A-40081, FEBRUARY 8, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 297

A-40081: Feb 8, 1932

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TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - BROKERAGE FEES WHERE THE SERVICES OF A CUSTOMS BROKER IN PREPARING AND MAKING CUSTOMS ENTRY HAVE BEEN RENDERED AT THE REQUEST OR ON ACCOUNT OF GOVERNMENT OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES. CLAIMS FOR SUCH SERVICES ARE MATTERS ENTIRELY BETWEEN THE CARRIER OR BROKER AND THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ON WHOSE ACCOUNT THE SERVICES WERE RENDERED. WHICH WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE BROKERAGE FEE IS NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES NOR AUTHORIZED ON GOVERNMENT SHIPMENTS. WERE NOT GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. WHILE THERE WAS A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING ISSUED TO COVER TRANSPORTATION CHARGES. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE REGULATIONS THAT SAYS THAT THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE IS EXEMPT FROM CUSTOMS REGULATIONS.

A-40081, FEBRUARY 8, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 297

TRANSPORTATION - HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - BROKERAGE FEES WHERE THE SERVICES OF A CUSTOMS BROKER IN PREPARING AND MAKING CUSTOMS ENTRY HAVE BEEN RENDERED AT THE REQUEST OR ON ACCOUNT OF GOVERNMENT OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES, IN CONNECTION WITH SHIPMENTS OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ON CHANGE OF STATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ON GOVERNMENT B/L, THE FEES FOR SUCH BROKERAGE SERVICE, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR, MAY NOT BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS. CLAIMS FOR SUCH SERVICES ARE MATTERS ENTIRELY BETWEEN THE CARRIER OR BROKER AND THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ON WHOSE ACCOUNT THE SERVICES WERE RENDERED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 8, 1932:

THE CHICAGO, BURLINGTON AND QUINCY RAILROAD CO., BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 5, 1931, HAS REQUESTED REVIEW OF DISALLOWANCE CERTIFICATE NO. 53871 1/2, DATED AUGUST 28, 1931, SUPPLEMENTAL BILL NO. 46621, COVERING UNITED STATES CUSTOMS CHARGE AT BLAINE, WASH., IN THE AMOUNT OF $3.50. THIS CHARGE REPRESENTS A BROKERAGE FEE IN CONNECTION WITH SHIPMENT PER BILL OF LADING NO. 74227, APRIL 7, 1931, OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, TO CHICAGO, ILL., BY DR. LYNNE A. FULLERTON, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, ON CHANGE OF STATION, WHICH WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE BROKERAGE FEE IS NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES NOR AUTHORIZED ON GOVERNMENT SHIPMENTS.

IN REQUESTING REVIEW THE CLAIMANT STATES:

THE SHIPMENT IN QUESTION CONSISTED OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF DR. L. A. FULLERTON, AND WERE NOT GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, AND WHILE THERE WAS A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING ISSUED TO COVER TRANSPORTATION CHARGES, THE SHIPMENT STILL HAD TO BE ENTERED WITH THE U.S. CUSTOMS, AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THE REGULATIONS THAT SAYS THAT THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE IS EXEMPT FROM CUSTOMS REGULATIONS. IF THIS SHIPMENT HAD CONSISTED OF PROPERTY OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT THE RULE QUOTED WOULD HAVE GOVERNED.

THE QUESTION HERE INVOLVED IS NOT SO MUCH WHETHER A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF A GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ON CHANGE OF STATION, WHICH HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, IS TO BE REGARDED AS GOVERNMENT PROPERTY AND AS SUCH NOT SUBJECT TO A CHARGE FOR BROKERAGE FEES, BUT RATHER, EVEN IF IT WERE NOT TO BE REGARDED AS GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, WHETHER PAYMENT FOR BROKERAGE SERVICES IN PREPARING AND MAKING CUSTOMS ENTRY IN SUCH CASES IS AUTHORIZED UNDER AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS.

THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1931 FOR THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AS MADE BY THE ACT OF MAY 15, 1930, 46 STAT. 346, PROVIDES:

FOR FREIGHT, TRANSPORTATION, AND TRAVELING EXPENSES, INCLUDING THE EXPENSES, EXCEPT MEMBERSHIP FEES, OF OFFICERS WHEN OFFICIALLY DETAILED TO ATTEND MEETINGS OF ASSOCIATIONS FOR THE PROMOTION OF PUBLIC HEALTH, AND THE PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION OF THE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF COMMISSION, OFFICERS, SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL, PHARMACISTS, AND NURSES OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, $29,000 * * *

IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY AND CONSISTENTLY HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE TRANSFER OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS ON CHANGE OF STATION, AND WHERE SUCH ALLOWANCES ARE AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE REIMBURSEMENT IS LIMITED TO THE CHARACTER OF EXPENSES FOR WHICH SPECIFIC PROVISION IS MADE. SEE 15 COMP. DEC. 731; 4 COMP. GEN. 607; ID. 818; 9 ID. 434; A- 37761, DATED AUGUST 15, 1931.

THE FOREGOING APPROPRIATION SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES ONLY FOR THE EXPENSES OF PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION INCURRED BY PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN THE TRANSFER OF THEIR PERSONAL EFFECTS. IN 9 COMP. GEN. 434, IT WAS HELD THAT A SIMILAR APPROPRIATION (ACT OF MARCH 23, 1928, 45 STAT. 333), PROVIDING "FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE ARMY AND ITS SUPPLIES, * * * OF AUTHORIZED BAGGAGE, * * * AND INCLUDING PACKING AND CRATING" WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF UNPACKING OR UNCRATING THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF AN ARMY OFFICER AT THE NEW STATION, AND IN DECISION OF AUGUST 15, 1931, A 37761, IT WAS HELD THAT THE COST OF TRANSIT INSURANCE ON HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER A STATUTE PROVIDING FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED FOR PACKING, CRATING, FREIGHT, AND DRAYAGE BY CUSTOMS OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN THE TRANSFER OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND OTHER PERSONAL PROPERTY.

THE ACT OF MAY 15, 1930, SUPRA, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF ANY EXPENSES INCURRED BY PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER OF THEIR PERSONAL EFFECTS EXCEPT FOR PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION. ACCORDINGLY, IT MUST BE HELD THAT SAID APPROPRIATION IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF FEES FOR THE SERVICES OF CUSTOMS BROKERS IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH SHIPMENTS RENDERED AT THE REQUEST OR ON ACCOUNT OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. CLAIMS FOR SUCH SERVICES ARE MATTERS ENTIRELY BETWEEN THE CARRIER OR BROKER AND THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ON WHOSE ACCOUNT THE SERVICES HAVE BEEN RENDERED.