A-61634, DECEMBER 3, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 463

A-61634: Dec 3, 1935

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" THAT IS. AS FOLLOWS: RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 16. YOU ADVISE THAT: "FROM THE FACTS AS GIVEN IN YOUR LETTER IT WOULD APPEAR THAT WHAT IS INVOLVED IS TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES * * * RATHER THAN TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS UNDER CUSTODY. THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH MEMORANDUM FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION OF THIS DEPARTMENT. YOU ARE REQUESTED TO RECONSIDER YOUR ACTION IN THE MATTER TO THE END THAT THE COST OF COMPARTMENTS AND DRAWING ROOMS ON PULLMAN CARS WHEN TRANSPORTING FIREARMS OTHER THAN REVOLVERS MAY BE ALLOWED. IS AS FOLLOWS: THE RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR MEMORANDUM OF JULY 25. IT APPEARS THAT THERE IS SOME MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE PURPOSE OF THIS BUREAU IN USING SUCH PULLMAN COMPARTMENTS.

A-61634, DECEMBER 3, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 463

TRANSPORTATION - PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS - EMPLOYEES TRANSPORTING FIREARMS THE EXCESS COSTS OF PULLMAN COMPARTMENTS OVER THE "LOWEST FIRST CLASS RATE," THAT IS, LOWER BERTHS, INCURRED BY EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, WHEN NECESSARY FOR THE PROMPT AND SAFE TRANSPORTATION BY THEM, AND FOR THEIR USE, OF FIREARMS OF SUCH UNUSUAL SIZE OR WEIGHT THAT THEY CANNOT BE TRANSPORTED IN LOWER BERTHS, MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AN ITEM OF TRAVELING EXPENSE, BUT AS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE FIREARMS AND PAYABLE UNDER THE APPROPRIATION FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, DECEMBER 3, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 15, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 16, 1935, IN REPLY TO LETTER FROM THIS DEPARTMENT OF APRIL 24, 1935, RELATIVE TO THE USE BY AGENTS OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION OF THIS DEPARTMENT OF COMPARTMENTS AND DRAWING ROOMS ON PULLMAN CARS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORTING FIREARMS.

IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 16, 1935, YOU ADVISE THAT: "FROM THE FACTS AS GIVEN IN YOUR LETTER IT WOULD APPEAR THAT WHAT IS INVOLVED IS TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES * * * RATHER THAN TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS UNDER CUSTODY, AND IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE LAW, SUPRA, WOULD SEEM TO PRECLUDE ALLOWANCE IN EXCESS OF THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE," .'

THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH MEMORANDUM FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION OF THIS DEPARTMENT, DATED AUGUST 14, 1935, RELATIVE TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS IN COMPARTMENTS AND DRAWING ROOMS ON PULLMAN CARS. IN VIEW OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE DIRECTOR'S MEMORANDUM, YOU ARE REQUESTED TO RECONSIDER YOUR ACTION IN THE MATTER TO THE END THAT THE COST OF COMPARTMENTS AND DRAWING ROOMS ON PULLMAN CARS WHEN TRANSPORTING FIREARMS OTHER THAN REVOLVERS MAY BE ALLOWED.

THE MEMORANDUM OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, DATED AUGUST 14, 1935, IS AS FOLLOWS:

THE RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR MEMORANDUM OF JULY 25, 1935, TRANSMITTING A COPY OF A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DATED JULY 16, 1935, A-61634, RELATIVE TO THE USE OF PULLMAN COMPARTMENTS AND DRAWING ROOMS BY SPECIAL AGENTS OF THIS BUREAU WHEN TRANSPORTING FIREARMS AND SIMILAR EQUIPMENT ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

FROM THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE ABOVE-CITED DECISION, IT APPEARS THAT THERE IS SOME MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE PURPOSE OF THIS BUREAU IN USING SUCH PULLMAN COMPARTMENTS, IT BEING STATED THAT "IT WOULD APPEAR THAT WHAT IS INVOLVED IS TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION OF YOUR DEPARTMENT RATHER THAN TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS UNDER CUSTODY.' IT IS NOT THE PURPOSE OF THIS BUREAU TO OBTAIN AUTHORITY FOR THE USE OF SUCH PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ITS SPECIAL AGENTS IN THEIR OFFICIAL TRAVEL EXCEPT WHERE IT IS NECESSARY TO TRANSPORT SUCH FIREARMS AS CANNOT BE PLACED WITH BAGGAGE IN OPEN PULLMAN SECTIONS. THE QUESTION ARISES, THEREFORE, SOLELY OUT OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS UNDER CUSTODY. WITH THIS IN VIEW, IT IS DESIRED THAT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE BE REQUESTED TO RECONSIDER THIS MATTER IN THE LIGHT OF THE NEED FOR SUCH FACILITIES FROM AN INVESTIGATIVE STANDPOINT, RATHER THAN FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE TRAVEL OF THE SPECIAL AGENTS INVOLVED.

THE ABOVE-CITED DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL CAUSES THE ECONOMY ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, TO BECOME A DIRECT IMPEDIMENT TO THE ACTIVITIES OF THIS BUREAU IN THE CONDUCT OF INVESTIGATIONS. THE ENACTMENT OF NUMEROUS LAWS SINCE THAT TIME, BY WHICH THE DUTIES AND AUTHORITY OF THIS BUREAU HAVE BEEN CONSIDERABLY EXPANDED, SUCH AS THE STATUTE BY WHICH SPECIAL AGENTS AND OFFICIALS OF THIS BUREAU ARE SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED TO CARRY ALL TYPES OF FIREARMS, PUBLIC, NO. 402, 73D CONGRESS, APPROVED JUNE 18, 1934, SIGNIFIES THAT CONGRESS HAS NO SUCH INTENTION. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THE ENACTMENT OF SUCH LAWS PRESUPPOSES THE USE OF MEANS ESSENTIAL TO THE EXECUTION OF THE DUTIES IMPOSED THEREBY.

IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THE USE OF PULLMAN COMPARTMENTS IS THE ONLY POSSIBLE MEANS OF TRANSPORTING HEAVY FIREARMS IN A MANNER THAT IS COMMENSURATE WITH THE SECRECY AND PRECAUTIONS THAT MUST BE TAKEN IN THE CONDUCT OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS BY THIS BUREAU. WHEN SPECIAL AGENTS OF THIS BUREAU ARE REQUIRED TO UNDERTAKE DANGEROUS INVESTIGATIONS, IT IS FREQUENTLY NECESSARY FOR THEM TO BE SUPPLIED WITH SUCH FIREARMS AS COLT MONITOR RIFLES, PACKED IN CASES MEASURING 44 INCHES IN LENGTH, OR GAS PROJECTILE GUNS, WINCHESTER RIFLES, RIOT GUNS, OR SUBMACHINE GUNS, EACH OF WHICH REQUIRES A LARGE CASE. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR SUCH CASES TO BE PLACED IN A PULLMAN BERTH WHEN IT IS OCCUPIED. IT WOULD BE A FLAGRANT DISREGARD OF DUTY TO LEAVE SUCH FIREARMS ON THE FLOOR WHILE THE TRAVELER SLEPT. FURTHERMORE, SUCH CASES DO NOT RESEMBLE ORDINARY BAGGAGE OF A TRAVELER AND WOULD ATTRACT CONSIDERABLE ATTENTION. THE NATURE OF THEIR CONTENTS WOULD BE QUITE APPARENT TO UNDERWORLD CHARACTERS. FOR THESE REASONS, THE USE OF THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE" BY SPECIAL AGENTS TRAVELING IN CUSTODY OF SUCH FIREARMS WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE, WITHOUT EXPOSING THEM AND THE NATURE OF THEIR LUGGAGE, A CONDITION WHICH IS ENTIRELY INCONSISTENT WITH THE EFFICIENT CONDUCT OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS.

IT IS REITERATED THAT THE BUREAU DOES NOT SEEK APPROVAL OF THE USE OF PULLMAN COMPARTMENTS BY SPECIAL AGENTS WHEN TRAVELING ON ORDINARY ASSIGNMENTS. IT IS ADMITTED THAT THE NEED THEREFOR DOES NOT EXIST WHEN THEY ARE MERELY ARMED WITH REVOLVERS. BUT IT MUST BE CONTENDED THAT THE USE OF PULLMAN COMPARTMENTS IS IMPERATIVE WHEN ASSIGNMENTS REQUIRE THE TRANSPORTATION OF HEAVY FIREARMS SUCH AS THOSE DESCRIBED ABOVE, AND THAT THE FAILURE TO USE SUCH FACILITIES WOULD OPERATE AS A SERIOUS DETERRENT TO THE EFFECTIVE EXECUTION OF THE DUTIES DEVOLVING UPON THIS BUREAU.

INASMUCH AS WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL BY AN INDIVIDUAL, SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933 (47 STAT. 1516), PRECLUDES PAYMENT IN EXCESS OF THE COST OF A LOWER PULLMAN BERTH, THE PROBLEM AS SUBMITTED APPEARS TO INVOLVE WHETHER, WHEN THE NECESSITIES OF AN OCCASION REQUIRE THE PROMPT TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS BY AND FOR USE BY EMPLOYEES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, FIREARMS OF SUCH UNUSUAL SIZE OR WEIGHT THAT THEY CANNOT BE TRANSPORTED IN LOWER BERTHS WITH THE TRAVELERS, AND CANNOT SAFELY BE TRANSPORTED AS BAGGAGE, OR BY FREIGHT OR EXPRESS, OR OTHERWISE, BUT CAN BE SAFELY TRANSPORTED IN CARE OF AN EMPLOYEE OR EMPLOYEES IN A PULLMAN COMPARTMENT, THE COSTS OF A PULLMAN COMPARTMENT OVER THAT OF A LOWER BERTH FOR EACH TRAVELER INVOLVED MAY BE PAID FROM ANY APPROPRIATION UNDER YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT IN ANY SUCH CASE, AND UPON A SHOWING OF THE FACTS OF NECESSITY, THE EXCESS COSTS COULD PROPERLY BE CONSIDERED AS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE FIREARMS AND BE PAYABLE UNDER YOUR APPROPRIATION FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES.