A-6217, DECEMBER 2, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 509

A-6217: Dec 2, 1924

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ADVANCE PAYMENTS - SCRIP BOOKS THE PURCHASE OF COUPON BOOKS TO BE USED IN THE PROCUREMENT OF GASOLINE AND OIL INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED VEHICLES IS NOT AUTHORIZED. AS SUCH PURCHASE INVOLVES THE PAYMENT FOR SUPPLIES IN ADVANCE OF DELIVERY AND IS IN CONTRAVENTION WITH SECTION 3648. 1924: RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 7. IN WHICH YOU REQUEST MY DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS SUBMITTED HEREWITH A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA. THESE SO-CALLED SCRIP BOOKS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY MOST OF THE OIL COMPANIES FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF OPERATORS OF AUTOMOBILES. ARE PARTICULARLY BENEFICIAL TO THE IMMIGRATION SERVICE BY REASON OF THE LARGE NUMBER OF MACHINES IN USE FOR CONTROL AND OTHER PURPOSES.

A-6217, DECEMBER 2, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 509

ADVANCE PAYMENTS - SCRIP BOOKS THE PURCHASE OF COUPON BOOKS TO BE USED IN THE PROCUREMENT OF GASOLINE AND OIL INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED VEHICLES IS NOT AUTHORIZED, AS SUCH PURCHASE INVOLVES THE PAYMENT FOR SUPPLIES IN ADVANCE OF DELIVERY AND IS IN CONTRAVENTION WITH SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO GEORGE W. LOVE, DISBURSING CLERK, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, DECEMBER 2, 1924:

RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 7, 1924, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST MY DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS SUBMITTED HEREWITH A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA, IN THE SUM OF $20, FOR ONE COUPON GASOLINE BOOK FURNISHED THE IMMIGRATION SERVICE AT YUMA, ARIZONA, ON SEPTEMBER 12, 1924, TO BE USED IN THE PURCHASE OF GASOLINE INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

THESE SO-CALLED SCRIP BOOKS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY MOST OF THE OIL COMPANIES FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF OPERATORS OF AUTOMOBILES, WHO PRESENT THE NECESSARY COUPONS IN PROCURING GASOLINE OR OIL INSTEAD OF PAYING CASH, AND ARE PARTICULARLY BENEFICIAL TO THE IMMIGRATION SERVICE BY REASON OF THE LARGE NUMBER OF MACHINES IN USE FOR CONTROL AND OTHER PURPOSES. MANY OF THE EMPLOYEES ARE UNDER HEAVY EXPENSES AND IF COUPON BOOKS WERE NOT AVAILABLE WOULD BE COMPELLED TO PAY CASH, OBTAIN RECEIPTS FOR THE NUMEROUS PURCHASES OF GASOLINE AND OIL, AND WAIT A CONSIDERABLE TIME FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THEIR EXPENSE ACCOUNTS, WHICH, UNDER THE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT, ARE SUBMITTED MONTHLY. IT MAY ALSO BE POINTED OUT THE GOVERNMENT WILL SAVE THROUGH THE USE OF THESE BOOKS, INASMUCH AS THE FACE VALUE OF THE BOOKS IS IN MANY INSTANCES MORE THAN THE ACTUAL COST THEREOF. FOR INSTANCE, THE BOOKS OF THE STANDARD OIL COMPANY IN FLORIDA, HAVING A FACE VALUE OF $10, ACTUALLY COST TO PROCURE $9.04, A SAVING OF ALMOST 10 PERCENT.

THERE IS, HOWEVER, A DOUBT WHETHER THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH BOOKS AND PAYMENT THEREFOR BEFORE THE SUPPLIES ARE FURNISHED CONSTITUTES AN ADVANCE OF PUBLIC MONEY, WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY LAW, AND YOUR DECISION ON THIS POINT IS REQUESTED.

IN A SIMILAR QUESTION IT WAS HELD, ON DECEMBER 20, 1919, 91 MS COMP. DEC. 1879, THAT---

SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, PROHIBITS ADVANCES OF PUBLIC MONEY OR PAYMENTS FOR SUPPLIES IN EXCESS OF AMOUNTS DUE FOR ARTICLES DELIVERED PREVIOUSLY TO SUCH PAYMENT. THIS COUPON BOOK HAS NO VALUE IN ITSELF. PAYMENT FOR THE BOOK IS THEREFORE, IN FACT, PAYMENT FOR THE GASOLINE OR OIL WHICH THE COUPONS REPRESENT. SUCH PAYMENT IN ADVANCE FOR GASOLINE AND OIL IS CLEARLY PROHIBITED BY THIS STATUTE.

TO THE SAME EFFECT WERE DECISIONS OF MARCH 18, 1920, AND OCTOBER 18, 1920. SAID DECISIONS APPEAR TO BE CORRECT.

ACCORDINGLY YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE PROPOSED PAYMENT IN ADVANCE OF ACTUAL DELIVERY OF THE GASOLINE AND OIL IS NOT AUTHORIZED.