A-2145, OCTOBER 26, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 289

A-2145: Oct 26, 1925

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PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE - DISPOSITION OF PURCHASE MONEYS RECOVERED PUBLIC MONEYS WHICH HAVE BEEN EXPENDED FOR THE PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE TO BE USED IN PROSECUTIONS UNDER THE NARCOTIC AND PROHIBITION ACTS. WHEN THEY HAVE SERVED THEIR PURPOSE AS EVIDENCE IN COURT AND AGAIN COME INTO THE POSSESSION OF THE GOVERNMENT'S AGENTS. THEY MAY NOT BE DEPOSITED TO THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THEY WERE ORIGINALLY WITHDRAWN. HOLDING THAT MONEYS EXPENDED BY REVENUE AGENTS FOR THE PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE OF VIOLATIONS OF NARCOTIC AND PROHIBITION ACTS AND RECOVERED UPON CONVICTION OF THE VIOLATORS OF SAID ACTS ARE MONEYS "RECEIVED FROM WHATEVER SOURCE FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED STATES. " AND AS SUCH ARE REQUIRED BY SECTION 3617.

A-2145, OCTOBER 26, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 289

PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE - DISPOSITION OF PURCHASE MONEYS RECOVERED PUBLIC MONEYS WHICH HAVE BEEN EXPENDED FOR THE PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE TO BE USED IN PROSECUTIONS UNDER THE NARCOTIC AND PROHIBITION ACTS, WHEN THEY HAVE SERVED THEIR PURPOSE AS EVIDENCE IN COURT AND AGAIN COME INTO THE POSSESSION OF THE GOVERNMENT'S AGENTS, MUST BE DEPOSITED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. THEY MAY NOT BE DEPOSITED TO THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THEY WERE ORIGINALLY WITHDRAWN.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, OCTOBER 26, 1925:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 7, 1925, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THAT PORTION OF MY DECISION OF MAY 31, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 911, HOLDING THAT MONEYS EXPENDED BY REVENUE AGENTS FOR THE PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE OF VIOLATIONS OF NARCOTIC AND PROHIBITION ACTS AND RECOVERED UPON CONVICTION OF THE VIOLATORS OF SAID ACTS ARE MONEYS "RECEIVED FROM WHATEVER SOURCE FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED STATES," AND AS SUCH ARE REQUIRED BY SECTION 3617, REVISED STATUTES, TO "BE PAID BY THE OFFICER OR AGENT RECEIVING THE SAME INTO THE TREASURY, AT AS EARLY A DAY AS PRACTICABLE.'

YOU STATE THAT THIS PART OF THE DECISION CAN BE CONSTRUED AS HOLDING THAT THE RECOVERED PURCHASE MONEYS MUST BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS WHICH WILL ELIMINATE THEIR REUSE FOR THE PURPOSE OF BUYING MORE EVIDENCE, AND YOU SUGGEST THAT THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 3617 CAN BE CONSTRUED AS PERMITTING A DISBURSING OFFICER TO DEPOSIT RECOVERED PURCHASE MONEYS TO HIS CREDIT "INTO THE TREASURY" UNDER THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE MONEY WAS ORIGINALLY DRAWN INSTEAD OF AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, AND THUS, WHILE COMPLYING WITH THE LETTER OF THE STATUTE, AVOID THE NECESSITY OF ASKING CONGRESS FOR A LARGER APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PURCHASING EVIDENCE.

THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER MONEYS COLLECTED TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT FOR EXPENDITURES PREVIOUSLY MADE SHOULD BE USED TO REIMBURSE THE APPROPRIATIONS FROM WHICH THE EXPENDITURES WERE MADE OR SHOULD BE COVERED INTO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY HAS OFTEN BEEN BEFORE THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE TREASURY AND THIS OFFICE, AND IT HAS BEEN UNIFORMLY HELD THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPRESS PROVISION IN THE STATUTE TO THE CONTRARY, SUCH FUNDS SHOULD BE COVERED IN AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. COMP. DEC. 253; ID. 315; 24 COMP. DEC. 694.

LIKEWISE THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE DEPOSIT TO THE CREDIT OF AN APPROPRIATION WOULD BE A PAYING INTO THE TREASURY WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 3617 WAS DECIDED IN THE NEGATIVE BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY IN DECISION OF JULY 2, 1909, 50 MS. COMP. DEC. 1, AND IN CONSTRUING SECTION 3617 IT WAS SAID IN 22 COMP. DEC. PAGE 381, THAT---

IT COULD HARDLY BE MADE MORE COMPREHENSIVE AS TO THE MONEYS THAT ARE MEANT AND THESE MONEYS ARE REQUIRED TO BE PAID "INTO THE TREASURY.' THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE MONEYS ARE TO BE ADDED TO A FUND THAT HAS BEEN APPROPRIATED FROM THE TREASURY AND MAY BE IN THE TREASURY OR OUTSIDE. SEEMS TO ME THAT IT CAN ONLY MEAN THAT THEY SHALL GO INTO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY, WHICH IS SUBJECT TO ANY DISPOSITION WHICH CONGRESS MIGHT CHOOSE TO MAKE OF IT. THIS HAS BEEN THE HOLDING OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS FOR MANY YEARS (3 LAW. 43; 1 BOWLER, 109; 1 COMP. DEC. 569; 3 ID. 399; 7 ID. 852; 14 ID., 87; 20 ID., 349). IF CONGRESS INTENDED THAT THESE MONEYS SHOULD BE RETURNED TO THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH A SIMILAR AMOUNT HAD BEEN ONCE EXPENDED IT COULD HAVE BEEN READILY SO STATED, AND IT WAS NOT.

YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY ADVISED THAT MONEY WHICH HAS BEEN EXPENDED FOR THE PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE TO BE USED IN PROSECUTIONS UNDER THE NARCOTIC AND PROHIBITION ACTS WHEN IT HAS SERVED ITS PURPOSE AS EVIDENCE IN COURT AND AGAIN COMES INTO THE POSSESSION OF THE GOVERNMENT'S AGENTS, MUST BE DEPOSITED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. IF THE FUND APPROPRIATED FOR THE PURCHASE OF EVIDENCE IS NOT SUFFICIENT, THE QUESTION OF A LARGER APPROPRIATION IS ONE FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CONGRESS EITHER WITH A VIEW TO INCREASING THE AMOUNT OF THE APPROPRIATION OR AUTHORIZING THE DEPOSIT OF THE RECOVERED MONEYS TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION AGAINST WHICH THE ADVANCE WAS CHARGED.