A-4429, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 255

A-4429: Sep 3, 1924

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IS AUTHORIZED WHERE THE INFORMATION IS FURNISHED UNDER AN IMPLIED AGREEMENT OR UNDERSTANDING THAT SUCH REWARD WOULD BE PAID. THE BASIS FOR DISALLOWING THE CLAIM WAS THAT NO SPECIFIC AGREEMENT HAD BEEN ENTERED INTO WITH THE CLAIMANT FOR FURNISHING THE INFORMATION. IN HIS REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE SECRETARY STATES: * * * IT APPEARS THE CLAIMANT WAS A MEMBER OF A GANG OF WHISKEY THIEVES AND WAS IN A POSITION TO LOCATE LIQUOR CACHES FOR FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS. HIS ASSISTANCE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FORTHCOMING UNLESS HE WAS PAID FOR HIS SERVICES. IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT THE MOST VALUABLE INFORMATION REGARDING PROHIBITION VIOLATIONS EMANATE FROM PERSONS WHO ARE OR WERE VIOLATORS OF THE PROHIBITION LAW THEMSELVES OR THOSE WHO ARE OR WERE THE ASSOCIATES AND CONFIDANTS OF VIOLATORS OF THE LAW.

A-4429, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 255

PROHIBITION ENFORCEMENT - INFORMERS' REWARDS PAYMENT OF A REWARD UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "ENFORCEMENT OF THE NARCOTIC AND NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACTS, INTERNAL REVENUE, 1924," 42 STAT. 1097, IS AUTHORIZED WHERE THE INFORMATION IS FURNISHED UNDER AN IMPLIED AGREEMENT OR UNDERSTANDING THAT SUCH REWARD WOULD BE PAID, SUCH AS WHERE THE INFORMER ASSOCIATES WITH THE CRIMINALS FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING INFORMATION REGARDING VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 3, 1924:

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY REQUESTED, JULY 23, 1924, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 035061, DATED JUNE 19, 1924, DISALLOWING THE CLAIM OF CARL RICHTER, IN THE AMOUNT OF $100, FOR SERVICE AS AN INFORMER IN CONNECTION WITH ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION LAW.

THE BASIS FOR DISALLOWING THE CLAIM WAS THAT NO SPECIFIC AGREEMENT HAD BEEN ENTERED INTO WITH THE CLAIMANT FOR FURNISHING THE INFORMATION, THE SERVICE BEING VOLUNTARY, FOR WHICH NO PAYMENT COULD BE MADE.

IN HIS REQUEST FOR REVIEW THE SECRETARY STATES:

* * * IT APPEARS THE CLAIMANT WAS A MEMBER OF A GANG OF WHISKEY THIEVES AND WAS IN A POSITION TO LOCATE LIQUOR CACHES FOR FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, BUT HIS ASSISTANCE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FORTHCOMING UNLESS HE WAS PAID FOR HIS SERVICES. IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT THE MOST VALUABLE INFORMATION REGARDING PROHIBITION VIOLATIONS EMANATE FROM PERSONS WHO ARE OR WERE VIOLATORS OF THE PROHIBITION LAW THEMSELVES OR THOSE WHO ARE OR WERE THE ASSOCIATES AND CONFIDANTS OF VIOLATORS OF THE LAW. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THESE PERSONS TURN INFORMERS WITH THE HOPE OF REWARD AND SOMETIMES OUT OF THE SPIRIT OF REVENGE. IT WOULD SEEM OBVIOUS THAT IN DEALING WITH SUCH PERSONS IT WOULD BE IMPRACTICABLE TO ENTER INTO ANY SPECIFIC AGREEMENTS EMBODYING CONDITIONS AND COMPENSATION FOR THE SERVICE TO BE RENDERED. THE OFFICERS SEEKING THE INFORMATION MUST MAKE THE BEST OF THE SITUATION AS THEY SEE IT AT THE TIME OF CONTACT.

SINCE IT WOULD SEEM THAT PECUNIARY GAIN AND NOT CIVIC DUTY WAS THE CONSIDERATION MOVING THE CLAIMANT TO PERFORM THE SERVICES OF INFORMER AND THAT THE MATTER OF PAYING INFORMERS TO ASSIST ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS IN PROCURING EVIDENCE IS DEEMED NECESSARY TO EFFICIENT ENFORCEMENT OF THE PROHIBITION LAW, THE DEPARTMENT RESPECTFULLY REQUESTS THAT THE ACTION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN DISALLOWING THE CLAIM BE REVIEWED.

THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, 41 STAT. 305, PROVIDES THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, HIS ASSISTANTS, AGENTS, AND INSPECTORS, SHALL INVESTIGATE AND REPORT VIOLATIONS OF THE PROHIBITION LAWS.

THE APPROPRIATION ACT OF JANUARY 3, 1923, 42 STAT. 1097, PROVIDES:

FOR EXPENSES TO ENFORCE THE PROVISIONS OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT * * * INCLUDING * * * THE SECURING OF EVIDENCE OF VIOLATIONS OF THE ACTS * * * AND SUCH OTHER EXPENDITURES AS MAY BE NECESSARY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND SEVERAL FIELD OFFICES * * * $9,000,000 * * *.

THE INFORMATION FURNISHED BY THE CLAIMANT CONCERNED A VIOLATION OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION CT; IT ALSO CONCERNED A ROBBERY WHICH WAS ABOUT TO BE COMMITTED.

THE FACTS STATED IN THE SUBMISSION ARE TO THE EFFECT THAT THE MAN RICHTER IS IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE VIOLATORS OF THE LAW AND THAT THE INFORMATION HE GIVES THE PROHIBITION OFFICERS IS THUS OBTAINED. UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS NO SPECIFIC AGREEMENT FOR COMPENSATION IS GENERALLY MADE, BUT WITH A MAN OF SUCH CHARACTER THERE IS, AND PRACTICALLY MUST BE, TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION, AN UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE WILL BE COMPENSATION. THE SERVICES IN THIS RESPECT FURNISH VALUABLE INFORMATION, APPARENTLY DID SO IN THE PRESENT CASE, AND THE CLAIM HERETOFORE DISALLOWED WILL NOW BE ALLOWED.