A-87796, JULY 27, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 72

A-87796: Jul 27, 1937

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TO ASCERTAIN FROM THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION WHETHER AN OTHERWISE QUALIFIED BIDDER IS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT. IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER AND NOT A MATTER FOR THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICE RENDERED BETWEEN SPECIFIED POINTS IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE NOTWITHSTANDING THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER'S CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO OPERATE UNDER THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT. IS FOUND INAPPLICABLE TO TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE CONTRACT POINTS. 1937: THERE WAS RECEIVED JULY 20 YOUR LETTER OF JULY 15. 74TH CONGRESS (S. 1629) ( THERE WAS INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE INVITATION TO BID THE FOLLOWING PROVISION: "SPECIAL NOTICE TO ALL BIDDERS "EVERY BIDDER WHOSE PROPOSAL INCLUDES AN OFFER TO TRANSPORT IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

A-87796, JULY 27, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 72

TRANSPORTATION - INTERSTATE COMMERCE - MOTOR CARRIER QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS - AWARDS AND PAYMENTS UPON VIOLATION WHETHER A CONTRACTING OFFICER SHOULD BE REQUIRED, PRIOR TO MAKING AWARD, TO ASCERTAIN FROM THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION WHETHER AN OTHERWISE QUALIFIED BIDDER IS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT, 1935, 49 STAT. 543, TO TRANSPORT GOODS IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE BETWEEN SPECIFIED POINTS, IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER AND NOT A MATTER FOR THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICE RENDERED BETWEEN SPECIFIED POINTS IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE NOTWITHSTANDING THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER'S CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY TO OPERATE UNDER THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT, 1935, 4I STAT. 543, AFTER AWARD AND FILING WITH THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION AS REQUIRED BY THE REGULATIONS, IS FOUND INAPPLICABLE TO TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE CONTRACT POINTS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JULY 27, 1937:

THERE WAS RECEIVED JULY 20 YOUR LETTER OF JULY 15, 1937, AS FOLLOWS:

ON MAY 6, 1937, THE REGIONAL OFFICE OF THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE AT RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, ENTERED INTO AN UNNUMBERED (SCS) CONTRACT WITH THE FLAMMING MOTOR EXPRESS, INC., OF WINNER, SOUTH DAKOTA, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION BY MOTOR CARRIER IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE, HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BELONGING TO ONE OF ITS EMPLOYEES WHO HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED FROM RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, TO DES MOINES, IOWA.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS ESTABLISHED BY THE BUREAU OF MOTOR CARRIERS, INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, PURSUANT TO THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT OF 1935 (PUBLIC, NO. 225, 74TH CONGRESS (S. 1629) ( THERE WAS INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE INVITATION TO BID THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

"SPECIAL NOTICE TO ALL BIDDERS

"EVERY BIDDER WHOSE PROPOSAL INCLUDES AN OFFER TO TRANSPORT IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS, FURNITURE, OR OTHER MATERIAL REFERRED TO IN THESE SPECIFICATIONS MUST, WITH HIS PROPOSAL, SUBMIT A CERTIFICATE AS TO HIS AUTHORITY TO OPERATE UNDER THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT, 1935. THE NECESSARY FORM FOR HIS USE IN THIS CONNECTION IS ATTACHED TO THIS REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS. NO BID INVOLVING TRANSPORTATION OF THE MATERIAL IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE CAN BE CONSIDERED WITHOUT THE REQUIRED CERTIFICATE.'

INASMUCH AS THE FLAMMING MOTOR EXPRESS, INC., SUBMITTED THE LOWEST QUOTATION COVERING THE TRANSPORTATION OF THESE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND ITS BID SUBSCRIBED TO ALL CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS OF THE INVITATION TO BID, AWARD OF CONTRACT WAS MADE BY THE REGIONAL PROCUREMENT OFFICER AND A PURCHASE ORDER ISSUED TO THE CONTRACTOR.

SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THE ISSUANCE OF A PURCHASE ORDER THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE OF THE MOTOR CARRIER'S AUTHORITY TO OPERATE IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE (DOCKET NO. MC40283) WAS SUBMITTED TO WASHINGTON FOR FILING WITH THE BUREAU OF MOTOR CARRIERS, INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, AS PRESCRIBED BY REGULATIONS.

IN A LETTER DATED JUNE 3, 1937 (ORIGINAL ATTACHED), THE BUREAU OF MOTOR CARRIERS INFORMED THE WASHINGTON OFFICE OF THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE THAT AN EXAMINATION OF THE CERTIFICATE GRANTED BY THE COMMISSION DISCLOSED THE FACT THAT THE FLAMMING MOTOR EXPRESS, INC., DOES NOT HAVE AUTHORITY TO OPERATE BETWEEN RAPID CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA, AND DES MOINES, IOWA. A COPY OF THE CERTIFICATE (DOCKET NO. MC40283) ISSUED BY THE BUREAU OF MOTOR CARRIERS TO THE FLAMMING MOTOR EXPRESS, INC., IS ATTACHED.

PRIOR TO RECEIPT OF THE LETTER OF JUNE 3 FROM THE BUREAU OF MOTOR CARRIERS, THE FLAMMING MOTOR EXPRESS, INC., HAD COMPLETED PERFORMANCE OF THE CONTRACT AND IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES RECITED IN THE FOREGOING PARAGRAPHS, THIS DEPARTMENT REQUESTS TO BE ADVISED, WITH THE RETURN OF THE ATTACHED BID FILE CONSISTING OF THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT AND ALL REJECTED BIDS, AS TO WHETHER:

A. IT IS THE DUTY OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER TO ASCERTAIN FROM THE BUREAU OF MOTOR CARRIERS, PRIOR TO MAKING THE AWARD, WHETHER THE CARRIER IS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ACT OF CONGRESS TO TRANSPORT GOODS IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE BETWEEN DESTINATIONS DESIGNATED IN THE INVITATION TO BID?

B. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RECITED IN THE INSTANT CASE, IF APPROPRIATED MONEYS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF THE SERVICES PERFORMED LEAVING TO THE PROPER AUTHORITIES SUCH PROSECUTION AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE MOTOR CARRIER ACT CITED SUPRA?

THE APPLICABLE TERMS OF SECTION 209 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1935, 49 STAT. 552, WERE QUOTED IN MY DECISION OF DECEMBER 12, 1936, A 82127, TO YOU, AND NEED NOT BE REPEATED HEREIN. IT IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER WHETHER THE CONTRACTING OFFICER SHALL ASCERTAIN FROM THE BUREAU OF MOTOR CARRIERS, INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, PRIOR TO MAKING THE AWARD, WHETHER A BIDDER OTHERWISE QUALIFIED IS AUTHORIZED TO TRANSPORT GOODS IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE BETWEEN DESTINATIONS DESIGNATED IN THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS. THIS OFFICE HAS STATED NO SUCH REQUIREMENT AND DOES NOT CONTEMPLATE DOING SO, AS THERE APPEARS NO DUTY IN THAT RESPECT PLACED IN THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1935, ON CONTRACTING OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES.

AS TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE CIVIL LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE CONTRACTOR WHICH HAS PERFORMED THE SERVICE AND ITS LIABILITY UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1935, FOR HAVING VIOLATED SAID STATUTE--- IF, IN FACT, THE CONTRACTOR HAS VIOLATED THE STATUTE-- ARE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT MATTERS, AND THE COMPENSATION EARNED BY THE CONTRACTOR SHOULD BE PAID TO IT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION BEING ADVISED WITH RESPECT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICE.