A-71930, APRIL 9, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 885

A-71930: Apr 9, 1936

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TELEPHONES - PRIVATE RESIDENCES PAYMENT IS UNAUTHORIZED FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR THE INSTALLATION OR RENT OF A TELEPHONE INSTALLED IN THE PENTHOUSE OF A STATE ADMINISTRATOR IRRESPECTIVE OF ITS USE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS. THIS OFFICE WAS INFORMED THAT THE REASON FOR THE INSTALLATION OF THIS TELEPHONE IN THE RESIDENCE OF E. A. PYNCHON WAS THAT THIS TELEPHONE WAS NECESSARY FOR THE EFFICIENT PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES PERTAINING TO THE STATE ADMINISTRATOR AND THAT SAID TELEPHONE IS USED ONLY FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS. - IT BEING ALLEGED THAT THE TELEPHONE IS NOT LISTED. IMMEDIATE ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT AND THIS OFFICE BE INFORMED WHEN THAT IS DONE. THIS ACTION IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS PROHIBITING PAYMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS RECEIVED OR TRANSMITTED OVER SUCH TELEPHONE WHERE THE TOLLS ARE STRICTLY FOR THE PUBLIC BUSINESS.

A-71930, APRIL 9, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 885

TELEPHONES - PRIVATE RESIDENCES PAYMENT IS UNAUTHORIZED FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR THE INSTALLATION OR RENT OF A TELEPHONE INSTALLED IN THE PENTHOUSE OF A STATE ADMINISTRATOR IRRESPECTIVE OF ITS USE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS, BUT LONG-DISTANCE TOLLS FOR MESSAGES RECEIVED OR TRANSMITTED OVER SUCH TELEPHONE, STRICTLY FOR THE PUBLIC BUSINESS, MAY BE SO PAID.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, APRIL 9, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN FILED IN THIS OFFICE CONTRACT ER T PS-35-22, BETWEEN THE SOUTHERN BELL TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH CO., INC., AND THE UNITED STATES, BY JOHN STEPHENS, STATE PROCUREMENT OFFICER, FOR THE INSTALLATION OF ONE RESIDENCE INDIVIDUAL LINE FLAT RATE HANDSET INSTRUMENT IN THE RESIDENCE OF E. A. PYNCHON, IN PENTHOUSE ON FLORIDA NATIONAL BANK BUILDING. BY LETTER OF DECEMBER 28, 1935, FROM THE SPECIAL ASSISTANT, PROCUREMENT DIVISION, THIS OFFICE WAS INFORMED THAT THE REASON FOR THE INSTALLATION OF THIS TELEPHONE IN THE RESIDENCE OF E. A. PYNCHON WAS THAT THIS TELEPHONE WAS NECESSARY FOR THE EFFICIENT PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES PERTAINING TO THE STATE ADMINISTRATOR AND THAT SAID TELEPHONE IS USED ONLY FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS--- IT BEING ALLEGED THAT THE TELEPHONE IS NOT LISTED.

SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, 37 STAT. 414, PROVIDES:

THAT NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE EXPENDED FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE INSTALLED IN ANY PRIVATE RESIDENCE OR PRIVATE APARTMENT OR FOR TOLLS OR OTHER CHARGES FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE FROM PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS, EXCEPT FOR LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS REQUIRED STRICTLY FOR THE PUBLIC BUSINESS, AND SO SHOWN BY VOUCHERS DULY SWORN TO AND APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, DIVISION, BUREAU, OR OFFICE IN WHICH THE OFFICIAL USING SUCH TELEPHONE OR INCURRING THE EXPENSE OF SUCH TOLLS SHALL BE EMPLOYED.

IN VIEW OF THIS STATUTORY INHIBITION NO PAYMENT FOR INSTALLATION OR RENT OF THE TELEPHONE INSTALLED UNDER THE CONTRACT IN THIS CASE MAY BE MADE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS IRRESPECTIVE OF ITS USE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS (10 COMP. GEN. 428; 11 ID. 87, AND AUTHORITIES THEREIN CITED).

IMMEDIATE ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN TO CANCEL THE CONTRACT AND THIS OFFICE BE INFORMED WHEN THAT IS DONE. OF COURSE, THIS ACTION IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS PROHIBITING PAYMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS FOR LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS RECEIVED OR TRANSMITTED OVER SUCH TELEPHONE WHERE THE TOLLS ARE STRICTLY FOR THE PUBLIC BUSINESS.