A-19698, SEPTEMBER 9, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 193

A-19698: Sep 9, 1927

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BIDS WERE SOLICITED FOR SECOND-HAND STEEL RAILS TO BE USED IN REINFORCING CONCRETE WORK. THAT THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED WAS THAT OF THE PACIFIC HIDE AND FUR DEPOT OF $852.72 WHICH WAS ACCEPTED. THE RAILS WERE PURCHASED FROM THE NEXT LOWEST BIDDER AT A TOTAL COST OF $1. ALL ACCOUNTS WHATEVER IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS CONCERNED. GIVE TO THE SETTLEMENTS OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE OF CLAIMS OF THE GOVERNMENT AGAINST ITS DEBTORS A PRIMA FACIE EFFECT WHEN SUIT IS BROUGHT TO RECOVER THE AMOUNT CERTIFIED TO BE DUE THE GOVERNMENT. THAT IS TO SAY WHERE PAYMENTS ARE TO BE MADE BY OR ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE PROPER PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED TO COMPLETE THE RECORD FOR ACTION BY THIS OFFICE IS TO TRANSMIT TO THIS OFFICE THE REMITTANCE OF $150 WITH YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN.

A-19698, SEPTEMBER 9, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 193

CLAIMS - SETTLEMENTS - AUTHORITY UNDER SECTION 236 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 305 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 24, THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE SETTLEMENTS AGAINST DEBTORS OF THE UNITED STATES RESTS, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, AND ALL CLAIMS ARISING IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES AGAINST DEBTORS SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITH REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AS TO SETTLEMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, SEPTEMBER 9, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 26, 1927, TO THE AFFECT THAT IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE GIBSON DAM, SUN RIVER PROJECT, BIDS WERE SOLICITED FOR SECOND-HAND STEEL RAILS TO BE USED IN REINFORCING CONCRETE WORK; THAT THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED WAS THAT OF THE PACIFIC HIDE AND FUR DEPOT OF $852.72 WHICH WAS ACCEPTED; THAT THE BIDDER REFUSED TO EXECUTE FORMAL CONTRACT OR SUPPLY THE RAILS FOR THE REASON, AS STATED IN ITS LETTER OF MAY 3, 1927; THAT THE RAILS "CHECKED OUT SHORT ON THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF 272 RAILS, AND ALSO FOUND MANY HEAVILY ENCRUSTED WITH RUST AND OF VARIED LENGTHS; " THAT AFTER NOTIFICATION OF BIDDER IN LETTER DATED MAY 13, 1927, THE RAILS WERE PURCHASED FROM THE NEXT LOWEST BIDDER AT A TOTAL COST OF $1,085.90 TO THE UNITED STATES, RESULTING IN A LOSS OF $233.18 TO THE GOVERNMENT BY REASON OF THE REFUSAL OF THE PACIFIC HIDE AND FUR DEPOT TO COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF THE ACCEPTED BID. YOU FURTHER REPORT THAT IN RESPONSE TO A DEMAND FOR PAYMENT OF THE LOSS OF $233.18, THE PACIFIC HIDE AND FUR DEPOT HAS TENDERED A REMITTANCE OF $150 IN SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM AGAINST IT AND YOU REQUEST DECISION AS TO WHETHER SUCH OFFER SHOULD BE ACCEPTED.

SECTION 236, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 24, PROVIDES THAT---

ALL CLAIMS AND DEMANDS WHATEVER BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OR AGAINST IT, AND ALL ACCOUNTS WHATEVER IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS CONCERNED, EITHER AS DEBTOR OR CREDITOR, SHALL BE SETTLED AND ADJUSTED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

THIS PROVISION OF LAW, WHICH ORIGINATED WITH THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1817, 3 STAT. 366, CONTEMPLATES THAT UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED BY SUBSEQUENT LEGISLATION, ALL CLAIMS OF THE GOVERNMENT AGAINST ITS DEBTORS SHALL IN THE FIRST INSTANCE BE SETTLED AND ADJUSTED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. SECTIONS 882, 886, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 306 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, SUPRA, AS CONSTRUED BY THE COURTS, GIVE TO THE SETTLEMENTS OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE OF CLAIMS OF THE GOVERNMENT AGAINST ITS DEBTORS A PRIMA FACIE EFFECT WHEN SUIT IS BROUGHT TO RECOVER THE AMOUNT CERTIFIED TO BE DUE THE GOVERNMENT. SEE SOULE V. UNITED STATES, 100 U.S. 8; DENNIS V. UNITED STATES, 52 PAC. 353; AND UNITED STATES V. PIERSON, 145 FED.REP. 814.

SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 208, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE A DISBURSING OFFICER OR THE HEAD OF AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT TO REQUIRE A DECISION OF THIS OFFICE IN THE MATTER OF THE COLLECTION OF A DEBT TO THE UNITED STATES; SAID SECTION RELATES TO THE RENDITION OF DECISIONS IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT, THAT IS TO SAY WHERE PAYMENTS ARE TO BE MADE BY OR ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT.

AS THE PRESENT SUBMISSION DISCLOSES THE FACTS IN THIS CASE, THE PROPER PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED TO COMPLETE THE RECORD FOR ACTION BY THIS OFFICE IS TO TRANSMIT TO THIS OFFICE THE REMITTANCE OF $150 WITH YOUR RECOMMENDATION AS TO THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN. REFERENCE SHOULD BE MADE, ALSO, TO THE VOUCHER NUMBER AND THE NAME OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER PAYING THE MORSE BROS. MACHINERY AND SUPPLY CO. FOR THE STEEL PURCHASED IN LIEU OF THAT WHICH THE PACIFIC HIDE AND FUR DEPOT SHOULD HAVE FURNISHED UNDER ITS ACCEPTED BID. IF THE AMOUNT TENDERED IN THE SETTLEMENT CAN NOT BE ACCEPTED, IT WILL BE RETURNED TO THE DEBTOR WHEN THIS OFFICE HAS CONCLUDED ITS CONSIDERATION OF THE CLAIM.