-16791: Jan 6, 1927

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IS TURNED OVER TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF NATIONAL PROHIBITION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE VEHICLE IS SO TURNED OVER IS THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH THE ACCRUED STORAGE CHARGES. MAY HAVE ACCRUED DURING A PRIOR FISCAL YEAR. 1927: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 16. WHICH BECOMES FORFEITED AND IS TURNED OVER TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY BY ORDER OF THE COURT. THE QUESTION FOR YOUR DECISION IS WHETHER THE ACTUAL COSTS INCIDENT TO THE SEIZURE AND FORFEITURE OF SUCH CAR. ARE PAYABLE FROM THE ENFORCEMENT APPROPRIATION CURRENT ON THE DATE OF THE FORFEITURE NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE STORAGE CHARGES ACCRUED IN A PRIOR FISCAL YEAR.

A-16791, JANUARY 6, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 442

PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT - STORAGE CHARGES ON SEIZED AUTOMOBILES WHERE AN AUTOMOBILE, SEIZED FOR VIOLATION OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, IS TURNED OVER TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, FOR USE IN ENFORCEMENT OF SAID ACT, THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF NATIONAL PROHIBITION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE VEHICLE IS SO TURNED OVER IS THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH THE ACCRUED STORAGE CHARGES, REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT SAID CHARGES, OR A PART THEREOF, MAY HAVE ACCRUED DURING A PRIOR FISCAL YEAR.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JANUARY 6, 1927:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 16, 1926, INVITING ATTENTION TO THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, RELATING TO THE USE OR DISPOSAL OF VESSELS OR VEHICLES FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, AND REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

IT SOMETIMES HAPPENS THAT AN AUTOMOBILE, SEIZED IN CONNECTION WITH A VIOLATION OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, WHICH BECOMES FORFEITED AND IS TURNED OVER TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY BY ORDER OF THE COURT, HAS ACCRUED STORAGE CHARGES RUNNING OVER TWO FISCAL YEARS. THE QUESTION FOR YOUR DECISION IS WHETHER THE ACTUAL COSTS INCIDENT TO THE SEIZURE AND FORFEITURE OF SUCH CAR, INCLUDING ACCRUED STORAGE CHARGES, ARE PAYABLE FROM THE ENFORCEMENT APPROPRIATION CURRENT ON THE DATE OF THE FORFEITURE NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE STORAGE CHARGES ACCRUED IN A PRIOR FISCAL YEAR.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, PROVIDES THAT:

* * * ANY VESSEL OR VEHICLE SUMMARILY FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR VIOLATION OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS, MAY, IN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, BE TAKEN AND USED FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, IN LIEU OF THE SALE THEREOF UNDER EXISTING LAW.

SEC. 2. THAT UPON APPLICATION THEREFOR BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, ANY VESSEL OR VEHICLE FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES BY A DECREE OF ANY COURT FOR VIOLATION OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT MAY BE ORDERED BY THE COURT TO BE DELIVERED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR USE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, IN LIEU OF THE SALE THEREOF UNDER EXISTING LAW.

SEC. 3. THAT ANY VESSEL OR VEHICLE ACQUIRED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1 OR 2 OF THIS ACT SHALL BE UTILIZED ONLY FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT. THE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR DEFRAYING THE EXPENSES OF COLLECTING THE REVENUE FROM CUSTOMS OR FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT SHALL HEREAFTER BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF SAID VESSELS AND VEHICLES, INCLUDING MOTOR- PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES. SAID APPROPRIATIONS SHALL ALSO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE ACTUAL COSTS INCIDENT TO THE SEIZURE AND FORFEITURE, AND IF THE SEIZURE IS MADE UNDER ANY SECTION OF LAW UNDER WHICH LIENS ARE RECOGNIZED, FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF SUCH LIEN ALLOWED BY THE COURT: * * *.

IT IS A GENERAL RULE THAT EXPENSES FOR SERVICE ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR DURING WHICH SUCH SERVICES ARE RENDERED. BUT IN THE CASE HERE PRESENTED THE ACCRUED STORAGE CHARGES ARE PAYABLE FROM THE PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT APPROPRIATION ONLY AS A PART OF THE COST OF ACQUIRING THE VEHICLE FOR USE IN THE PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT WORK. THEREFORE, THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE VEHICLE IS SO ACQUIRED IS THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH THE ACCRUED STORAGE CHARGES, REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT SAID CHARGES, OR A PART THEREOF, MAY HAVE ACCRUED DURING A PRIOR FISCAL YEAR.