A-27308, MAY 31, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 625

A-27308: May 31, 1929

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" THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST ON FUNDS CARRIED UNDER THE TRUST- FUND ACCOUNT "INDIAN MONEYS. " AS MONEYS UNDER THIS ACCOUNT ARE NOT CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF AN INDIAN TRIBE. IF THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST THEREON IS NOT OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW. CERTAIN QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN CONCERNING THOSE INDIAN MONEYS WHICH ARE CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY UNDER THE TITLE "INDIAN MONEYS. ARE CREDITED FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDIAN TRIBES THE PROCEEDS OF ALL PASTURAGE AND SALES OF TIMBER. THE DEPOSITS AND EXPENDITURES ARE CARRIED BY THE TREASURY IN THE ONE COUNT. TO THIS ACCOUNT ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS REVENUES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE CREDITED UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 17.

A-27308, MAY 31, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 625

INTEREST - INDIAN TRUST FUNDS UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1929, 45 STAT. 1164, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST ON CERTAIN TRUST-FUND ACCOUNTS "CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO THE CREDIT OF AN INDIAN TRIBE," THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST ON FUNDS CARRIED UNDER THE TRUST- FUND ACCOUNT "INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR," AS MONEYS UNDER THIS ACCOUNT ARE NOT CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF AN INDIAN TRIBE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, MAY 31, 1929:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16, 1929, AS FOLLOWS:

PUBLIC ACT NO. 724, 70TH CONGRESS, APPROVED FEBRUARY 12, 1929, (45 STAT. 1164), PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"THAT ALL MONEY IN EXCESS OF $500 HELD BY THE UNITED STATES IN A TRUST FUND ACCOUNT, AND CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO THE CREDIT OF AN INDIAN TRIBE, IF THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST THEREON IS NOT OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW, SHALL BEAR SIMPLE INTEREST AT THE RATE OF 4 PERCENTUM PER ANNUM FROM THE DATE OF THE PASSAGE OF THIS ACT. THE AMOUNT HELD IN ANY SUCH TRUST-FUND ACCOUNT, WHICH IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR MAY NOT BE REQUIRED FOR PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW, SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE SURPLUS FUND OF THE TREASURY; BUT SO MUCH THEREOF AS MAY BE NECESSARY FOR MAKING ANY SUCH PAYMENT MAY, AT ANY TIME THEREAFTER, BE RESTORED TO SUCH ACCOUNT WITHOUT REAPPROPRIATION BY CONGRESS.'

IN ANTICIPATION OF COMPUTING INTEREST ON CERTAIN MONEYS HELD BY THE UNITED STATES IN TRUST-FUND ACCOUNTS AND CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO THE CREDIT OF INDIAN TRIBES, AS AUTHORIZED BY THE ABOVE-CITED ACT, CERTAIN QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN CONCERNING THOSE INDIAN MONEYS WHICH ARE CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY UNDER THE TITLE "INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR, TRUST FUND.'

TO THIS FUND, ESTABLISHED UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1883, 22 STAT. 590, ARE CREDITED FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDIAN TRIBES THE PROCEEDS OF ALL PASTURAGE AND SALES OF TIMBER, COAL, AND OTHER PRODUCTS OF INDIAN RESERVATIONS, EXCEPT THOSE OF THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES. INASMUCH AS THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS MAINTAINS ON ITS RECORDS A SEGREGATION OF THE AMOUNTS PERTAINING TO THE DIFFERENT TRIBES, THE DEPOSITS AND EXPENDITURES ARE CARRIED BY THE TREASURY IN THE ONE COUNT,"INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR, TRUST FUND.' TO THIS ACCOUNT ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS REVENUES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE CREDITED UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 17, 1926. THESE ADDITIONAL REVENUES BEING FROM SOURCES NOT READILY ALLOCABLE TO SPECIFIC INDIAN TRIBES, ALTHOUGH TO BE USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE INDIANS, ARE ACCOUNTED FOR BY THE INDIAN SERVICE IN SUCH ACCOUNTS AS INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR, AGENCY (FOLLOWED BY NAME OF RESERVATION), INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR, SCHOOL (FOLLOWED BY NAME OF RESERVATION), AND INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR, HOSPITAL (FOLLOWED BY NAME OF RESERVATION).

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

1. MAY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1929, SUPRA, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST ON CERTAIN TRUST-FUND ACCOUNTS,"CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO THE CREDIT OF AN INDIAN TRIBE" BE CONSTRUED AS COVERING ALL FUNDS CARRIED IN THE ACCOUNT,"INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR, TRUST FUND," NOTWITHSTANDING NO SPECIFIC REFERENCE IS MADE IN THE ACCOUNTS ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY TO THE INDIAN TRIBES CONCERNED?

2. IS THERE SUFFICIENT DIFFERENCE IN THE REVENUES ACCRUING UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1883, WHICH ARE PRESUMED TO BE ALLOCATED TO TRIBES, AND AVAILABLE FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF SUCH TRIBES, AND THOSE ACCRUING UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 17, 1926, WHICH ARE ALLOCATED TO THE RESERVATIONS RATHER THAN THE TRIBES, AND ALSO AVAILABLE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE INDIAN TRIBES, AGENCIES, SCHOOLS, ETC., ON WHOSE BEHALF THEY ARE COLLECTED, TO CONSIDER THAT ONLY THE FORMER CLASS IS ENTITLED TO INTEREST?

3. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT DOES NOT CARRY UPON ITS BOOKS THE INDIVIDUAL TRIBAL ACCOUNTS COMPREHENDED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNT "INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR," AND MUST, THEREFORE, RELY ON INFORMATION REGARDING BALANCES IN THE SEVERAL ACCOUNTS ON WHICH INTEREST MAY PROPERLY BE COMPUTED FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 12, 1929, TO JUNE 30, 1929, MAY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, IN LIEU OF ESTABLISHING UPON ITS BOOKS A SEPARATE ACCOUNT FOR EACH TRIBE HAVING AN INTEREST IN THE FUND "INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR," ACCEPT FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR A CERTIFICATE SHOWING THE AMOUNT TO BE CREDITED TO "INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR (TRUST FUND)" AS INTEREST ON THE INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS IN EXCESS OF $500?

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1929, 45 STAT. 1164, PROVIDES THAT ALL MONEY IN EXCESS OF $500 HELD BY THE UNITED STATES, IN A TRUST-FUND ACCOUNT "AND CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO THE CREDIT OF AN INDIAN TRIBE" SHALL BEAR SIMPLE INTEREST AT THE RATE OF 4 PERCENT PER ANNUM. THIS ACT BY ITS SPECIFIC TERMS IS LIMITED IN ITS APPLICATION TO FUNDS CARRIED ON THE BOOKS OF THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF AN INDIAN TRIBE, SUCH FUNDS ARE NOT COVERED BY THE ACT QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER. A REASON FOR THE OMISSION OF THIS TRUST FUND FROM PROVISIONS OF THE ACT MIGHT BE FOUND IN THE FACT THAT THE MONEYS IN SAID FUND ARE MADE AVAILABLE CURRENTLY FOR EXPENDITURE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE TRIBE, AGENCY, OR SCHOOL ON WHOSE BEHALF THEY WERE RECEIVED, HENCE THERE WOULD NOT BE IN SAID FUND SUCH STABLE BALANCES AS ORDINARILY ARE REGARDED AS INTEREST BEARING, BUT BE THAT AS IT MAY, UNDER THE PLAIN TERMS OF THE LAW, THIS FUND DOES NOT COME WITHIN ITS PROVISIONS.

ACCORDINGLY, IN SPECIFIC ANSWER TO YOUR FIRST QUESTION I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1929, SUPRA, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST ON CERTAIN TRUST-FUND ACCOUNTS MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED AS COVERING ANY OF THE FUNDS CARRIED IN THE ACCOUNT "INDIAN MONEYS, PROCEEDS OF LABOR.' YOUR FIRST QUESTION BEING ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, NO ANSWER TO THE OTHER TWO QUESTIONS APPEARS NECESSARY.