A-55829, JUNE 14, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 443

A-55829: Jun 14, 1934

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OATHS - POSTMASTERS UNLESS HE IS ALSO A NOTARY PUBLIC. A POSTMASTER IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24. INASMUCH AS THE CLAIMED FEES ARE NOT TO BE CLASSED AS "TRAVEL AND OTHER EXPENSES" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SAID 1912 ACT. THERE WAS RETURNED TO THE DIVISION OF ACCOUNTS. SUCH ACCOUNT WAS RETURNED BECAUSE THE COMMISSIONER HAD VERIFIED THE ACCOUNT BEFORE THE POSTMASTER AT ADA. WHO IS NOT GENERALLY AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATHS. REQUEST WAS MADE THAT THE COMMISSIONER'S AFFIDAVIT TO THE ACCOUNT BE SWORN TO BEFORE A PROPER OFFICER. THE GENERAL AGENT AND CHIEF CLERK OF THE DEPARTMENT RETURNED SAID ACCOUNT TO THIS OFFICE FOR FINAL SETTLEMENT AND ADVISED THAT SAID POSTMASTER WAS EMPOWERED TO ADMINISTER THE OATH TO THE COMMISSIONER.

A-55829, JUNE 14, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 443

OATHS - POSTMASTERS UNLESS HE IS ALSO A NOTARY PUBLIC, A POSTMASTER IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 487, TO ADMINISTER THE OATH TO A UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER, VERIFYING THE CORRECTNESS OF HIS ACCOUNT FOR THE STATUTORY FEES EARNED FOR SERVICES IN CRIMINAL CASES BEFORE HIM, INASMUCH AS THE CLAIMED FEES ARE NOT TO BE CLASSED AS "TRAVEL AND OTHER EXPENSES" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SAID 1912 ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JUNE 14, 1934:

ON MAY 9, 1934, THERE WAS RETURNED TO THE DIVISION OF ACCOUNTS, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE ACCOUNT OF W. C. EDWARDS, UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA FOR THE QUARTER ENDED FEBRUARY 28, 1934, WHEREIN HE CLAIMED $154.65 FEES DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES FOR SERVICES IN THE VARIOUS CRIMINAL CASES THEREIN LISTED; SUCH ACCOUNT WAS RETURNED BECAUSE THE COMMISSIONER HAD VERIFIED THE ACCOUNT BEFORE THE POSTMASTER AT ADA, OKLA., WHO IS NOT GENERALLY AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATHS; AND REQUEST WAS MADE THAT THE COMMISSIONER'S AFFIDAVIT TO THE ACCOUNT BE SWORN TO BEFORE A PROPER OFFICER.

ON MAY 11, 1934, THE GENERAL AGENT AND CHIEF CLERK OF THE DEPARTMENT RETURNED SAID ACCOUNT TO THIS OFFICE FOR FINAL SETTLEMENT AND ADVISED THAT SAID POSTMASTER WAS EMPOWERED TO ADMINISTER THE OATH TO THE COMMISSIONER, IN CERTIFICATION OF THE ACCOUNT, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 487, WHICH SAID ACT PROVIDES:

AFTER JUNE THIRTIETH, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE, POSTMASTERS, ASSISTANT POSTMASTERS, * * * 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 SERVICES HEREIN DESCRIBED SHALL BE PAID OR REIMBURSED BY THE UNITED STATES.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTES UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS ARE REQUIRED TO VERIFY BY AN OATH THE CORRECTNESS OF THEIR ACCOUNTS FOR THE STATUTORY FEES EARNED FOR SERVICES IN CRIMINAL CASES BEFORE THEM. SUCH OATH MUST BE ADMINISTERED BY SOME OFFICER HAVING GENERAL AUTHORITY UNDER THE STATUTES TO ADMINISTER AND CERTIFY OATHS, OR BY SOME OFFICER UPON WHOM SPECIAL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN CONFERRED BY STATUTE TO ADMINISTER THE PARTICULAR OATH REQUIRED.

THE PROVISIONS OF SUCH 1912 ACT HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED BY THIS OFFICE IN NUMEROUS DECISIONS. (SEE PARTICULARLY 3 COMP. GEN. 195 AND 10 COMP. GEN. 371.) THE ONLY ACCOUNTS TO WHICH THE OFFICERS MENTIONED IN SAID ACT, INCLUDING POSTMASTER, ARE AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATHS ARE ACCOUNTS FOR TRAVEL OR OTHER EXPENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. THE ACT DOES NOT CONFER UPON THE OFFICERS MENTIONED THEREIN GENERAL AUTHORITY TO ADMINISTER OATHS, BUT LIMITS THE AUTHORITY CONFERRED TO THE ACCOUNTS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES "FOR TRAVEL OR OTHER EXPENSES.' AS THE ACCOUNT OF THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER IS A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR THE FEES PAYABLE TO HIM UNDER THE STATUTES FOR SERVICES PERFORMED IN CERTAIN CRIMINAL CASES, IT WOULD SEEM TO BE CLEAR THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SAID 1912 ACT DO NOT APPLY THERETO, INASMUCH AS THE CLAIMED FEES ARE NOT "TRAVEL OR OTHER EXPENSES" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SAID 1912 ACT, AND MAY NOT BE SO CLASSED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE COMMISSIONER'S ACCOUNT IS RETURNED FOR VERIFICATION AS REQUIRED BY LAW; THAT IS, BY AN OATH ADMINISTERED BY AN OFFICER LEGALLY AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER OATHS GENERALLY.