A-8956, JUNE 8, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1018

A-8956: Jun 8, 1925

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

COAST GUARD - USE OF SEIZED VESSELS FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES WHEN VESSELS THAT ARE FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. ARE TURNED OVER TO THE COAST GUARD FOR USE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS THE REGULARLY AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD MAY BE ASSIGNED TO MAN SAID VESSELS AND THEIR PAY AND ALLOWANCES PAID FROM COAST GUARD APPROPRIATIONS. THE COAST GUARD WHOSE DUTY IT IS TO ENFORCE THE CUSTOMS LAWS MAY. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 1. IT IS PRESUMED THAT OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE COAST GUARD MAY BE DETAILED TO OPERATE SUCH VESSELS AND THAT THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF SUCH OFFICERS AND MEN MAY BE DEFRAYED FROM THE REGULAR COAST GUARD APPROPRIATIONS.

A-8956, JUNE 8, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1018

COAST GUARD - USE OF SEIZED VESSELS FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES WHEN VESSELS THAT ARE FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, ARE TURNED OVER TO THE COAST GUARD FOR USE IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS THE REGULARLY AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD MAY BE ASSIGNED TO MAN SAID VESSELS AND THEIR PAY AND ALLOWANCES PAID FROM COAST GUARD APPROPRIATIONS. AS THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS AND NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF VESSELS AND VEHICLES FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES AND USED IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THOSE LAWS, THE COAST GUARD WHOSE DUTY IT IS TO ENFORCE THE CUSTOMS LAWS MAY, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, PAY THE EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF SUCH VESSELS AND SECURE REIMBURSEMENT BY TRANSFER OF FUNDS FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS CHARGEABLE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JUNE 8, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 1, 1925, RECEIVED MAY 11, 1925, IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

SHOULD FORFEITED VESSELS BE DELIVERED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR USE BY THE COAST GUARD IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT APPROVED MARCH 3, 1925, IT IS PRESUMED THAT OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE COAST GUARD MAY BE DETAILED TO OPERATE SUCH VESSELS AND THAT THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF SUCH OFFICERS AND MEN MAY BE DEFRAYED FROM THE REGULAR COAST GUARD APPROPRIATIONS. THIS PRESUMPTION IS PREDICATED UPON THE PROVISION OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 29, 1916 (39 STAT. 600), WHICH READS "ANY COMMISSIONED OR WARRANT OFFICER, PETTY OFFICER, OR OTHER ENLISTED MAN IN THE COAST GUARD MAY BE ASSIGNED TO ANY DUTY WHICH MAY BE NECESSARY FOR THE PROPER CONDUCT OF THE COAST GUARD.' THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DUTIES OF THE COAST GUARD THROUGHOUT ITS ENTIRE HISTORY. IF THIS PRESUMPTION BE NOT CORRECT, I REQUEST THAT YOU ADVISE ME ACCORDINGLY.

WITH RESPECT TO THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION (OTHER THAN PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF OFFICERS AND MEN DETAILED TO OPERATE SUCH VESSELS) OF VESSELS FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES AND DELIVERED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR USE BY THE COAST GUARD IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER SUCH EXPENSES MAY BE DEFRAYED BY THE COAST GUARD, THE COAST GUARD APPROPRIATION BEING REIMBURSED BY TRANSFERS OF FUNDS THERETO FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR DEFRAYING THE EXPENSES OF COLLECTING THE REVENUE FROM CUSTOMS OR FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR ENFORCEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT.

BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 28, 1915, 38 STAT. 801, THERE WAS ESTABLISHED, IN LIEU OF THE THEN EXISTING REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE AND THE LIFE SAVING SERVICE, THE COAST GUARD TO CONSTITUTE A PART OF THE MILITARY FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES, TO OPERATE UNDER THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN TIME OF PEACE, AND TO OPERATE AS A PART OF THE NAVY, SUBJECT TO THE ORDERS OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, IN TIME OF WAR, OR WHEN SO DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT. SAID ACT FURTHER PROVIDES THAT EXCEPT AS MODIFIED THEREBY, ALL EXISTING LAWS RELATING EITHER TO THE LIFE SAVING SERVICE OR TO THE REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE SHALL REMAIN IN FORCE AS FAR AS APPLICABLE TO THE COAST GUARD AND THAT THE OFFICES, POSITIONS, OPERATIONS, AND DUTIES SHALL IN ALL RESPECTS BE HELD AND CONSTRUED TO IMPOSE THE SAME DUTIES UPON THE POSITIONS AND THEIR INCUMBENTS IN THE COAST GUARD AS THERETOFORE WERE IMPOSED UPON THE CORRESPONDING POSITIONS AND INCUMBENTS IN THE SAID TWO ORGANIZATIONS.

THE REVENUE CUTTER SERVICE WAS ORIGINALLY ESTABLISHED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 4, 1790, 1 STAT. 145, FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS AND THE PROTECTION OF THE SEACOAST, THERE BEING AT THAT TIME NO NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT.

SECTION 2760, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDES:

THE OFFICERS OF THE REVENUE-CUTTERS SHALL RESPECTIVELY BE DEEMED OFFICERS OF THE CUSTOMS, AND SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE DIRECTIONS OF SUCH COLLECTORS OF THE REVENUE, OR OTHER OFFICERS THEREOF, AS FROM TIME TO TIME SHALL BE DESIGNATED FOR THAT PURPOSE * * *.

SECTION 2762, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDES:

THE OFFICERS OF REVENUE-CUTTERS SHALL PERFORM IN ADDITION TO THE DUTIES HEREINBEFORE PRESCRIBED, SUCH OTHER DUTIES FOR THE COLLECTION AND SECURITY OF THE REVENUE AS FROM TIME TO TIME SHALL BE DIRECTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, NOT CONTRARY TO LAW.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 29, 1916, 39 STAT. 601, PROVIDES:

ANY COMMISSIONED OR WARRANT OFFICER, PETTY OFFICER, OR OTHER ENLISTED MAN IN THE COAST GUARD MAY BE ASSIGNED TO ANY DUTY WHICH MAY BE NECESSARY FOR THE PROPER CONDUCT OF THE COAST GUARD * * *.

THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT, IN VIEW OF THE STATUTES QUOTED ABOVE, THAT THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS CONSTITUTES ONE OF THE MAJOR DUTIES OF THE COAST GUARD, AND UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 29, 1916, SUPRA, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AUTHORIZED TO ASSIGN MEMBERS OF THE AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL OF THE COAST GUARD TO MAN VESSELS FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, AND USED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS, THEIR PAY AND ALLOWANCES TO BE PAID FROM THE COAST GUARD APPROPRIATIONS THE SAME AS THOUGH THEY WERE SERVING ON REGULAR COAST GUARD VESSELS.

YOUR SECOND QUESTION RELATES TO THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF THE FORFEITED VESSELS. THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1116, SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT CERTAIN APPROPRIATIONS SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF THE VESSELS AND VEHICLES FORFEITED TO THE UNITED STATES AND USED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE CUSTOMS LAWS OR THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT, AND THE DECISION OF APRIL 23, 1925, A-8956, HELD THAT SUCH PROVISION IS EXCLUSIVE AND PRECLUDES THE USE OF COAST GUARD APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES. THE QUESTION NOW PRESENTED IS WHETHER SUCH EXPENSES OTHER THAN PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF REGULAR PERSONNEL AS MENTIONED IN THE PRECEDING PARAGRAPH MAY BE PAID IN THE FIRST INSTANCE FROM COAST GUARD APPROPRIATIONS, SAID APPROPRIATIONS TO BE THEREAFTER REIMBURSED FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR COLLECTING THE REVENUE FROM CUSTOMS AND FOR ENFORCING THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION ACT.

THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO OBJECTION TO THE PROCEDURE OUTLINED, PROVIDED NO EXPENDITURES ARE MADE OTHER THAN SUCH AS ARE LEGALLY AND PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE CUSTOMS OR PROHIBITION SERVICES.