A-25361, FEBRUARY 16, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 454

A-25361: Feb 16, 1929

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COUPON BOOKS FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF GASOLINE AND OIL THE PURCHASE ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT OF COUPON BOOKS TO BE USED IN THE PROCUREMENT OF GASOLINE AND OIL INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF AN AUTOMOBILE UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL IS NOT AUTHORIZED. REIMBURSEMENT MAY NOT BE MADE OF THE VALUE OF A COUPON BOOK FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF GASOLINE AND OIL ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN USED BY AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS. OR PRICE OF THE GASOLINE AND OIL THAT WERE FURNISHED IN EXCHANGE FOR THE COUPONS DETACHED FROM THE BOOK. THAT THE GASOLINE AND OIL WERE USED ON THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL. ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN FURNISHED C. ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN USED BY HIM IN THE PURCHASE OF OIL AND GASOLINE WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS FOR THE DOMESTIC COMMERCE DIVISION.

A-25361, FEBRUARY 16, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 454

COUPON BOOKS FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF GASOLINE AND OIL THE PURCHASE ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT OF COUPON BOOKS TO BE USED IN THE PROCUREMENT OF GASOLINE AND OIL INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF AN AUTOMOBILE UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL IS NOT AUTHORIZED, AS SUCH PURCHASE INVOLVES THE PAYMENT FOR SUPPLIES IN ADVANCE OF DELIVERY IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES. REIMBURSEMENT MAY NOT BE MADE OF THE VALUE OF A COUPON BOOK FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF GASOLINE AND OIL ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN USED BY AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS, IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE AS TO THE TIME, PLACE, QUANTITY, OR PRICE OF THE GASOLINE AND OIL THAT WERE FURNISHED IN EXCHANGE FOR THE COUPONS DETACHED FROM THE BOOK, AND THAT THE GASOLINE AND OIL WERE USED ON THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 16, 1929:

THE STANDARD OIL CO. OF CALIFORNIA BY LETTER OF NOVEMBER 22, 1928, REQUESTED REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 01697-/38), DATED OCTOBER 30, 1928, DISALLOWING ITS CLAIM FOR $20 COVERING THE VALUE OF COUPON BOOK NO. K 317942, ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN FURNISHED C. R. NIKLASON ON NOVEMBER 18, 1927, AND ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN USED BY HIM IN THE PURCHASE OF OIL AND GASOLINE WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS FOR THE DOMESTIC COMMERCE DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE PACIFIC SOUTHWEST COMMERCIAL SURVEY.

THE CLAIM IN QUESTION WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT NO CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE SHOWING THAT THE COUPONS IN THE BOOK IN QUESTION WERE USED FOR THE PURCHASE OF SUPPLIES, OR THE NATURE AND VALUE OF THE SUPPLIES PURCHASED, HAD BEEN FURNISHED IN SUPPORT OF THE CLAIM.

IT APPEARS TO BE AN ESTABLISHED PRACTICE OF CLAIMANT COMPANY TO ISSUE TO CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS, COUPON BOOKS WITH COUPONS OF THE VALUE OF $20, FOR THEIR CONVENIENCE AND USE IN THE PURCHASING OF OILAND GASOLINE FROM THE VARIOUS STATIONS MAINTAINED BY SAID COMPANY, AND EITHER CHARGE THE CUSTOMERS WITH THE VALUE THEREOF OR COLLECT FROM THEM THE VALUE OF THE COUPONS CONTAINED IN THE BOOKS AT THE TIME OF ISSUE, AND IT APPEARS THAT THAT PROCEDURE WAS FOLLOWED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ISSUING TO MR. NIKLASON OF THE BOOK HERE IN QUESTION, THE VALUE THEREOF PRESUMABLY BEING CHARGED TO HIM.

THERE WERE IN FORCE AT THE TIME THE COUPON BOOK WAS ISSUED TO MR. NIKLASON, DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY AND OF THIS OFFICE IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT THE PURCHASE OF COUPON BOOKS TO BE USED IN THE PROCUREMENT OF OIL AND GASOLINE INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF GOVERNMENT- OWNED VEHICLES IS NOT AUTHORIZED AS SUCH PURCHASES INVOLVE THE PAYMENT FOR SUPPLIES IN ADVANCE OF DELIVERY IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES. DECISIONS OF DECEMBER 20, 1919, MARCH 18, 1920, AND OCTOBER 18, 1920, OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, AND DECISION OF DECEMBER 2, 1924, OF THIS OFFICE, 4 COMP. GEN. 509. WHILE THE MACHINE USED BY MR. NIKLASON WAS NOT GOVERNMENT-OWNED, IT WAS, NEVERTHELESS, UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTROL BY REASON OF A RENTAL AGREEMENT COVERING THE TIME IT WAS USED BY HIM. THE PURCHASE OF THE COUPON BOOK IN QUESTION WAS NOT AUTHORIZED AS A MATTER OF LAW AND, THEREFORE, CREATED NO VALID OBLIGATION AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE PAYMENT THEREFOR.

THE HIRE OF THE AUTOMOBILE USED BY MR. NIKLASON WAS PROPERLY AUTHORIZED BY ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES AND THE AUTHORIZATION THEREFOR CARRIED WITH IT THE IMPLIED AUTHORITY FOR HIM TO PURCHASE, AS AND WHEN NEEDED, FROM HIS PRIVATE FUNDS, FOR WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UPON A PROPER SHOWING OF THE QUANTITY AND PRICE AT WHICH PURCHASED, THE QUANTITY OF OIL AND GASOLINE NECESSARILY REQUIRED IN COMPLYING WITH HIS TRAVEL ORDERS.

AS THE INSTANT CLAIM IS MERELY FOR THE VALUE OF A COUPON BOOK FOR WHICH THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO MAKE PAYMENT AS SUCH, AND THERE HAVING BEEN FURNISHED NO SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE AS TO THE TIME, PLACE, QUANTITY, OR PRICE OF THE OIL AND GASOLINE THAT WERE FURNISHED MR. NIKLASON IN EXCHANGE FOR THE COUPONS AND USED IN OFFICIAL TRAVEL, THE MATTER IS SUCH THAT FAVORABLE ACTION ON THE CLAIM IS NOT WARRANTED AT THIS TIME.