A-60407, MARCH 9, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 686

A-60407: Mar 9, 1935

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IS AGAINST PUBLIC POLICY. REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL PERFORMED IN SUCH A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS UNAUTHORIZED. WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED OF AN ITEM OF $9.70 PAID TO CARVEL C. THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT WAS MADE WHEN IT WAS DEVELOPED THAT THE AUTOMOBILE WAS NOT OWNED BY THE TRAVELER BUT WAS THE PROPERTY OF ASSISTANT EXAMINER E. PURPORTING TO ESTABLISH THAT THE AUTOMOBILE WAS HIRED FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TRAVEL. PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES: CHARGES FOR THE HIRE OF A CONVEYANCE OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE * * * WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY SHOWING THAT THE CONVEYANCE WAS NOT SO PROCURED BECAUSE OF SUCH PERSONAL OR OFFICIAL RELATIONSHIP.

A-60407, MARCH 9, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 686

TRAVELING EXPENSES - AUTOMOBILE HIRE THE HIRING BY AN OFFICIAL OF THE GOVERNMENT OF HIS SUBORDINATE'S PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, OR THE HIRING BY THE SUBORDINATE OF HIS SUPERIOR'S AUTOMOBILE, FOR PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL, IS AGAINST PUBLIC POLICY, AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL PERFORMED IN SUCH A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS UNAUTHORIZED.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT, MARCH 9, 1935:

J. L. SUMMERS, FORMER DISBURSING CLERK, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, REQUESTED DECEMBER 19, 1934, AND JANUARY 26, 1935, REVIEW OF THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE UPON VOUCHER 7415 OF HIS ACCOUNT FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 1 TO 15, 1933, WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED OF AN ITEM OF $9.70 PAID TO CARVEL C. LINDEN, NATIONAL BANK EXAMINER, AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL IN PRIVATE CONVEYANCE ON FEBRUARY 23, 1933, FROM SPOKANE, WASH., TO WALLA WALLA, WASH., REPRESENTING MILEAGE NOT IN EXCESS OF THE COST OF RAILROAD AND PULLMAN FARES BETWEEN THOSE POINTS, REDUCED BY THE EXCESS PER DIEM. THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT WAS MADE WHEN IT WAS DEVELOPED THAT THE AUTOMOBILE WAS NOT OWNED BY THE TRAVELER BUT WAS THE PROPERTY OF ASSISTANT EXAMINER E. S. WILLIAMS OF THE SAME DEPARTMENT.

IN HIS LETTER OF DECEMBER 19, 1934, THE FORMER DISBURSING CLERK SUBMITTED A RECEIPT OF ASSISTANT EXAMINER WILLIAMS FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED, PURPORTING TO ESTABLISH THAT THE AUTOMOBILE WAS HIRED FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TRAVEL. IN RESPONSE TO ADVICE BY NOTICE OF EXCEPTION DATED JANUARY 14, 1935, THAT THE FURNISHING OF THE RECEIPT DID NOT JUSTIFY THE ALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR THE ITEM, HE FORWARDED WITH HIS REQUEST OF JANUARY 26, 1935, FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE ITEM, COPY OF A LETTER FROM THE DEPUTY COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY APPROVING THE TRANSACTION.

PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

CHARGES FOR THE HIRE OF A CONVEYANCE OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE * * * WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY SHOWING THAT THE CONVEYANCE WAS NOT SO PROCURED BECAUSE OF SUCH PERSONAL OR OFFICIAL RELATIONSHIP; THAT IT WAS IMPRACTICABLE TO OTHERWISE PROCURE, * * *.

IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD THAT THE CONTRACTING WITH EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT, THOUGH NOT EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED BY STATUTE, IS AUTHORIZED ONLY IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES, SUCH PRACTICE BEING CONTRARY TO PUBLIC POLICY, AND THE PRACTICE IS ESPECIALLY OBJECTIONABLE WHEN THE CONTRACTING IS BETWEEN THE EMPLOYEE AND THE PARTICULAR SERVICE IN WHICH HE IS EMPLOYED. 4 COMP. GEN. 116; ID. 271; 11 ID. 118.

THE RULE ANNOUNCED IN DECISION OF JANUARY 11, 1935, A-59479, THAT THE HIRING BY AN OFFICIAL OF THE GOVERNMENT OF HIS AUTOMOBILE TO HIS SUBORDINATE IS ESPECIALLY OBJECTIONABLE IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE WHEN THE HIRING IS BY A SUBORDINATE EMPLOYEE OF HIS SUPERIOR, AS IN THIS CASE.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON REVIEW, THE DISALLOWANCE MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED. THE SUM OF $9.70 SHOULD BE DEPOSITED WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY.