A-18569, MAY 31, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 774

A-18569: May 31, 1927

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APPROPRIATIONS - REWARDS - RECOVERY OF STOLEN ARMY PROPERTY THE SECRETARY OF WAR IS AUTHORIZED IN HIS DISCRETION TO OFFER A REWARD IN SUCH AN AMOUNT AS HE MAY DEEM ADVISABLE FOR THE RECOVERY OF PLATINUM THAT HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM THE ARMY AND IF RECOVERED. " FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE OFFER IS MADE. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS HEREWITH COPY OF LETTER FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. FROM WHICH TELEGRAM IT APPEAR THAT ONE OF THE DEFENDANTS WAS CONVICTED OF THE 1920 NASHVILLE THEFT OF PLATINUM OF AN ESTIMATED VALUE OF $250. THAT INFORMANT ASKS IF A REWARD FOR THE RECOVERY OF THAT PLATINUM WILL BE MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT. IN THIS CONNECTION YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT HAS NO APPROPRIATION WHICH SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF A REWARD FOR THE RECOVERY OF STOLEN PROPERTY.

A-18569, MAY 31, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 774

APPROPRIATIONS - REWARDS - RECOVERY OF STOLEN ARMY PROPERTY THE SECRETARY OF WAR IS AUTHORIZED IN HIS DISCRETION TO OFFER A REWARD IN SUCH AN AMOUNT AS HE MAY DEEM ADVISABLE FOR THE RECOVERY OF PLATINUM THAT HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM THE ARMY AND IF RECOVERED, AS THE RESULT OF THE REWARD, TO DIRECT PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT OFFERED AS A REWARD FOR ITS RECOVERY FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY," FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE OFFER IS MADE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, MAY 31, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MAY 14, 1927, REQUESTING DECISION OF A MATTER THEREIN PRESENTED, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS HEREWITH COPY OF LETTER FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, DATED MARCH 14, 1927, INCLOSING A PHOTOSTAT OF A TELEGRAM FROM THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY AT NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, FROM WHICH TELEGRAM IT APPEAR THAT ONE OF THE DEFENDANTS WAS CONVICTED OF THE 1920 NASHVILLE THEFT OF PLATINUM OF AN ESTIMATED VALUE OF $250,000 FROM THE OLD HICKORY POWDER PLANT, AND THAT INFORMANT ASKS IF A REWARD FOR THE RECOVERY OF THAT PLATINUM WILL BE MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT, INTIMATING THAT THE STOLEN PLATINUM CAN BE LOCATED.

IN ANOTHER LETTER DATED MARCH 29, 1927, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE STATED THAT IT HAS NO APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH SUCH A REWARD COULD PROPERLY BE PAID.

IN THIS CONNECTION YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT HAS NO APPROPRIATION WHICH SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF A REWARD FOR THE RECOVERY OF STOLEN PROPERTY. HOWEVER, THE APPROPRIATION "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" DOES PROVIDE--- "FOR ALL CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF THE ARMY NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR AND EMBRACING ALL BRANCHES OF THE MILITARY SERVICE, * * * BUT IMPOSSIBLE TO BE ANTICIPATED OR CLASSIFIED; TO BE EXPENDED ON THE APPROVAL OR AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR, AND FOR SUCH PURPOSES AS HE MAY DEEM PROPER * * *.' MOREOVER, IT IS NOTED THAT IN DECISIONS IN 11 COMP. DEC. 124, AND 16 COMP. DEC. 132, PAYMENTS OF EXPENSES AND REWARD WERE AUTHORIZED FOR THE APPREHENSION AND DELIVERY OF DESERTERS WHO WERE ALSO CHARGED WITH FORGERY AND EMBEZZLEMENT.

IN VIEW OF THIS SITUATION AND OF THE IMPORTANCE OF RECOVERING THE VALUABLE PLATINUM IF POSSIBLE, YOUR ADVANCE DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" MAY BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF A REWARD FOR THE RECOVERY OF THIS STOLEN PROPERTY.

THE TELEGRAM REFERRED TO BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN LETTERTRANSMITTING A COPY THEREOF TO YOUR OFFICE AND REQUESTING INFORMATION WHETHER A REWARD WOULD BE OFFERED BY YOU FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE STOLEN PLATINUM WAS SENT FROM NASHVILLE, TENN., MARCH 11, 1927, AND READS: THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,

WASH. D.C.

H. B. CRONE CONVICTED NINETEEN TWENTY NASHVILLE THEFT PLATINUM OLD HICKORY POWDER PLANT ESTIMATED VALUE TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. INFORMANT ASKING IF REWARD FOR RECOVERY WILL BE MADE BY GOVERNMENT AND INTIMATE THEY CAN LOCATE STOLEN PLATINUM. WILL YOU TAKE UP WITH WAR DEPARTMENT RECOVERY AND ADVISE THAT MATTER CAN BE FURTHER INVESTIGATED?

MCLANE, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY.

THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 AND 1928, MADE BY THE ACTS OF APRIL 15, 1926, 44 STAT. 255, AND FEBRUARY 23, 1927, 44 STAT. 1106, PROVIDE:

FOR ALL CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF THE ARMY NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR AND EMBRACING ALL BRANCHES OF THE MILITARY SERVICE, INCLUDING THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF; FOR ALL EMERGENCIES AND EXTRAORDINARY EXPENSES, INCLUDING THE EMPLOYMENT OF TRANSLATORS AND EXCLUSIVE OF ALL OTHER PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE WAR DEPARTMENT OR ANY OF ITS SUBORDINATE BUREAUS OR OFFICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, OR IN THE ARMY AT LARGE, BUT IMPOSSIBLE TO BE ANTICIPATED OR CLASSIFIED; TO BE EXPENDED ON THE APPROVAL OR AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR, AND FOR SUCH PURPOSES AS HE MAY DEEM PROPER, * * *

THE QUESTION INVOLVED IS WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION FOR "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF OFFERING AND PAYING A REWARD FOR THE RETURN OF STOLEN ARMY PROPERTY, THERE BEING NO SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION FOR THAT PURPOSE. IN A DECISION OF AUGUST 19, 1910, A FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY HELD THAT A REWARD MIGHT BE OFFERED AND PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" FOR THE APPREHENSION OF THE PERSON OR PERSONS IMPLICATED IN THE THEFT OF A SAFE CONTAINING UPWARD OF $6,500 THAT HAD BEEN STOLEN FROM THE POSSESSION OF A DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE ARMY. IN THE COURSE OF THE DECISION IN THAT CASE, IT WAS SAID:

THE LAW MAKES IT THE DUTY OF THE MILITARY AUTHORITIES TO HOLD SECURE THE PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES COMMITTED TO THEIR CARE. IF IT IS STOLEN IT WOULD SEEM TO BE THEIR CLEAR DUTY TO USE EVERY POSSIBLE MEANS TO RECOVER IT. IT IS LIKEWISE THEIR DUTY TO USE EVERY REASONABLE EFFORT TO APPREHEND THE PERSON OR PERSONS GUILTY OF ANY THEFT OF UNITED STATES PROPERTY COMMITTED TO THEIR CARE IN ORDER THAT SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS MAY BE TRIED BY EITHER THE MILITARY OR CIVIL AUTHORITIES ACCORDING TO WHETHER THEY BELONG TO THE MILITARY OR ARE CIVILIANS.

IT WAS LIKEWISE HELD IN DECISIONS IN 11 COMP. DEC. 124 AND 16 ID. 132, REFERRED TO IN YOUR SUBMISSION, THAT DUE TO THE INADEQUACIES OF THE REWARD AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE OFFERED FOR THE APPREHENSION AND RETURN OF DESERTERS FROM THE ARMY, THE SECRETARY OF WAR WAS AUTHORIZED TO OFFER AND PAY FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" MORE SUBSTANTIAL REWARDS FOR THE APPREHENSION AND RETURN OF DESERTERS WHO WERE ALSO CHARGED WITH FORGERY OF A GOVERNMENT CHECK AND EMBEZZLEMENT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" IS INTENDED TO COVER SUCH INCIDENTAL, CASUAL, AND UNFORESEEN EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE OPERATIONS OF THE ARMY AS ARE NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE TO THE EXECUTION OF DUTIES REQUIRED BY LAW THAT ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO BE ANTICIPATED OR CLASSIFIED. EXPENDITURES THEREFROM ARE TO BE MADE ON THE APPROVAL OR AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR AND FOR SUCH PURPOSES AS HE MAY DEEM PROPER. THEREFORE, AND IN LINE WITH THE DECISIONS HEREINBEFORE CITED, I HAVE TO ADVISE YOU THAT IF, IN THE EXERCISE OF THE DISCRETION VESTED IN YOU UNDER THE APPROPRIATION, YOU DEEM IT ADVISABLE TO OFFER A REWARD FOR THE RETURN OF THE STOLEN PLATINUM, THERE WILL BE NO OBJECTION, UPON THE RECOVERY OF THE MATERIAL, TO THE PAYMENT OF THE REWARD FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" COVERING THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE OFFER IS MADE.