Use of Appropriated Funds for the Cost of Completing an Abstract to Show the Transfer of Title from the Donor to the Government or the Cost of Procuring an Abstract Where None is Presented By the Donor

A-47693: Mar 31, 1933

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The last clause in Section 5 of the Act of March 3, 1925 (43 Stat. 1132) authorizes the acceptance of donations of land for any National Forest purpose. In connection with offered lands the donor is sometimes unwilling to pay the expense of procuring an abstract or of having an existing abstract completed to show the transfer to the United States. The above mentioned Act makes no specific provision for the payment of any expenses incidental to acceptance of donations. The decision of the Comptroller General is, therefore, desired as to whether there may be paid from the appropriation Salaries and Expenses, Forest Service (a) the cost of completing an abstract to show the transfer of title from the donor to the Government or (b) the cost of procuring an abstract where none is presented by the donor.

Accordingly, where there is a specific appropriation available for the purpose of land for the purposes for which the particular tract of land is donated, that appropriation would be exclusively available for the cost of any abstracts of title that may be necessary. However, where land is donated for a forest purpose for which no appropriation has been made for the purchase of the land, there being no appropriation exclusively available, the cost of any abstracts of title may be charged to the appropriation for Sales and Expenses, Forest service.