A-17750, MARCH 28, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 640

A-17750: Mar 28, 1927

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THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR SAID SERVICES ARE EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE FOR THE EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE. 1927: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 12. PERISHABLE GOODS WHICH HAVE BEEN CONDEMNED BY THE COURT. WHICH WAS PRESUMABLY FORFEITED TO THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT AND TURNED OVER TO THE PROHIBITION DEPARTMENT BY ORDER OF COURT. YOUR RULING IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED (1) AS TO WHETHER THIS DEPARTMENT CAN PROPERLY AUTHORIZE THE MARSHAL TO INCUR THE EXPENSE INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE OF GASOLINE AND LUBRICATING OIL FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE OPERATION OF THE TRUCK AND (2) WHETHER THE MARSHAL MAY PROPERLY BE AUTHORIZED TO PAY. THE USES TO WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN PUT.

A-17750, MARCH 28, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 640

VEHICLES - SEIZED AUTOMOBILES - USE OF BY FEDERAL AGENCIES MOTOR VEHICLES FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR VIOLATION OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT AND TURNED OVER TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, MAY BE USED ONLY FOR ENFORCEMENT OF CUSTOMS LAWS, THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, AND THE NARCOTIC ACT, AND THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR SAID SERVICES ARE EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE FOR THE EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE, REPAIRS, AND OPERATION OF SUCH VEHICLES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, MARCH 28, 1927:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 12, 1927, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * I BEG TO ADVISE YOU THAT THE PROHIBITION SERVICE THROUGH ITS ZONE SUPERVISOR AT NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, HAS TEMPORARILY LOANED THE UNITED STATES MARSHAL AT THAT PLACE A FORD TRUCK FOR HIS OFFICIAL USE IN CONVEYING PRISONERS BETWEEN THE HOUSE OF DETENTION AND THE PARISH PRISON, AND ALSO FOR TRANSPORTING, FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER, PERISHABLE GOODS WHICH HAVE BEEN CONDEMNED BY THE COURT, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE PURE FOOD AND DRUGS ACT. THE MARSHAL STATES THAT THE LOAN OF THIS TRUCK, WHICH WAS PRESUMABLY FORFEITED TO THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT AND TURNED OVER TO THE PROHIBITION DEPARTMENT BY ORDER OF COURT, FOR OFFICIAL USE, UNDER THE ACT APPROVED MARCH 3, 1925 (43 STAT. 1116), HAS RESULTED IN A CONSIDERABLE SAVING ON ACCOUNT OF TRUCK HIRE, REMOVAL OF PRISONERS, ETC., DURING THE BRIEF PERIOD THE TRUCK HAS BEEN IN HIS CUSTODY.

YOUR RULING IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED (1) AS TO WHETHER THIS DEPARTMENT CAN PROPERLY AUTHORIZE THE MARSHAL TO INCUR THE EXPENSE INCIDENT TO THE PURCHASE OF GASOLINE AND LUBRICATING OIL FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE OPERATION OF THE TRUCK AND (2) WHETHER THE MARSHAL MAY PROPERLY BE AUTHORIZED TO PAY, FROM THE APPROPRIATION "SALARIES, FEES AND EXPENSES OF MARSHALS, U.S. COURTS," ANY NECESSARY EXPENSES, INCIDENT TO REPAIRS FOR SAID TRUCK AND FOR THE PURCHASE OF TIRES AND OTHER PARTS.

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 NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, IN LIEU OF THE SALE THEREOF. SAID ACT ALSO PROVIDES:

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.

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 NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT. THE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR DEFRAYING THE EXPENSES 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. * * * PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT A REPORT SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO CONGRESS EACH YEAR IN THE BUDGET, SETTING FORTH IN DETAIL A DESCRIPTION OF THE VESSELS OR VEHICLES SO ACQUIRED, THE COST OF ACQUIRING, THE APPRAISED VALUE THEREOF, THE USES TO WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN PUT, THE APPRAISED VALUE OF SEIZURES RESULTING FROM THEIR USE, AND THE EXPENSES OF OPERATING SUCH VESSELS OR VEHICLES: * * *

THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 143, AUTHORIZES THE USE OF SUCH CONFISCATED MOTOR VEHICLES BY NARCOTIC AGENTS ALSO. THE LAW HAVING CLEARLY SPECIFIED THE USES THAT MAY BE MADE OF THESE VEHICLES AND THE APPROPRIATIONS CHARGEABLE WITH THEIR MAINTENANCE WHEN SO USED, THE QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY YOU MUST BE AND ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.