A-85714, JUNE 15, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 1078

A-85714: Jun 15, 1937

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FEDERAL JUDICIARY - APPLICABILITY OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND GENERAL TRAVELING EXPENSE STATUTES THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES HAVE NO DIRECT APPLICATION. DECISIONS CONTRARY WILL NOT BE FOLLOWED HEREAFTER. " ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30. 1937: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 21. THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES IS NOT AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT. IT IS A COORDINATE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT. 2. PROVIDES THAT VOUCHERS FILED BY FEDERAL JUDGES WILL BE ALLOWED ON THEIR OWN SIGNED CERTIFICATES AS TO CORRECTNESS.

A-85714, JUNE 15, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 1078

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FEDERAL JUDICIARY - APPLICABILITY OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND GENERAL TRAVELING EXPENSE STATUTES THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES HAVE NO DIRECT APPLICATION, AS SUCH, TO THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY, AND DECISIONS CONTRARY WILL NOT BE FOLLOWED HEREAFTER. OFFICIAL TRAVELING EXPENSES OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY REIMBURSABLE AS TO TRAVEL GENERALLY UNDER SECTION 259 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1911, 36 STAT. 1161,"UPON THE WRITTEN CERTIFICATE OF THE JUSTICE OR JUDGE," AND SPECIFICALLY AS TO ATTENDING THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF SENIOR CIRCUIT JUDGES UNDER THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1922, 42 STAT. 838,"UPON THE WRITTEN CERTIFICATE OF THE JUDGE * * * APPROVED BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE," ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 405, FIXING A MAXIMUM PER DIEM OF $5 FOR SUBSISTENCE, THE AUTOMOBILE MILEAGE RATE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND SECTION 10 OF THE LATTER ACT LIMITING TRANSPORTATION COST TO LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE MARSHAL, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, JUNE 15, 1937:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 21, 1937, AS FOLLOWS:

REPLYING TO YOUR NOTICES OF SUSPENSION OF VOUCHERS NO. 274-281, 285 287, IN MY ACCOUNTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1935, ALL OF WHICH VOUCHERS RELATE TO TRAVEL EXPENSES, ET CETERA, OF UNITED STATES CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES, WHICH SUSPENSIONS APPEAR TO BE BASED ON THE "STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS," AS AMENDED, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 30, 1934, I VERY RESPECTFULLY SUBMIT THAT THE SUSPENSIONS SHOULD BE LIFTED AND THE VOUCHERS PASSED FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

1. THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS,"ISSUED FOR THE GUIDANCE" OF OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE SEVERAL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND OTHER INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, REFER ONLY TO THOSE OFFICIALS. THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES IS NOT AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT. IT IS A COORDINATE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT.

2. IT HAS BEEN THE PREVAILING AND LONG PRACTICE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT NOT TO QUESTION VOUCHERS FILED BY THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL JUDGES FOR CLAIMS FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES. 36 STATS. 1161, PROVIDES THAT VOUCHERS FILED BY FEDERAL JUDGES WILL BE ALLOWED ON THEIR OWN SIGNED CERTIFICATES AS TO CORRECTNESS; AND SUCH VOUCHERS HAVE NEVER BEEN SUSPENDED, SO FAR AS THE WRITER KNOWS, UNTIL IN THIS INSTANCE.

3. THE SUSPENSIONS ARE BASED ON A RULING OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, DATED APRIL 14, 1936, WHICH RULING REQUIRED CERTAIN DETAILS AS TO ITEMIZATION, AND SUPPORTING EVIDENCE, ET CETERA, OF VOUCHERS SUBMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. THE RULING, UPON WHICH THE JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS SUSPENSION IN THIS INSTANCE IS RELIED UPON, WAS MADE MORE THAN FIVE MONTHS AFTER THE DISBURSEMENTS WERE MADE. IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE SUGGESTIONS, MAY I CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT, SINCE THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1922, 42 STATS., 837, PROVIDING FOR A JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF SENIOR UNITED STATES CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES WITH THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES, TRAVELING EXPENSES OF THE UNITED STATES CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES ATTENDING THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE CALLED BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE HAVE BEEN ALLOWED WITHOUT QUESTION, EXCEPT IN ONE OR TWO INSTANCES OF SLIGHT TECHNICALITIES.

THE SUSPENSIONS IN QUESTION RELATED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES INCURRED BY THE CIRCUIT JUDGES, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM PAYMENTS OF PER DIEM FOR SUBSISTENCE, AND, AS SUGGESTED IN YOUR LETTER, WERE BASED ON THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS TO ITEMIZATION, RECEIPTS, ETC., PURSUANT TO DECISION OF APRIL 14, 1936, A- 65245, BY THE FORMER COMPTROLLER GENERAL.

IT WAS HELD IN THAT DECISION THAT THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF FEDERAL JUDGES WERE SUBJECT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS BECAUSE SUCH REGULATIONS WERE PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, 44 STAT. 688, WHICH, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 207 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, HAD BEEN HELD TO INCLUDE THE JUDICIARY WITHIN ITS TERMS. SEE 12 COMP. GEN. 125; ID. 190. THE SAID SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT, HOWEVER, RELATES SOLELY TO SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL, AND NOT TO TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, AND UPON EXAMINATION OF THE MATTER IT SEEMS CLEAR TO ME THAT PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES HAVE NO DIRECT APPLICATION, AS SUCH, TO THE JUDICIARY BY REASON OF ANYTHING CONTAINED IN THAT ACT, OR OTHERWISE. ACCORDINGLY, THE SAID DECISION OF APRIL 14, 1936, WILL NO LONGER BE FOLLOWED IN THIS RESPECT, AND CREDIT WILL BE ALLOWED FOR ANY ITEMS NOW IN SUSPENSION AGAINST TRAVEL VOUCHERS OF FEDERAL JUDGES WHERE THE SUSPENSION IS BASED WHOLLY ON THE PARTICULAR REQUIREMENTS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, THE REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES OF FEDERAL JUDGES AND JUSTICES, OTHERWISE CORRECT AND PROPER, BEING GOVERNED GENERALLY BY SECTION 259 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1911, 36 STAT. 1161, WHICH PROVIDES THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL BE PAID "UPON THE WRITTEN CERTIFICATE OF THE JUSTICE OR JUDGE.'

YOU INDICATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE PARTICULAR SUSPENSIONS INVOLVED IN YOUR ACCOUNTS WERE ON VOUCHERS COVERING THE REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES OF CIRCUIT JUDGES ATTENDING THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF SENIOR CIRCUIT JUDGES CALLED BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES PURSUANT TO SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1922, 42 STAT. 838. THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE SAID SECTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

THE CHIEF JUSTICE AND EACH JUSTICE OR JUDGE SUMMONED AND ATTENDING SAID CONFERENCE SHALL BE ALLOWED HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND HIS NECESSARY EXPENSES FOR SUBSISTENCE, NOT TO EXCEED $10 PER DAY, WHICH PAYMENTS SHALL BE MADE BY THE MARSHAL OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES UPON THE WRITTEN CERTIFICATE OF THE JUDGE INCURRING SUCH EXPENSES, APPROVED BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE.

EXCEPT FOR THE MODIFICATION OF THE PROVISION FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF NOT TO EXCEED $10 PER DAY BY SECTIONS 207, 208, AND 210 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 405, AMENDING THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, 44 STAT. 689, TO SUBSTITUTE A PER DIEM OF NOT TO EXCEED $5 FOR TRAVEL WITHIN THE LIMITS OF CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IN LIEU OF REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES THERETOFORE AUTHORIZED BY LAW, 12 COMP. GEN. 125; ID. 190, THIS PARAGRAPH APPEARS TO REMAIN IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT. BUT, OF COURSE, THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF JUSTICES AND JUDGES ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND TO SECTION 10 OF THE SAID ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933.

THE VOUCHERS HERE IN QUESTION APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN PAID BY YOU ON THE CERTIFICATE OF THE JUDGES AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE SAID ACT OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1922, BUT IT DOES NOT APPEAR FROM THE VOUCHERS THAT THE PAYMENTS WERE APPROVED BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE AS EXPRESSLY REQUIRED BY THE ACT, AND, ACCORDINGLY, THE SUSPENSIONS WILL BE CONTINUED FOR SUCH APPROVAL UNLESS ELSEWHERE IN THE ACCOUNTS SUCH APPROVAL IS SHOWN.