A-17798, APRIL 20, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 685

A-17798: Apr 20, 1927

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PROHIBITS THE RENTAL OF ANY BUILDING OR PART THEREOF IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR USE OF THE GOVERNMENT UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY CONGRESS. WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED CREDIT FOR A PAYMENT OF $48 MADE ON VOUCHER NO. 3322 IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR OCTOBER. PAYMENT WAS MADE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "METROPOLITAN POLICE. UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY CONGRESS. IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE PROVISION OF THIS ACT IS APPLICABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AS WELL AS TO THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS. THAT SUCH PROVISION IS ALSO EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE FIELD SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS TO THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE. 2 COMP.

A-17798, APRIL 20, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 685

STORAGE - HOUSEHOLD GOODS - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA METROPOLITAN POLICE AS THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, 19 STAT. 370, PROHIBITS THE RENTAL OF ANY BUILDING OR PART THEREOF IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR USE OF THE GOVERNMENT UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY CONGRESS, CREDIT MAY NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF A DISBURSING OFFICER FOR PAYMENT MADE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "METROPOLITAN POLICE, 1924," FOR THE STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, SAID APPROPRIATION CONTAINING NO PROVISION FOR THE RENTAL OF STORAGE QUARTERS OR OTHER BUILDING SPACE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, APRIL 20, 1927:

J. R. LUSBY, DISBURSING OFFICER, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, REQUESTED MARCH 2, 1927, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT C-299-DC, DATED MARCH 30, 1926, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED CREDIT FOR A PAYMENT OF $48 MADE ON VOUCHER NO. 3322 IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR OCTOBER, 1925, COVERING A PAYMENT MADE TO ADAM A. WESCHLER AND SON FOR STORAGE ON HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM DECEMBER 31, 1923, TO JUNE 30, 1924. PAYMENT WAS MADE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "METROPOLITAN POLICE, 1924.'

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, 19 STAT. 370, PROVIDES:

* * * HEREAFTER NO CONTRACT SHALL BE MADE FOR THE RENT OF ANY BUILDING, OR PART OF ANY BUILDING, TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY CONGRESS, AND THAT THIS CLAUSE BE REGARDED AS NOTICE TO ALL CONTRACTORS OR LESSORS OF ANY SUCH BUILDING OR ANY PART OF BUILDING.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE PROVISION OF THIS ACT IS APPLICABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AS WELL AS TO THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, 10 COMP. DEC. 117; ID. 180, AND THAT SUCH PROVISION IS ALSO EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE FIELD SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS TO THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE. 2 COMP. GEN. 722.

IN EXPLANATION OF THE EXPENDITURE IT IS STATED THAT UNDER THE LAW ALL PROPERTY EITHER LOST, STOLEN, OR ABANDONED COMING INTO THE POSSESSION OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS PLACED IN THE CUSTODY OF THE PROPERTY CLERK AND KEPT BY HIM, AND THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO PROVIDE STORAGE FOR SUCH PROPERTY UNTIL IT IS DISPOSED OF. ATTENTION IS ALSO CALLED TO THE FACT THAT THE APPROPRIATION MADE FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1928 SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF STORAGE IN CASES SUCH AS THIS, AND THE REQUEST IS MADE THAT THE PRACTICE OF MAKING PAYMENTS OF THIS NATURE BE PERMITTED TO CONTINUE UNTIL JUNE 30, 1927.

THE APPROPRIATION "METROPOLITAN POLICE, 1924," CHARGED WITH THE EXPENDITURE DOES NOT PROVIDE ,IN TERMS" FOR THE RENTAL OF STORAGE QUARTERS OR OTHER BUILDING SPACE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND THE PROHIBITIVE PROVISION IN THE ACT REFERRED TO IS NOT ONLY BROAD ENOUGH TO EMBRACE ALL BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT BUT ALSO TO INCLUDE ALL RENTAL FOR ANY PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 11 COMP. DEC. 681.

THE PAYMENT INVOLVED HEREIN WAS MADE IN DIRECT CONTRAVENTION OF THE PLAIN PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, AND OF NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS; AND WHILE IN SOME INSTANCES CREDIT MAY BE ALLOWED FOR PAYMENTS MADE BY A DISBURSING OFFICER IN GOOD FAITH UNDER A PRACTICE ESTABLISHED AS THE RESULT OF AN ERRONEOUS ASSUMPTION AS TO THE SCOPE OF AN APPROPRIATION OR AN INVOLVED PROVISION OF LAW, WHERE A PAYMENT IS IN DIRECT CONTRAVENTION OF A STATUTORY PROHIBITION THERE IS NO CHOICE BUT TO DISALLOW CREDIT FOR THE PAYMENT.