A-26810, MAY 20, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 613

A-26810: May 20, 1929

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FOR THE FURNISHING OF INFORMATION THAT IS NOT ESSENTIAL BUT HELPFUL IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF AN AUTHORIZED WORK. ARE NOT PAYABLE UNLESS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR IN THE APPROPRIATION. 1929: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 11. AS FOLLOWS: TROUBLE IS BEING EXPERIENCED WITH FOREST FIRES ON THE RED LAKE RESERVATION IN MINNESOTA BELIEVED TO BE OF INCENDIARY ORIGIN. THE TIMBER RESOURCES OF THIS RESERVATION ARE OF GREAT VALUE. THE LOCAL OFFICIALS SO FAR HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO APPREHEND ANY ONE BUILDING FIRES ON OR ADJACENT TO THE RED LAKE FOREST. AS A MEANS OF ASSISTANCE IN APPREHENDING GUILTY PERSONS IT IS PROPOSED TO OFFER A REWARD TO ANYONE APPREHENDING OR FURNISHING EVIDENCE LEADING TO THE ARREST AND CONVICTION OF PERSONS FOUND GUILTY OF BUILDING A FIRE.

A-26810, MAY 20, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 613

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF REWARDS REWARDS, FOR THE FURNISHING OF INFORMATION THAT IS NOT ESSENTIAL BUT HELPFUL IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF AN AUTHORIZED WORK, ARE NOT PAYABLE UNLESS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR IN THE APPROPRIATION, OR OTHER STATUTE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MAY 20, 1929:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 11, 1929, AS FOLLOWS:

TROUBLE IS BEING EXPERIENCED WITH FOREST FIRES ON THE RED LAKE RESERVATION IN MINNESOTA BELIEVED TO BE OF INCENDIARY ORIGIN. THE TIMBER RESOURCES OF THIS RESERVATION ARE OF GREAT VALUE, BEING THE CHIEF SOURCE OF INCOME FOR THE RED LAKE INDIANS. THE LOCAL OFFICIALS SO FAR HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO APPREHEND ANY ONE BUILDING FIRES ON OR ADJACENT TO THE RED LAKE FOREST. AS A MEANS OF ASSISTANCE IN APPREHENDING GUILTY PERSONS IT IS PROPOSED TO OFFER A REWARD TO ANYONE APPREHENDING OR FURNISHING EVIDENCE LEADING TO THE ARREST AND CONVICTION OF PERSONS FOUND GUILTY OF BUILDING A FIRE, AS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 25, 1910 (36 STAT.L., 855-856), AMENDING SECTION 53 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909 (35 STAT.L., 1098), AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 53. WHOEVER SHALL BUILD A FIRE IN OR NEAR ANY FOREST, TIMBER, OR OTHER INFLAMMABLE MATERIAL UPON THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, OR UPON ANY INDIAN RESERVATION, OR LANDS BELONGING TO OR OCCUPIED BY ANY TRIBE OF INDIANS UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE UNITED STATES, OR UPON ANY INDIAN ALLOTMENT WHILE THE TITLE TO THE SAME SHALL BE HELD IN TRUST BY THE GOVERNMENT, OR WHILE THE SAME SHALL REMAIN INALIENABLE BY THE ALLOTTEE WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE UNITED STATES, SHALL, BEFORE LEAVING SAID FIRE, TOTALLY EXTINGUISH THE SAME; AND WHOEVER SHALL FAIL TO DO SO SHALL BE FINED NOT MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS, OR IMPRISONED NOT MORE THAN ONE YEAR, OR BOTH.'

ADVICE IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE LAW WILL PERMIT THIS DEPARTMENT TO PAY SUCH REWARDS. IN THIS CONNECTION ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY (5 COMP.TREAS. 118), HOLDING THAT UNDER AN APPROPRIATION TO MEET THE EXPENSES OF PROTECTING TIMBER ON THE PUBLIC LANDS THE HEAD OF THE PROPER DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO OFFER AND PAY REWARDS FOR THE APPREHENSION AND CONVICTION OF PERSONS WHO SET FIRE TO TIMBER, UNDERBRUSH, OR GRASS ON THE PUBLIC LANDS IN VIOLATION OF THE ACT FOR PREVENTING SUCH DEPREDATIONS; ALSO COMPTROLLER GENERAL (6 COMP. GEN. 774), HOLDING THAT AN APPROPRIATION FOR "CONTINGENCIES OF THE ARMY" MIGHT BE USED IN THE PAYMENT OF A REWARD FOR THE RECOVERY OF PROPERTY STOLEN FROM THE ARMY.

THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH REWARDS WOULD BE PAID KNOWN AS "INDUSTRIAL WORK AND CARE OF BER," WILL BE FOUND IN 45 STAT.P. 207. THIS APPROPRIATION IS APPLICABLE TO "PURPOSES OF PRESERVING LIVING AND GROWING TIMBER ON INDIAN RESERVATIONS AND ALLOTMENTS.' ADVICE IS ALSO REQUESTED AS TO THE APPLICABILITY OF INDIAN TRIBAL FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS FOR GENERAL PURPOSES BENEFICIAL TO THE INDIANS OF ANY RESERVATION.

THE ACT OF MARCH 7, 1928, 45 STAT. 207, MAKING APPROPRIATION FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1929, ETC., UNDER THE HEADING "BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, INDUSTRIAL ASSISTANCE AND ADVANCEMENT," PROVIDES:

FOR THE PURPOSES OF PRESERVING LIVING AND GROWING TIMBER ON INDIAN RESERVATIONS AND ALLOTMENTS OTHER THAN THE MENOMINEE INDIAN RESERVATION IN WISCONSIN, AND TO EDUCATE INDIANS IN THE PROPER CARE OF FORESTS; * * * $375,000: PROVIDED, THAT THIS APPROPRIATION SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE EXPENSES OF ADMINISTRATION OF INDIAN FOREST LANDS FROM WHICH TIMBER IS SOLD TO THE EXTENT ONLY THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE SALES OF TIMBER FROM SUCH LANDS ARE INSUFFICIENT FOR THAT PURPOSE: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT NOT TO EXCEED $100,000 OF THE AMOUNT HEREWITH APPROPRIATED MAY BE USED FOR THE PREVENTION OF FOREST FIRES ON INDIAN RESERVATIONS: * * *

AN APPROPRIATION GENERAL IN TERMS IS AVAILABLE TO DO THE THINGS ESSENTIAL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE WORK AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION TO BE DONE. AS TO WHETHER SUCH AN APPROPRIATION MAY PROPERLY BE HELD AVAILABLE TO PAY A REWARD FOR THE FURNISHING OF INFORMATION, NOT ESSENTIAL BUT PROBABLY HELPFUL TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE AUTHORIZED WORK, THE DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS HAVE NOT BEEN UNIFORM. THE DOUBT ARISES GENERALLY BECAUSE SUCH REWARDS ARE NOT NECESSARILY IN KEEPING WITH THE VALUE OF THE INFORMATION FURNISHED AND POSSESS ELEMENTS OF A GRATUITY OR GIFT MADE IN APPRECIATION OF HELPFUL ASSISTANCE RENDERED.

THE CONGRESS HAS FREQUENTLY CONSIDERED THE WISDOM AND PROPRIETY OF PERMITTING PUBLIC MONEYS TO BE USED IN PAYING REWARDS FOR THE FURNISHING OF HELPFUL INFORMATION OR THE RENDERING OF OTHER ASSISTANCE TO OFFICIALS OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND IN CERTAIN INSTANCES HAS GRANTED SPECIFIC AUTHORITY THEREFOR.

THERE BEING GRAVE DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REGARDING AN APPROPRIATION GENERAL IN TERMS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH REWARDS, AND THE CONGRESS HAVING ON MANY OCCASIONS ACCEPTED THE MATTER AS ONE FOR ITS CONSIDERATION AND EXPRESSION, IT APPEARS THE DUTY OF THIS OFFICE TO REQUIRE THOSE IN ADMINISTRATIVE PLACES WHO DESIRE TO OFFER REWARDS FOR INFORMATION OR OTHER ASSISTANCE TO AID IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF AUTHORIZED WORK, TO SUBMIT THEIR REQUIREMENTS TO THE CONGRESS FOR SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY WITH RESPECT TO ALL APPROPRIATIONS HEREAFTER TO BE MADE.

AS TO APPROPRIATIONS HERETOFORE MADE, IN VIEW OF THE LACK OF UNIFORMITY IN THE DECISIONS EACH CASE WILL BE FOR DISPOSITION ON THE FACTS, CONSIDERED IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT HAVE HERETOFORE BEEN THE HOLDINGS.

THE APPROPRIATION HERE INVOLVED AND ABOVE QUOTED,"FOR THE PURPOSE OF PRESERVING LIVING AND GROWING TIMBER ON INDIAN RESERVATIONS AND ALLOTMENTS * * *," PROVIDES THAT NOT TO EXCEED $100,000 OF THE AMOUNT APPROPRIATED MAY BE USED FOR THE PREVENTION OF FOREST FIRES ON INDIAN RESERVATIONS, BUT DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE THE USE OF ANY PART OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF REWARDS FOR THE FURNISHING OF INFORMATION AS TO LAW VIOLATIONS, OR OTHERWISE.

THE BUILDING OF FIRES NEAR ANY FOREST OR TIMBER OR OTHER INFLAMMABLE MATERIAL UPON THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, WITHOUT TOTALLY EXTINGUISHING THE SAME, IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE PUNISHABLE BY FINE OR IMPRISONMENT OR BOTH, AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT IT IS TO AID IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THIS CRIMINAL LAW THAT YOU PURPOSE TO OFFER REWARDS TO THOSE APPREHENDING OR FURNISHING EVIDENCE LEADING TO THE ARREST AND CONVICTION OF PERSON VIOLATING SUCH LAW. THAT REWARDS ARE REGARDED NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE TO AID IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF A CRIMINAL LAW WOULD SEEM AN ADDITIONAL REASON WHY THE MATTER SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS FOR CONSIDERATION AND EXPRESSION.

HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE PURPOSES INTENDED TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY USE OF THE APPROPRIATION, THE GREAT VALUE OF THE TIMBER, YOUR BELIEF THAT SOME OF THE FIRES MAY BE OF INCENDIARY ORIGIN, AND THE FACT THAT THE SEASON OF GREATEST DANGER WILL ARRIVE BEFORE THE ATTENTION OF THE CONGRESS CAN LIKELY BE SECURED FOR CONSIDERATION OF THE PROBLEM, OF THE USE OF THE APPROPRIATION HEREINBEFORE MENTIONED FOR THE PAYMENT THE APPROPRIATION HEREINBEFORE MENTIONED FOR THE PAYMENT OF REASONABLE REWARDS AS PROPOSED WILL NOT BE OBJECTED TO. IT IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD, HOWEVER, THAT THE REWARDS TO BE PAID WILL BE FIXED AS TO AMOUNT IN ADVANCE BY PROPER ORDER, AND THAT ALL PAYMENTS MADE SHALL BE FULLY AND CLEARLY SUPPORTED BY JUSTIFYING FACTS.

AS TO APPROPRIATIONS HEREAFTER MADE THE RULE WILL BE OTHERWISE, AS HEREINBEFORE STATED.