A-8001, APRIL 4, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 836

A-8001: Apr 4, 1925

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CONFERS ALL THE BENEFITS OF TEMPORARY OWNERSHIP AND IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE ACT OF JULY 16. OR DAY TO REACH POINTS INACCESSIBLE BY COMMON CARRIERS IS A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES. PAYMENT TO BE MADE ON THE BASIS INDICATED ONLY FOR SUCH TIME AS THE VEHICLE IS ACTUALLY REQUIRED ON OFFICIAL TRIPS AWAY FROM THE HEADQUARTERS OR PLACE WHERE THE AUTOMOBILE IS HIRED. 1925: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION WHETHER CREDIT IS AUTHORIZED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF JOHN F. IT APPEARS THAT A LIKE CHARGE IS MADE IN THE OCTOBER ACCOUNT. THIS PARTICULAR HIRING WAS SANCTIONED BY A LETTER FROM THE PROHIBITION COMMISSIONER. YOU ARE INFORMED THAT THE RENTAL OF THE CAR FOR SIXTY DAYS MEETS WITH THE APPROVAL OF THIS OFFICE.

A-8001, APRIL 4, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 836

HIRE OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES THE HIRING OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES FOR A CONTINUOUS, INDEFINITE, OR EXTENDED PERIOD UNDER AN AGREEMENT WHICH PLACES THE VEHICLES IN THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, CONFERS ALL THE BENEFITS OF TEMPORARY OWNERSHIP AND IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, PROHIBITING THE PURCHASE, MAINTENANCE, OR OPERATION OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES UNLESS SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR. THE HIRE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY TRAVEL UPON PUBLIC BUSINESS BY THE TRIP, MILE, HOUR, OR DAY TO REACH POINTS INACCESSIBLE BY COMMON CARRIERS IS A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES. WHERE THE PUBLIC BUSINESS SO REQUIRES, CONTRACTS MAY BE ENTERED INTO FOR HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES COVERING A PERIOD OF A YEAR OR LESS, PAYMENT TO BE MADE ON THE BASIS INDICATED ONLY FOR SUCH TIME AS THE VEHICLE IS ACTUALLY REQUIRED ON OFFICIAL TRIPS AWAY FROM THE HEADQUARTERS OR PLACE WHERE THE AUTOMOBILE IS HIRED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, APRIL 4, 1925:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION WHETHER CREDIT IS AUTHORIZED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF JOHN F. VIVIAN, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, INTERNAL REVENUE, FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, 1924, FOR A PAYMENT MADE TO AGENT WILLIAM H. TRIMBLE AS REIMBURSEMENT OF AMOUNT EXPENDED FOR HIRE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FROM AUGUST 27 TO 31, 1924, AT $6 A DAY AS PER VOUCHER NO. 56.

IT APPEARS THAT A LIKE CHARGE IS MADE IN THE OCTOBER ACCOUNT, COVERING A SUCCESSIVE PERIOD FROM SEPTEMBER 1 TO 30, TOTAL $180.

THIS PARTICULAR HIRING WAS SANCTIONED BY A LETTER FROM THE PROHIBITION COMMISSIONER, DATED SEPTEMBER 4, 1924, IN THE FOLLOWING WORDS: FEDERAL PROHIBITION DIRECTOR,

DENVER, COLORADO.

WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 28, INCLOSING A PROPOSAL SIGNED BY O. E. BANNISTER, GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO, AGREEING TO RENT YOU AN AUTOMOBILE AT $6 PER DAY FOR A PERIOD OF SIXTY DAYS, WHICH INCLUDES REPAIRS BUT NOT GAS AND OIL, YOU ARE INFORMED THAT THE RENTAL OF THE CAR FOR SIXTY DAYS MEETS WITH THE APPROVAL OF THIS OFFICE. THE EXPENSE OF $6 A DAY AND THE COST OF ALL GAS AND OIL USED SHOULD BE PRORATED AMONG THE AGENTS USING IT AND SUBMITTED ON VOUCHERS (FORM 63 1/2 (, TO BE PAID BY YOU FROM YOUR ALLOWANCE COVERING TRAVELING EXPENSES. THE PROPOSAL WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH SHOULD BE ATTACHED TO THE FIRST VOUCHER TO BE SUBMITTED TO THE ACCOUNTS AND COLLECTIONS UNIT.

JAMES E. JONES,

PROHIBITION COMMISSIONER.

IN JUSTIFICATION OF THIS HIRING THE COMMISSIONER STATES IN LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 2, 1925, THAT:

ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FACT THAT IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, IT IS NECESSARY THAT FEDERAL PROHIBITION AGENTS TRAVEL TO POINTS REMOTE FROM COMMON CARRIERS, THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE IN INVESTIGATING AND RAIDING ILLICIT DISTILLERIES.

TO PRECLUDE THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES FOR THE USE OF FEDERAL AGENTS, IS TO PRECLUDE ANY REASONABLE EFFORT TO INVESTIGATE REPORTS OF THE OPERATION OF ILLICIT DISTILLERIES OR THE CAPTURE AND DESTRUCTION OF SAME. THE COST FOR HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES FOR AGENTS WHO ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND REQUIRED TO VISIT REMOTE POINTS FROM COMMON CARRIERS, HAS BEEN GIVEN VERY SERIOUS CONSIDERATION BY THE PROHIBITION UNIT AND MANY METHODS HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED WITH A VIEW OF DECREASING THE SAME. IN NEARLY ALL CASES WHERE AN ECONOMICAL METHOD CAN BE USED FOR THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES, IT IS FOUND THAT IT IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF LAW OR THAT IT IS HELD THAT THE POLICY IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE PUBLIC INTERESTS.

THIS OFFICE HAS, THEREFORE, ADOPTED THE POLICY THAT WHERE FEDERAL PROHIBITION AGENTS ARE REQUIRED TO TRAVEL CONSIDERABLE DISTANCES, REMOTE FROM COMMON CARRIERS, THAT THE AGENTS SECURE A VEHICLE AND PAY THEIR PRO RATA SHARE AND SEEK REIMBURSEMENT AS TRAVEL EXPENSES AND THIS METHOD WAS AUTHORIZED IN THE CASE UNDER DISCUSSION.

TO AUTHORIZE THE HIRE OF AN AUTOMOBILE AS AN ITEM OF TRAVELING EXPENSE, IT MUST APPEAR THAT THE CHARGE IS INCURRED IN ACTUAL TRAVEL UPON THE PUBLIC BUSINESS; AND WHERE AGENTS SECURE SUCH A VEHICLE INTERMITTENTLY FOR A TRIP OR A DAY, SUCH HIRING, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED IN THE PARAGRAPH LAST QUOTED HEREIN, SUPRA, IS A VALID CHARGE UPON THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES. WHERE, HOWEVER, SUCH HIRING IS CONTINUOUS OVER AN EXTENDED DEFINITE PERIOD WITHOUT REFERENCE TO PARTICULAR TRIPS, AS IN THIS CASE, AND PARTICULARLY UNDER AN AGREEMENT WHICH PLACES THE MACHINE IN THE CUSTODY OF THE GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, SUCH CONTINUOUS POSSESSION AND CONTINUOUS AVAILABILITY CONFERS ALL THE NECESSARY BENEFITS DERIVED FROM TEMPORARY OWNERSHIP, AND SUCH ARRANGEMENT IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE USE OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE PURCHASE, MAINTENANCE, OR OPERATION OF MOTOR- PROPELLED PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES, AS STIPULATED IN THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508. IT WAS HELD IN 22 COMP. DEC. 188, THAT WHERE A VEHICLE IS RENTED FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES FOR ANY DEFINITE OR INDEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME, AND PASSES INTO THE CONTROL AND CONTINUOUS OPERATION OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM HIRING FOR A TRIP, THERE IS ACQUIRED A TEMPORARY POSSESSION AND RIGHT OF PROPERTY THEREIN, AND IT IS FOR THE TIME BEING AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE APPROPRIATION ACTS A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE,"AS MUCH SO AS IF IT HAD BEEN PURCHASED AND OWNED BY THE GOVERNMENT.'

THE APPROPRIATION TO WHICH THE RENTAL OF THIS AUTOMOBILE IS PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED,"ENFORCEMENT OF NARCOTIC AND NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACTS (INTERNAL REVENUE), 1925," DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE FOR THE PURCHASE, OPERATION, OR MAINTENANCE OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES. THEREFORE SAID APPROPRIATION MAY BE USED FOR THE HIRE OF AN AUTOMOBILE ONLY AS A MEANS OF ACCOMPLISHING SPECIFIC TRAVEL NECESSARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTY WHERE OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION ARE NOT AVAILABLE. SEE 24 COMP. DEC. 189; 2 COMP. GEN. 693. WHEN THE HIRING OF AN AUTOMOBILE IS SHOWN TO BE NECESSARY UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE RATE OF SUCH HIRING MAY BE BY THE MILE, BY THE HOUR, OR BY THE DAY, AS THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY REQUIRE, AND WHEN THE NECESSITY FOR SUCH HIRINGS IS FREQUENT IT WOULD BE PROPER, AFTER ADVERTISING FOR BIDS FOR SUCH SERVICE, TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR SUCH SERVICE AS MAY BE REQUIRED THROUGHOUT THE FISCAL YEAR, PAYMENT TO BE MADE ONLY FOR SUCH TIME AS THE VEHICLE IS ACTUALLY REQUIRED ON OFFICIAL TRIPS. IF THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE REQUIRE A MORE GENERAL HIRING--- AS FOR A PERIOD OF 60 DAYS, AS IN THE CASE HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION, WHERE THE VEHICLE IS PLACED AT THE DISPOSAL OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AT HIS STATION TO BE USED IF AND WHEN NEEDED-- THE MATTER IS FOR PRESENTATION TO THE CONGRESS WITH A VIEW TO OBTAINING SPECIFIC AUTHORITY TO USE THE APPROPRIATION FOR SUCH SPECIFIC PURPOSE OR FOR THE GENERAL PURPOSE OF PURCHASE, MAINTENANCE, AND OPERATION OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, AS IN THE CASE OF MANY OTHER SERVICES.

THE HIRING IN THE CASE HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION WAS NOT AUTHORIZED; BUT IN VIEW OF ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES APPEARING, CREDIT WILL BE ALLOWED FOR THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF $30 PAID ON VOUCHER 56 FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST, IT APPEARING THAT FOR THE FIVE DAYS FOR WHICH HIRE IS CHARGED THE AUTOMOBILE WAS IN USE ON AN EXTENDED TRIP ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM GRAND JUNCTION, COLO., THE OFFICER'S STATION, AT WHICH PLACE THE VEHICLE HAD BEEN HIRED. ON VOUCHER 91, COVERING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, CREDIT CAN NOT BE ALLOWED FOR THE HIRE CHARGES MADE ON THE 8TH, 9TH, 11TH, 14TH, 21ST, 22D, AND 23D, BEING DAYS (INCLUDING TWO SUNDAYS) ON WHICH NO OFFICIAL TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AND THE AGENT WAS AT GRAND JUNCTION, HIS HEADQUARTERS, THERE APPEARING NO NECESSITY FOR THE INCURRING OF HIRING EXPENSES FOR THESE DAYS. THE HIRE CHARGES MADE FOR THE OTHER DAYS IN SEPTEMBER WILL BE PASSED FOR CREDIT IN THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNT.