A-33592, OCTOBER 23, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 180

A-33592: Oct 23, 1930

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THEY ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATHS TO ACCOUNTS FOR TRAVEL OR OTHER EXPENSES PAYABLE BY THE UNITED STATES. 1930: RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30. ARE AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATHS TO TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OF CIVILIAN INSPECTORS AND OTHERS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24. ARE REQUIRED. WHO AT THE TIME ARE ALSO SALARIED OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES. YOU CONTEND THAT THE ACT OF 1912 IS IN THE NATURE OF REMEDIAL LEGISLATION ENTITLED TO A LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION AND THAT. THAT INASMUCH AS SUCH OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN SO REGARDED SINCE THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT THE OATHS ADMINISTERED BY THEM SHOULD BE ACCEPTED AS A COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW.

A-33592, OCTOBER 23, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 180

OATHS - EXPENSE ACCOUNTS CHIEF CLERKS AND INSPECTORS ATTACHED TO THE OFFICES OF INSPECTORS OF NAVAL MATERIAL, AND CHIEF CLERKS AND CLERKS ATTACHED TO FIELD OFFICES AND NAVY YARDS, NOT BEING OFFICERS OF "OTHER GOVERNMENT RESERVATIONS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 487, THEY ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATHS TO ACCOUNTS FOR TRAVEL OR OTHER EXPENSES PAYABLE BY THE UNITED STATES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, OCTOBER 23, 1930:

RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1930, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER CHIEF CLERKS AND INSPECTORS ATTACHED TO THE OFFICES OF INSPECTORS OF NAVAL MATERIAL, AND CHIEF CLERKS AND CLERKS ATTACHED TO FIELD OFFICES AND NAVY YARDS, ARE AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATHS TO TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OF CIVILIAN INSPECTORS AND OTHERS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 487, WHICH PROVIDES:

AFTER JUNE THIRTIETH, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE, POSTMASTERS, ASSISTANT POSTMASTERS, COLLECTORS OF CUSTOMS, COLLECTORS OF INTERNAL REVENUE, CHIEF CLERKS OF THE VARIOUS EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND BUREAUS, OR CLERKS DESIGNATED BY THEM FOR THE PURPOSE, THE SUPERINTENDENT, THE ACTING SUPERINTENDENT, CUSTODIAN, AND PRINCIPAL CLERKS OF THE VARIOUS NATIONAL PARKS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT RESERVATIONS, SUPERINTENDENT, ACTING SUPERINTENDENTS, AND PRINCIPAL CLERKS OF THE DIFFERENT INDIAN SUPERINTENDENCIES OR INDIAN AGENCIES, AND CHIEFS OF FIELD PARTIES, ARE REQUIRED, EMPOWERED, AND AUTHORIZED, WHEN REQUESTED, TO ADMINISTER OATHS, REQUIRED BY LAW OR OTHERWISE, TO ACCOUNTS FOR TRAVEL OR OTHER EXPENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, WITH LIKE FORCE AND EFFECT AS OFFICERS HAVING A SEAL; FOR SUCH SERVICES WHEN SO RENDERED, OR WHEN RENDERED ON DEMAND AFTER SAID DATE BY NOTARIES PUBLIC, WHO AT THE TIME ARE ALSO SALARIED OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, NO CHARGE SHALL BE MADE; AND ON AND AFTER JULY FIRST, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE, NO FEE OR MONEY PAID FOR THE SERVICES HEREIN DESCRIBED SHALL BE PAID OR REIMBURSED BY THE UNITED STATES.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE ACT OF 1912 IS IN THE NATURE OF REMEDIAL LEGISLATION ENTITLED TO A LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION AND THAT, THEREFORE, THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES NAMED PROPERLY MIGHT BE COMPREHENDED BY THE TERM "PRINCIPAL CLERKS OF * * * OTHER GOVERNMENT RESERVATIONS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT, AND THAT INASMUCH AS SUCH OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN SO REGARDED SINCE THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT THE OATHS ADMINISTERED BY THEM SHOULD BE ACCEPTED AS A COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW.

THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT QUOTED, SUPRA, HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED BY THIS OFFICE ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS AND IN THE DECISION REPORTED IN 3 COMP. GEN. 195, THE REASONS WERE STATED WHY THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT DEMAND THAT THE STATUTE SHOULD BE APPLIED LITERALLY RATHER THAN ENLARGED BY CONSTRUCTION. AS FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED TO RESTRICT THE AUTHORITY TO ADMINISTER OATHS TO THOSE OFFICERS SPECIFICALLY NAMED AND UNDER THE CONDITIONS PRESCRIBED IN THE ACT OF 1912, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FACT THAT IN SEVERAL INSTANCES THE CONGRESS HAS EXTENDED AUTHORITY TO ADMINISTER OATHS UNDER DIFFERENT CONDITIONS TO OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES NOT SPECIFICALLY NAMED IN THE ACT OF 1912. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION SECTION 7, ACT OF MARCH 3, 1915, 38 STAT. 928, EXTENDING AND ENLARGING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, TO THE LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE; ACT OF MARCH 4, 1917, 39 STAT. 1171, AUTHORIZING CERTAIN NAVAL OFFICERS TO ADMINISTER OATHS FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF NAVAL JUSTICE AND ADMINISTRATION, AND THE ACT OF APRIL 2, 1928, 45 STAT. 401, RELATING TO THE ADMINISTERING OF OATHS GENERALLY BY EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES CUSTOMS SERVICE.

WHILE THERE MIGHT BE FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION WHETHER THE AUTHORITY TO ADMINISTER OATHS TO EXPENSE ACCOUNTS SHOULD NOT BE GRANTED TO THE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES NAMED BY YOU, IN VIEW OF WHAT HAS BEEN SAID, AND NOTWITHSTANDING THE LONG CONTINUED PRACTICE IN THIS CONNECTION, I DO NOT FEEL WARRANTED IN HOLDING THAT CHIEF CLERKS AND INSPECTORS ATTACHED TO THE OFFICES OF INSPECTORS OF NAVAL MATERIAL, AND CHIEF CLERKS AND CLERKS ATTACHED TO FIELD OFFICES AND NAVY YARDS ARE OFFICERS OF "OTHER GOVERNMENT RESERVATIONS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF 1912, SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE ADMINISTERING BY THEM OF OATHS TO TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS.