A-67153, FEBRUARY 25, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 725

A-67153: Feb 25, 1936

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CERTIFICATION WAS REFUSED BY THIS OFFICE PENDING INFORMATION WHETHER YOU ATTENDED THE CONVENTION OF NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHILE AT THE YELLOWSTONE PARK AND FOR A STATEMENT OF WHETHER THE AUTOMOBILE USED WAS OWNED BY YOU IN PERSON. WHEN RESUBMITTED THE VOUCHER WAS ACCOMPANIED BY THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION: WITH REFERENCE TO THE ACCOUNT OF PRESIDENT HARRY B. THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL FACTS ARE SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: 1. THE MEETINGS ATTENDED ARE THE TYPE OF MEETINGS OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS CONTEMPLATED WHEN THE PROVISION CONTAINED IN THE COMMISSION'S ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936 WAS ORIGINALLY ENACTED INTO LAW IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1914. 3.

A-67153, FEBRUARY 25, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 725

TRAVELING EXPENSES - CONVENTIONS - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION THE PROVISION FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS APPEARING IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936, 49 STAT. 6, 8, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT TO AN OFFICER OF SAID COMMISSION FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN ATTENDANCE AT A CONVENTION OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, SUCH CONVENTION NOT BEING A MEETING OF "PUBLIC OFFICIALS" WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF SAID PROVISION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE PRESIDENT, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, FEBRUARY 25, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN RESUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT YOUR TRAVEL VOUCHER CLAIMING $87.75 AS REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES--- MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF YOUR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE-- IN CONNECTION WITH A TRIP FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK; ST. PAUL, MINN.; MILWAUKEE, WIS.; CHICAGO, ILL., AND RETURN. WHEN ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT, CERTIFICATION WAS REFUSED BY THIS OFFICE PENDING INFORMATION WHETHER YOU ATTENDED THE CONVENTION OF NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHILE AT THE YELLOWSTONE PARK AND FOR A STATEMENT OF WHETHER THE AUTOMOBILE USED WAS OWNED BY YOU IN PERSON. WHEN RESUBMITTED THE VOUCHER WAS ACCOMPANIED BY THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION:

WITH REFERENCE TO THE ACCOUNT OF PRESIDENT HARRY B. MITCHELL FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES, SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT ON SCHEDULE OF DISBURSEMENTS NO. 4608, DATED OCTOBER 8, 1935, AND RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION ON OCTOBER 14, 1935, THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL FACTS ARE SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

1. PRESIDENT MITCHELL ATTENDED AND ADDRESSED THE CONVENTION HELD AT YELLOWSTONE PARK, SEPTEMBER 3 TO 5, 1935, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE COMMISSION CONTAINED IN MINUTE 1 OF AUGUST 28, 1935.

2. THE MEETINGS ATTENDED ARE THE TYPE OF MEETINGS OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS CONTEMPLATED WHEN THE PROVISION CONTAINED IN THE COMMISSION'S ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936 WAS ORIGINALLY ENACTED INTO LAW IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1914.

3. THE AUTOMOBILE USED FOR TRANSPORTATION FROM GREAT FALLS TO YELLOWSTONE PARK, AND RETURN TO GREAT FALLS, IS OWNED BY PRESIDENT MITCHELL.

THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS:

NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE EXPENDED * * * FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE OF ANY PERSON AT ANY MEETING OR CONVENTION OF MEMBERS OF ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION, UNLESS SUCH * * * EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUCH PURPOSES OR ARE PROVIDED FOR IN EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION.

THE PROVISION IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION REFERRED TO IN THE EXPLANATION ABOVE, ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 6, 8, IS AS FOLLOWS:

* * * INCLUDING NOT TO EXCEED $1,000 FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS WHEN SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED BY THE COMMISSION;

WHILE IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOME PUBLIC OFFICIALS WERE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE CONVENTION OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, SUCH A CONVENTION IS NOT CONVENED PRIMARILY FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF PUBLIC, THAT IS GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS, BUT FOR THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AS SUCH. THAT IS TO SAY, IT WAS NOT A MEETING OF "PUBLIC OFFICIALS" WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THAT TERM AS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD, AND IT MUST BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT YOUR APPROPRIATION WHICH PROVIDES FOR "ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS" DOES NOT BY SPECIFIC OR EXPRESS TERMS AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT FROM ANY APPROPRIATION UNDER YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OF THE EXPENSES OF ATTENDING A CONVENTION SUCH AS INVOLVED IN THIS CASE.

HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE ROOM FOR POSSIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING, PAST PRACTICES, AND THE FACT YOU APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS PRIOR TO LEAVING CHICAGO ON AUGUST 29, AND AFTER REACHING ST. PAUL ON SEPTEMBER 23, USE OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR THAT PORTION OF THE TRIP BEYOND CHICAGO AND RETURN TO ST. PAUL WILL NOT BE OBJECTED TO IN THIS INSTANCE AND PREAUDIT ACTION WILL BE TAKEN ON THE VOUCHER ACCORDINGLY.