A-9068, JUNE 9, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1024

A-9068: Jun 9, 1925

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IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS FOR USE IN TRAINING CAMPS FOR RESERVE OFFICERS. OPINIONS EXPRESSED ORALLY BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ARE NOT AUTHORIZED. IN WHICH CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED FOR PAYMENTS AGGREGATING $85.40 FOR NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES FOR USE IN A TRAINING CAMP FOR RESERVE OFFICERS. IT APPEARS THAT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY TO USE THE APPROPRIATION "RESERVE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS" FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE SUBSCRIPTIONS TO NEWSPAPERS AND PURCHASE OF PERIODICALS DURING THE PERIOD OF ENCAMPMENT AT SUMMER TRAINING CAMPS WAS REQUESTED BY LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15. APPROVAL OF THE REQUEST WAS RECOMMENDED IN AN INDORSEMENT OF DECEMBER 5.

A-9068, JUNE 9, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1024

PURCHASES, NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS - GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, ORAL OPINIONS THE APPROPRIATION "RESERVE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS," ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 507, IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS FOR USE IN TRAINING CAMPS FOR RESERVE OFFICERS. OPINIONS EXPRESSED ORALLY BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ARE NOT AUTHORIZED, DO NOT CONSTITUTE OFFICIAL ACTION, AND CAN NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BE RECOGNIZED AS CONTROLLING THE ACTION OF THE OFFICE ON ANY MATTER THAT MAY COME BEFORE IT FOR OFFICIAL DETERMINATION.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 9, 1925:

LIEUT. C. H. LAMB APPLIED MARCH 31, 1925, FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT M- 11709-W OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, IN WHICH CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED FOR PAYMENTS AGGREGATING $85.40 FOR NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES FOR USE IN A TRAINING CAMP FOR RESERVE OFFICERS.

IT APPEARS THAT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY TO USE THE APPROPRIATION "RESERVE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS" FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE SUBSCRIPTIONS TO NEWSPAPERS AND PURCHASE OF PERIODICALS DURING THE PERIOD OF ENCAMPMENT AT SUMMER TRAINING CAMPS WAS REQUESTED BY LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15, 1923, FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CORPS AREA COMMANDER TO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE ARMY. APPROVAL OF THE REQUEST WAS RECOMMENDED IN AN INDORSEMENT OF DECEMBER 5, 1923, FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, AS FOLLOWS:

1. IN VIEW OF THE INFORMAL ACTION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN STATING, IN EFFECT, THAT VOUCHERS FOR RECRUITING AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF TRAINING CAMPS MAY BE PAID FROM THE TRAINING APPROPRIATION AS EXPLAINED IN 6TH INDORSEMENT OF THIS OFFICE DATED DECEMBER 3, 1923 (COPY HEREWITH), IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE REQUEST IN BASIC COMMUNICATION FOR AUTHORITY TO SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSPAPERS AND PURCHASE PERIODICALS DURING THE PERIOD OF ENCAMPMENT AT SUMMER TRAINING CAMPS, UNDER PURPOSE NUMBER 4743, BE PAID FOR FROM THE C.M.T.C. AND R.O.T.C. APPROPRIATIONS, BE APPROVED.

THE SIXTH INDORSEMENT DATED DECEMBER 3, 1923, REFERRED TO IN THE QUOTATION IS NOT WITH THE PAPERS IN THIS CASE AND THE REFERENCE TO "INFORMAL ACTION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE" IS NOT CLEAR. ASSUMING THAT THE REFERENCE IS TO AN OPINION EXPRESSED ORALLY BY SOME OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THIS OFFICE, I MAY TAKE THIS OCCASION TO STATE THAT SUCH OPINIONS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED AND MUST OF NECESSITY BE REGARDED AS PERSONAL VIEWS ONLY, GIVEN FOR WHATEVER THEY MAY BE WORTH IN THE WAY OF ASSISTING THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES IN THE SOLUTION OF THEIR PROBLEMS. THE EXPRESSION OF SUCH OPINIONS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFICIAL ACTION AND CAN NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BE RECOGNIZED AS CONTROLLING THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE ON ANY MATTER THAT MAY COME BEFORE IT FOR OFFICIAL DETERMINATION. AN AUTHORITATIVE DECISION ON ANY MATTER WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THIS OFFICE MAY BE OBTAINED AT ANY TIME BY AN OFFICER AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO SUBMIT THE QUESTION INVOLVED, AND IF ANY SUCH OFFICER, INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING THE AUTHORIZED PROCEDURE IN SUCH MATTERS, ELECTS TO PRESENT THE QUESTION INFORMALLY TO SOME ONE CONNECTED WITH THIS OFFICE, HE THEREBY ASSUMES THE RISK OF BASING HIS ACTION UPON ADVICE WHICH, DUE TO INCOMPLETE PRESENTATION OR OTHERWISE, MAY NOT BE IN ACCORD WITH THE OFFICIAL ACTION WHICH THIS OFFICE THEREAFTER MAY TAKE WITH REFERENCE TO THE MATTER.

FURTHERMORE, IT IS NOTED THAT THE INDORSEMENT HEREINBEFORE QUOTED DOES NOT STATE THAT THE ,INFORMAL ACTION" REFERRED TO WAS WITH REFERENCE TO SUBSCRIPTIONS TO NEWSPAPERS OR PURCHASE OF PERIODICALS. IN THIS CONNECTION IT MAY BE STATED THAT EVEN A FORMAL DECISION BY THIS OFFICE TO THE EFFECT THAT THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION IS AVAILABLE FOR RECRUITING THE INCIDENTAL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF TRAINING CAMPS WOULD NOT AUTHORIZE THE USE OF SAID APPROPRIATION IN PROCURING NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT THEY WERE NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE RECRUITING FOR OR MAINTENANCE OF THE CAMP.

THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR THE PAYMENTS HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION WAS NOT BASED ON LACK OF ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY FOR THE EXPENDITURES, AS APPARENTLY ASSUMED BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER, BUT WAS BECAUSE THE APPROPRIATION WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR SUCH EXPENDITURES. SAID APPROPRIATION (SEE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 507) CONTAINS NO PROVISION THAT COULD BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORIZING PAYMENT FOR NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES NOT SHOWN TO BE NECESSARY TO THE MAINTENANCE OF THE CAMP. THE CHARACTER OF THE NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES FOR WHICH THE PAYMENTS IN QUESTION WERE MADE WOULD INDICATE THAT THEY WERE IN NO WAY CONNECTED WITH THE PRESCRIBED COURSES OF INSTRUCTION OR TRAINING BUT WERE FOR THE GENERAL INFORMATION, DIVERSION, OR ENTERTAINMENT OF THE OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF OR IN ATTENDANCE AT THE CAMP, AND AS SUCH THE EXPENSE THEREOF IS NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION.