A-20358, NOVEMBER 7, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 312

A-20358: Nov 7, 1927

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" IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF RUGS. 1927: THERE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION CERTAIN PAYMENTS AGGREGATING $1. CREDIT FOR THESE ITEMS WAS SUSPENDED IN SETTLEMENT K-9376-T. FOR EXPLANATION AS TO THE REASON WHY SUCH PURCHASES WERE NOT MADE UNDER THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. FROM THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN WHICH IT IS STATED IN PART AS FOLLOWS: IT MAY BE SAID IN THIS CONNECTION THAT. GENERAL ANDREWS WAS VIRTUALLY PERFORMING THE DUTIES OF PROHIBITION COMMISSIONER AND WAS PERSONALLY ACTIVELY DIRECTING THE FUNCTIONS OF PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT. A FORCE OF PROHIBITION EMPLOYEES WAS ON DUTY HERE. THE EQUIPMENT WAS. ACTUALLY PURCHASED FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE ENFORCEMENT OF PROHIBITION AND WAS SO USED.

A-20358, NOVEMBER 7, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 312

APPROPRIATIONS - PURCHASE OF FURNITURE AND OFFICE EQUIPMENT - TREASURY DEPARTMENT THE APPROPRIATION "ENFORCEMENT OF NARCOTIC AND NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACTS, 1927," IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF RUGS, CARPETS, DESKS, AND CHAIRS FOR THE OFFICE OF AN ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY OR FOR ANY OTHER OFFICE IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, 37 STAT. 414, PROHIBITS THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH FURNITURE AND OFFICE EQUIPMENT UNDER ANY APPROPRIATION OTHER THAN THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR THE CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, NOVEMBER 7, 1927:

THERE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION CERTAIN PAYMENTS AGGREGATING $1,324.42 MADE IN NOVEMBER, 1926, UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "ENFORCEMENT OF NARCOTIC AND NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACTS, 1927," BY J. L. SUMMERS, DISBURSING CLERK OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, ON VOUCHERS 81715, 81717, 81731, AND 81732 FOR THE PURCHASE OF RUGS, CARPETS, DESKS, AND CHAIRS FOR THE OFFICE OF AN ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

CREDIT FOR THESE ITEMS WAS SUSPENDED IN SETTLEMENT K-9376-T, FOR EXPLANATION AS TO THE REASON WHY SUCH PURCHASES WERE NOT MADE UNDER THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. REPLY THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED LETTER DATED AUGUST 29, 1927, FROM THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN WHICH IT IS STATED IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

IT MAY BE SAID IN THIS CONNECTION THAT, OWING TO THE UPSET CONDITION OF THE PROHIBITION HEADQUARTERS ORGANIZATION AT THE TIME OF THE PURCHASE OF THIS EQUIPMENT, GENERAL ANDREWS WAS VIRTUALLY PERFORMING THE DUTIES OF PROHIBITION COMMISSIONER AND WAS PERSONALLY ACTIVELY DIRECTING THE FUNCTIONS OF PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT. AS AN ILLUSTRATION, IT MAY BE MENTIONED THAT THE SUPERVISOR OF WINE CONTROL FUNCTIONED IN THE OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, AND A FORCE OF PROHIBITION EMPLOYEES WAS ON DUTY HERE. THE EQUIPMENT WAS, THEREFORE, ACTUALLY PURCHASED FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE ENFORCEMENT OF PROHIBITION AND WAS SO USED. PRACTICALLY ALL OF THE MORE IMPORTANT PROHIBITION BUSINESS WAS CONDUCTED IN THE OFFICE OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY ANDREWS, DOZENS OF CALLERS FROM THE OUTSIDE AND FROM THE PROHIBITION BUREAU AND FIELD SERVICE BEING RECEIVED DAILY.

ATTENTION IS ALSO INVITED TO THE FACT THAT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS THE ONLY AMOUNT APPROPRIATED IN THE CONTINGENT APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE PURCHASE OF CARPETS, LINOLEUM, RUBBER MATTING, AND LIKE MATERIALS, HAS BEEN $500 PER ANNUM. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT CONGRESS NEVER INTENDED THIS PARTICULAR APPROPRIATION TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF CARPETS, RUGS, ETC., FOR THE ENTIRE TREASURY ACTIVITIES, PARTICULARLY BY VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT AUTHORIZATION HAS BEEN GRANTED AND MONEY APPROPRIATED IN ALL OF THE LARGE ACTIVITIES FROM WHICH PURCHASES OF THIS KIND COULD BE MADE.

THE CONTINGENT APPROPRIATION FOR CARPETS, SO CALLED, HAS NOT BEEN USED FOR MANY YEARS FOR PURCHASES OF THIS CHARACTER FOR VARIOUS OFFICES SUCH AS THE OFFICE OF THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT, THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, THE PUBLIC DEBT SERVICE, AND THE PROHIBITION SERVICE. FROM THE CONTINGENT APPROPRIATION WE MUST PAY FOR REPAIRS AS THEY ARE NEEDED, AS WELL AS SPECIAL CLEANING, WHICH HAS LEFT A VERY SMALL AMOUNT TO TAKE CARE OF ABSOLUTE NEEDS IN A NUMBER OF OFFICES WHERE THEY HAVE NO AUTHORITY OR APPROPRIATION TO ENABLE THEM TO MAKE SEPARATE PURCHASES BUT DEPEND ON THE CHIEF CLERK'S APPROPRIATION. THESE IN THE MAIN ARETHE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY, THE OFFICE OF THE TREASURER OF THE UNDER STATES, THE SECRET SERVICE, THE DISBURSING CLERK, THE MINT BUREAU, THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, THE COAST GUARD, THE DIVISION OF BOOKKEEPING AND WARRANTS, THE APPOINTMENT DIVISION, AND SO ON.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH JUST QUOTED IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD HOW THERE COULD HAVE BEEN SUCH A PRACTICE AS THEREIN INDICATED IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR THE CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT ARE MADE FOR ALL SUCH EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE SEVERAL BUREAUS AND BRANCHES OF THAT DEPARTMENT AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. SUCH A PRACTICE IS CLEARLY ILLEGAL AND UNAUTHORIZED.

THE FACT THAT THE DUTIES OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY ANDREWS CONSISTED MAINLY IN THE CONDUCT OF BUSINESS OF THE PROHIBITION UNIT AT THE TIME THE ITEMS WERE PURCHASED IS NOT A SUFFICIENT JUSTIFICATION FOR THE FURNISHING AND EQUIPPING OF HIS OFFICE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE PROHIBITION APPROPRIATION.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, 37 STAT. 414, PROVIDES:

* * * AND HEREAFTER THERE SHALL NOT BE PURCHASED OUT OF ANY OTHER FUND ANY ARTICLE FOR USE IN ANY OFFICE OR BUREAU OF ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT IN WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WHICH COULD BE PURCHASED OUT OF THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR THE REGULAR CONTINGENT FUNDS OF SUCH DEPARTMENT OR OF ITS OFFICES OR BUREAUS.

THE PURCHASES HERE IN QUESTION WERE MADE IN DIRECT CONTRAVENTION OF THE PLAIN PROVISIONS OF LAW QUOTED, AND, THEREFORE, THIS OFFICE MUST DISALLOW CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER FOR THE PAYMENTS MADE THEREFOR.