A-24114, SEPTEMBER 13, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 116

A-24114: Sep 13, 1928

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THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRANSFER OF ANY AMOUNTS FROM THE SPECIAL FUND UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE BOARD TO THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY TO COVER THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE VERIFICATION AND DESTRUCTION OF SAID BONDS AND COUPONS IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY. AS FOLLOWS: THE FARM LOAN BOARD HAS REQUESTED THAT ARRANGEMENTS BE MADE WHEREBY THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY WILL ASSUME CHARGE OF THE WORK INCIDENT TO THE VERIFICATION AND DESTRUCTION OF ALL CANCELED FARM LOAN BONDS AND COUPONS FROM TIME TO TIME. BECAUSE OF THE INCREASED VOLUME AND AS THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY IS BETTER EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THE WORK. IT IS DESIRED TO MAKE THE CHANGE IN THE INTEREST OF IMPROVED AND ECONOMICAL ADMINISTRATION.

A-24114, SEPTEMBER 13, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 116

APPROPRIATIONS - TRANSFER - SERVICES BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS AS THE STATUTES MAKE NO PROVISION FOR THE VERIFICATION AND DESTRUCTION OF CANCELED FARM LOAN BONDS AND COUPONS BY ANY AGENCY OTHER THAN THE FEDERAL FARM LOAN BOARD, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRANSFER OF ANY AMOUNTS FROM THE SPECIAL FUND UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE BOARD TO THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY TO COVER THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE VERIFICATION AND DESTRUCTION OF SAID BONDS AND COUPONS IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1928:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 10, 1928, AS FOLLOWS:

THE FARM LOAN BOARD HAS REQUESTED THAT ARRANGEMENTS BE MADE WHEREBY THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY WILL ASSUME CHARGE OF THE WORK INCIDENT TO THE VERIFICATION AND DESTRUCTION OF ALL CANCELED FARM LOAN BONDS AND COUPONS FROM TIME TO TIME. THIS WORK HAS HERETOFORE BEEN DONE BY THE BOARD'S OWN EMPLOYEES IN WASHINGTON, BUT BECAUSE OF THE INCREASED VOLUME AND AS THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY IS BETTER EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THE WORK, IT IS DESIRED TO MAKE THE CHANGE IN THE INTEREST OF IMPROVED AND ECONOMICAL ADMINISTRATION. OWING TO THE LIMITED AMOUNT AVAILABLE FOR SALARIES IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY THAT OFFICE CAN NOT UNDERTAKE THE WORK WITH THE CONSEQUENT INCREASE IN EXPENSES FOR CLERICAL ASSISTANCE UNLESS THE APPROPRIATION MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE AMOUNT OF SUCH EXPENDITURES. THE FARM LOAN BOARD IS WILLING TO MAKE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF DOING THE WORK IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY AND SUCH ACTUAL COST MAY EASILY BE IDENTIFIED AND SEGREGATED.

THE ACT OF MARCH 5, 1928, MAKING APPROPRIATION FOR THE TREASURY AND POST OFFICE DEPARTMENTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1929, PROVIDES UNDER THE HEADING,"FEDERAL FARM LOAN BUREAU," FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES, $833,201,"PAYABLE FROM ASSESSMENTS UPON FEDERAL AND JOINT-STOCK LAND BANKS AND FEDERAL INTERMEDIATE CREDIT BANKS; OF WHICH NOT MORE THAN $325,000 MAY BE USED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.' THE SALARIES OF THE EMPLOYEES OF THE FARM LOAN BOARD IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE PAID FROM THIS SPECIAL FUND.

YOUR DECISION IS THEREFORE REQUESTED UPON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(1) MAY PAYMENTS BE MADE FROM THE SPECIAL FUND UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE FEDERAL FARM LOAN BOARD FOR THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE VERIFICATION AND DESTRUCTION OF ALL CANCELED FARM LOAN BONDS AND COUPONS IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY?

(2) IF SUCH PAYMENTS MAY BE MADE, MAY THE AMOUNTS THEREOF BE CREDITED AS REPAYMENTS TO THE APPROPRIATION "PUBLIC DEBT SERVICE," FROM WHICH APPROPRIATION SALARIES OF EMPLOYEES IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY ARE PAID, INSTEAD OF DEPOSITING SUCH AMOUNTS IN THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS?

IN THIS CONNECTION ATTENTION IS INVITED TO YOUR DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 4, 1924 (4TH COMP. GEN. 258).

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 208, PROVIDES:

* * * THE DUTIES OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY SHALL BE SUCH AS ARE NOW REQUIRED OF HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THE PUBLIC DEBT AND SUCH FURTHER DUTIES AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

THE ACT OF JULY 17, 1916, 39 STAT. 360, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1454, PROVIDES THAT THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE "FEDERAL FARM LOAN ACT" SHALL BE "UNDER THE DIRECTION AND CONTROL OF THE FEDERAL FARM LOAN BOARD.' SECTION 17 OF THE FARM LOAN ACT, 39 STAT. 375, ROVIDES:

THAT THE FEDERAL FARM LOAN BOARD SHALL HAVE POWER---

(J) TO EXERCISE SUCH INCIDENTAL POWERS AS SHALL BE NECESSARY OR REQUISITE TO FULFILL ITS DUTIES AND CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT.

SECTION 19 OF THE FEDERAL FARM LOAN ACT PROVIDES THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY SHALL PREPARE SUITABLE BONDS AS THE FARM LOAN BOARD MAY APPROVE, TO BE SUBJECT TO DELIVERY ON THEIR ORDER AND THAT ANY EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PREPARATION, CUSTODY, AND DELIVERY OF SUCH BONDS SHALL BE PAID FROM ANY FUNDS IN THE TREASURY NOT OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED, SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT BY THE FARM LOAN BOARD THROUGH ASSESSMENT UPON THE FARM LAND BANKS.

SECTION 20 OF THE ACT PROVIDES:

THE FEDERAL FARM LOAN BOARD SHALL PRESCRIBE RULES AND REGULATIONS CONCERNING THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND MANNER IN WHICH FARM-LOAN BONDS SHALL BE PAID AND RETIRED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT.

IT THUS APPEARS THAT THE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF VERIFYING AND DESTROYING PAID AND CANCELED FARM-LOAN BONDS AND COUPONS IS IMPOSED BY LAW ON THE FARM LOAN BOARD AS INCIDENTAL TO THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE FARM LOAN ACT AND THAT THE CHARACTER OF THE DUTIES IS SUCH THAT IT IS REQUIRED THAT THEIR ACTUAL PERFORMANCE BE UNDER DIRECT SUPERVISION OF THE BOARD RATHER THAN BEING INCIDENTAL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A PARTICULAR RESULT SUCH AS MIGHT BE PROCURED BY CONTRACT OR FROM ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY. SEE 5 COMP. GEN. 757. WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT UNDER THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE THE WORK WOULD BE PERFORMED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY, IT WOULD NOT BE PERFORMED UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION OF THE FARM LOAN BOARD, THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY CHARGED BY LAW WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS PROPER PERFORMANCE. IN THIS CONNECTION IT WAS HELD BY A COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY IN DECISION OF APRIL 13, 1921, 27 COMP. DEC. 892, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MAY 21, 1920, 41 STAT. 613, AUTHORIZING TRANSFER OF APPROPRIATIONS OF ONE BUREAU OR DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ANOTHER FOR PROCUREMENT OF SUPPLIES OR PERFORMANCE OF SERVICES WAS INTENDED MERELY TO SIMPLIFY THE ACCOUNTING BETWEEN THE BUREAUS OR DEPARTMENTS BY MAKING THE APPROPRIATIONS INVOLVED IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE, THEREBY OBVIATING THE NECESSITY OF AWAITING ADJUSTMENT OF APPROPRIATIONS UNTIL AFTER PERFORMANCE, AND CAN NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A REMOVAL OF THE GENERAL RESTRICTION THAT HAS ALWAYS PREVAILED THAT A PARTICULAR DUTY IMPOSED ON ONE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT BY ENACTMENT OF CONGRESS OR GOING TO THE ESSENCE OF ITS EXISTENCE IS NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER BRANCH BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN THE NATURE OF HAVING ONE BRANCH PERFORM SERVICES FOR ANOTHER.

IN A DECISION ADDRESSED TO YOU JULY 7, 1923, RELATIVE TO A REQUESTED TRANSFER OF CERTAIN TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS TO BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS, SUPPOSEDLY FOR THE REPAIR, MAINTENANCE, ETC., OF BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, IT WAS SAID:

THE ACT OF MAY 21, 1920, 41 STAT. 613, IS CITED AS AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSFER. THIS STATUTE AUTHORIZES TRANSFERS OF APPROPRIATIONS WHERE SERVICES ARE RENDERED OR SUPPLIES FURNISHED BY ONE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ANOTHER BRANCH. THE STATUTE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR A TRANSFER OF APPROPRIATIONS WHICH IN SUBSTANCE INVOLVES A TRANSFER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES IMPOSED BY LAW UPON THE PARTICULAR DEPARTMENT CONCERNED. THIS IS THE SITUATION IN THE MATTER OF THE PRESENT TRANSFER, THE WHOLE APPROPRIATION MADE BEING TRANSFERRED AND THUS NECESSITATING THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT THEREUNDER AND IT IS WITHOUT WARRANT OF LAW. * * *

THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS IN REQUIRING ESTIMATES AND THE MAKING OF APPROPRIATIONS THEREON IS THE IMPOSITION OF A DUTY UPON THE DEPARTMENT TO WHICH IT IS MADE TO ACT AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXPENDITURES MADE UNDER THE APPROPRIATIONS.

SEE ALSO A-8234, MARCH 18, 1925, AND A-15080, DECEMBER 11, 1926, HOLDING THAT THE DUTIES OF ROAD BUILDING, ETC., IN THE NATIONAL PARKS, IMPOSED BY LAW UPON THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, COULD NOT BE TRANSFERRED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION FOR PERFORMANCE BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

THE STATUTES CITED, SUPRA, SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE YOU TO HAVE PREPARED AND DELIVERED SUITABLE BONDS TO THE FARM LOAN BOARD, THE COST OF THE PREPARATION, CUSTODY AND DELIVERY OF THE BONDS TO BE REIMBURSED BY THE FARM LOAN BOARD. HOWEVER, THE STATUTES MAKE NO PROVISION CONCERNING THE VERIFICATION AND DESTRUCTION OF THE CANCELED BONDS AND COUPONS BY AN AGENCY OTHER THAN THE FARM LOAN BOARD; AND IN VIEW OF THE NATURE OF SUCH DUTIES, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE TRANSFER THEREOF FROM THE FARM LOAN BOARD TO THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE THEREOF FROM THE FARM LOAN BOARD TO THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY. KAGUYAK, KODIAK ISLAND, ALASKA, ON FEBRUARY 19, 1928, AND THEIR SUBSEQUENT REMOVAL TO KODIAK, ALASKA, BY DIRECTION OF THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER LOCATED AT KODIAK, ALASKA, ARE SET FORTH IN THE STATEMENT COMMISSIONER LOCATED AT KODIAK, ALASKA, ARE SET FORTH IN THE STATEMENT

AS YOU STATE THAT THE PROPOSED TRANSFER WOULD BE IN THE INTEREST OF IMPROVED AND ECONOMICAL ADMINISTRATION, IT WOULD APPEAR PROPER FOR YOU TO SUBMIT THE MATTER TO THE CONGRESS FOR CONSIDERATION WHETHER STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR SUCH TRANSFER OF DUTIES SHOULD BE GRANTED WITH NECESSARY CHANGES IN AMOUNTS ANNUALLY APPROPRIATED TO MAKE PROVISION FOR THE INCREASED EXPENSES IMPOSED ON THE OFFICE&6F THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY, TO BE REIMBURSED FROM FUNDS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE FARM LOAN BOARD.