A-40329, JANUARY 26, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 286

A-40329: Jan 26, 1932

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ARE. IS UNAUTHORIZED. 1932: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11. THERE ARE ENCLOSED COPIES OF THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER TO HIM DATED DECEMBER 11. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THERE IS ANY OBJECTION TO THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF OPERATION AND UPKEEP FROM THE APPROPRIATION "SALARIES. UPON APPLICATION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT BY WHICH THE SEIZURE IS MADE. IN THIS CONNECTION ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 3617 AND 3618. IT MAY BE STATED THAT IF IT IS DEEMED BY YOU TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES THAT VESSELS AND VEHICLES SEIZED AND FORFEITED UNDER THE ACTS CITED AND ORDERED BY ANY COURT TO BE DELIVERED FOR USE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT.

A-40329, JANUARY 26, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 286

VEHICLES - SEIZED AUTOMOBILES - USE OF BY FEDERAL AGENTS MOTOR VEHICLES FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR VIOLATION OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT AND TURNED OVER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR USE IN ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, OR TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR USE IN ENFORCEMENT OF SUCH ACT OR THE CUSTOMS LAWS, OR FOR USE BY NARCOTIC AGENTS, ARE, WHEN NO LONGER NEEDED FOR OFFICIAL USE, REQUIRED BY LAW TO BE DISPOSED OF IN THE SAME MANNER AS OTHER SURPLUS GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. THE DECLARING OF A VEHICLE ACQUIRED UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AS SURPLUS TO THE NEEDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE SUBSEQUENT ASSIGNMENT OR LOAN OF THE VEHICLE TO A UNITED STATES MARSHAL FOR USE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES WOULD CONSTITUTE A CIRCUMVENTION OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, AND IS UNAUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JANUARY 26, 1932:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

THE UNITED STATES MARSHAL FOR THE FIRST DIVISION OF THE DISTRICT OF ALASKA DESIRES TO USE A STUDEBAKER SEDAN, SEIZED AND FORFEITED UNDER THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE PROHIBITION LAW AS WELL AS OTHER CRIMINAL LAWS AND FOR THE FURTHERANCE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS. THERE ARE ENCLOSED COPIES OF THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER TO HIM DATED DECEMBER 11, 1931, HIS REPLY OF DECEMBER 24, 1931, WITH ENCLOSURES DATED NOVEMBER 16, 1931, NOVEMBER 27, 1931, AND DECEMBER 14, 1931.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE AUTOMOBILE HAS BEEN DECLARED SURPLUS BY THE PROHIBITION AUTHORITIES AND THAT UNDER COURT ORDER IT HAS BEEN TURNED OVER TO THE MARSHAL, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THERE IS ANY OBJECTION TO THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF OPERATION AND UPKEEP FROM THE APPROPRIATION "SALARIES, FEES, AND EXPENSES OF MARSHALS, U.S. COURTS.'

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF MAY 27, 1930, 46 STAT. 430, PROVIDES:

SEC. 2. ANY VESSEL OR VEHICLE FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES BY A DECREE OF ANY COURT FOR VIOLATION OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT MAY, IN LIEU OF THE SALE THEREOF UNDER EXISTING LAW, BE ORDERED BY THE COURT, UPON APPLICATION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT BY WHICH THE SEIZURE IS MADE, TO BE DELIVERED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR USE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, OR TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR USE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF SUCH ACT OR THE CUSTOMS LAWS.

SEC. 3. THAT ANY VESSEL OR VEHICLE ACQUIRED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1 OR 2 OF THIS ACT SHALL BE UTILIZED ONLY FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT. THE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR DEFRAYING THE EXPENSES OF COLLECTING THE REVENUE FROM CUSTOMS OR FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT SHALL HEREAFTER BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF SAID VESSELS AND VEHICLES, INCLUDING MOTOR- PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES. * * * PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT ANY VESSEL OR VEHICLE SO ACQUIRED WHEN NO LONGER NEEDED FOR OFFICIAL USE SHALL BE DISPOSED OF IN THE SAME MANNER AS OTHER SURPLUS PROPERTY.

THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1926, 44 STAT. 143, PROVIDES:

* * * THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY MAY AUTHORIZE THE USE, BY NARCOTIC AGENTS, OF MOTOR VEHICLES CONFISCATED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, AND PAY THE MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION THEREOF FROM THIS ALLOTMENT:

THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES, FEES, AND EXPENSES OF UNITED STATES MARSHALS, CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, 46 STAT. 1325, PROVIDES:

FOR SALARIES, FEES, AND EXPENSES OF UNITED STATES MARSHALS AND THEIR DEPUTIES, INCLUDING SERVICES RENDERED IN BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES OR OTHERWISE, SERVICES IN ALASKA IN COLLECTING EVIDENCE FOR THE UNITED STATES WHEN SO SPECIALLY DIRECTED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, TRAVELING EXPENSES, PURCHASE, WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, OF FOUR MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VANS AT NOT TO EXCEED $2,500 EACH, AND MAINTENANCE, ALTERATION, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES USED IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSACTION OF THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE UNITED STATES MARSHALS, $4,350,460.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, AS AMENDED, SUPRA, SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES THE USE OF FORFEITED OR CONFISCATED VEHICLES FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS, THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, AND THE NARCOTIC ACT, AND SPECIFIES THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH THEIR MAINTENANCE WHEN SO USED. NEITHER THE APPROPRIATION FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, NOR THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES, FEES, AND EXPENSES OF UNITED STATES MARSHALS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1932 PROVIDES FOR THE PURCHASE OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, EXCEPT VANS, ALTHOUGH BOTH OF SUCH APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDE FOR THE REPAIR, MAINTENANCE, ETC., OF SUCH VEHICLES FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES, AND, ACCORDINGLY, IN VIEW OF THE INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS AS EXPRESSED IN THE LANGUAGE EMPLOYED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, AS AMENDED, DIRECTING THAT VEHICLES ACQUIRED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SAID ACT SHALL BE UTILIZED ONLY BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT OR BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THAT ACT OR THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR BY NARCOTIC AGENTS, AND DIRECTING THAT SUCH VEHICLES WHEN NO LONGER REQUIRED FOR OFFICIAL USE SHALL BE DISPOSED OF IN THE SAME MANNER AS OTHER SURPLUS PROPERTY, AND, ALSO, THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, EVIDENCING THE INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS TO RESTRICT THE ACQUISITION AND USE OF MOTOR-PROPELLED, PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE DECLARING OF A VEHICLE, SEIZED AND FORFEITED FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, AS SURPLUS TO THE NEEDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE SUBSEQUENT ASSIGNMENT OR LOAN OF THE VEHICLE TO A UNITED STATES MARSHAL FOR USE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES OTHER THAN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, WOULD CONSTITUTE A CIRCUMVENTION OF THE ACT OF 1914, AND THE APPROPRIATION ,SALARIES, FEES, AND EXPENSES OF MARSHALS, UNITED STATES COURTS" LAWFULLY COULD NOT BE CHARGED WITH THE EXPENSES OF OPERATION AND UPKEEP THEREOF.

IN THIS CONNECTION ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 3617 AND 3618, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 8, 1896, 29 STAT. 268, GOVERNING THE DISPOSITION OF SURPLUS PROPERTY AND THE PROCEEDS OF SALE THEREOF. IT MAY BE STATED THAT IF IT IS DEEMED BY YOU TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES THAT VESSELS AND VEHICLES SEIZED AND FORFEITED UNDER THE ACTS CITED AND ORDERED BY ANY COURT TO BE DELIVERED FOR USE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, WHICH VESSELS OR VEHICLES ARE SUBSEQUENTLY DECLARED TO BE SURPLUS TO THE NEEDS OF THE RESPECTIVE SERVICE TO WHICH DELIVERED, BE ASSIGNED TO UNITED STATES MARSHALS FOR USE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF GENERAL OFFICIAL DUTIES DEVOLVING UPON THEIR OFFICES, THAT MATTER SHOULD BE PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS FOR ITS CONSIDERATION WHETHER LEGISLATION TO THAT EFFECT SHOULD BE ENACTED.