A-90865, FEBRUARY 28, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 693

A-90865: Feb 28, 1938

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IS UNAUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF WRITTEN AUTHORITY FOR SUCH PUBLICATION BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3828. 1938: THERE ARE BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT CONSIDERATION FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION VOUCHERS 13756 TO 13763. TWO OF WHICH ARE STATED IN FAVOR OF THE FITZGERALD LEADER. THE VOUCHERS ARE ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT "EMERGENCY RELIEF. SAID VOUCHERS WERE RETURNED TO YOU DEPARTMENT IN OCTOBER 1937. WITHOUT PREAUDIT APPROVAL FOR THE REASON THERE WERE NOT PRESENTED WITH THE BILLS A COPY OF THE WRITTEN AUTHORITY BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZING THE ADVERTISING SUCH AS IS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3828. THE ADVERTISING ORDERS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHERS WHICH PURPORT TO BE THE AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH THE NOTICES WERE PUBLISHED ARE UNDATED BUT STATE THAT THE LETTER OF AUTHORITY TO ADVERTISE IS DATED FEBRUARY 5.

A-90865, FEBRUARY 28, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 693

NEWSPAPER NOTICES - SALE OF MORTGAGED PROPERTY - STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS AND GOVERNMENT LIABILITY PAYMENT FOR NEWSPAPER NOTICES OF THE SALE, FOR DEFAULT, OF CHATTEL PROPERTY MORTGAGED TO THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION, IS UNAUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF WRITTEN AUTHORITY FOR SUCH PUBLICATION BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3828, REVISED STATUTES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, FEBRUARY 28, 1938:

THERE ARE BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT CONSIDERATION FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION VOUCHERS 13756 TO 13763, INCLUSIVE, EACH FOR $16, TWO OF WHICH ARE STATED IN FAVOR OF THE FITZGERALD LEADER, FITZGERALD, GA., AND SIX IN FAVOR OF THE OCILLA STAR, OCILLA, GA. THE VOUCHERS ARE ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT "EMERGENCY RELIEF, RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION, RURAL REHABILITATION, LOANS AND RELIEF TO FARMERS, ETC., 1936-37 (TRANSFER TO AGRICULTURE).'

THE VOUCHERS COVER CHARGES FOR PUBLISHING, DURING DECEMBER 1936, NOTICES OF THE SALE OF CHATTEL PROPERTY MORTGAGED TO THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION, THE PROVISIONS OF THE MORTGAGES HAVING BEEN VIOLATED, AND DEFAULT DECLARED BY THE MORTGAGEE. SAID VOUCHERS WERE RETURNED TO YOU DEPARTMENT IN OCTOBER 1937, WITHOUT PREAUDIT APPROVAL FOR THE REASON THERE WERE NOT PRESENTED WITH THE BILLS A COPY OF THE WRITTEN AUTHORITY BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZING THE ADVERTISING SUCH AS IS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3828, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH PROVIDES:

NO ADVERTISEMENT, NOTICE, OR PROPOSAL FOR ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, OR FOR ANY BUREAU THEREOF, OR FOR ANY OFFICE THEREWITH CONNECTED, SHALL BE PUBLISHED IN ANY NEWSPAPER WHATEVER, EXCEPT IN PURSUANCE OF A WRITTEN AUTHORITY FOR SUCH PUBLICATION FROM THE HEAD OF SUCH DEPARTMENT; AND NO BILL FOR ANY SUCH ADVERTISING, OR PUBLICATION, SHALL BE PAID, UNLESS THERE BE PRESENTED, WITH SUCH BILL, A COPY OF SUCH WRITTEN AUTHORITY.

THE ADVERTISING ORDERS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHERS WHICH PURPORT TO BE THE AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH THE NOTICES WERE PUBLISHED ARE UNDATED BUT STATE THAT THE LETTER OF AUTHORITY TO ADVERTISE IS DATED FEBRUARY 5, 1937. THE FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION WAS REQUESTED BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 23, 1937, TO FURNISH CERTIFIED COPIES OF THE AUTHORIZATIONS ISSUED TO THE PUBLISHERS, COPY OF THE AUTHORIZATION REFERRED TO DATED FEBRUARY 5, 1937, AND OF A SIMILAR AUTHORIZATION, IF ANY, IN EFFECT DURING DECEMBER 1936.

IN REPLY DATED JANUARY 14, 1938, IT WAS STATED BY THE ACTING DIRECTOR OF FINANCE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT:

THIS WILL ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 23, 1937, FILE A 90865, RELATIVE TO VOUCHERS IN FAVOR OF THE FITZGERALD LEADER AND THE OCILLA STAR, WHICH WERE SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT EXAMINATION BY THE FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION.

THERE IS ENCLOSED COPY OF AUTHORIZATION ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE ON FEBRUARY 5, 1937.

THE RECORDS OF THE FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION INDICATE THAT THERE WAS NO SIMILAR AUTHORIZATION IN FORCE DURING DECEMBER 1936.

THE REGIONAL OFFICIALS OF THE FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION HAVE BEEN REQUESTED TO FURNISH CERTIFIED COPIES FOR THE AUTHORIZATIONS ISSUED TO THE PUBLISHERS DIRECTING PUBLICATION OF THE ADVERTISEMENTS WHICH WILL BE FORWARDED TO YOU IMMEDIATELY UPON THEIR RECEIPT.

THE LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION IN QUESTION AUTHORIZES CERTAIN OFFICIALS OF THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION, INCLUDING COUNTY RURAL REHABILITATION SUPERVISORS TO INCUR NECESSARY EXPENSES FOR ADVERTISING PUBLIC OR PRIVATE FORECLOSURE SALES OF PERSONAL OR REAL PROPERTY UNDER LIEN TO THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION, WITH AUTHORITY TO SELECT THE NEWSPAPERS IN WHICH THE ADVERTISEMENTS SHOULD APPEAR, ETC.

THE ACTIVITIES OF THE FORMER RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7530, DATED DECEMBER 31, 1936, EFFECTIVE AS OF JANUARY 1, 1937. IT IS THEREFORE APPARENT THE LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE ON FEBRUARY 5, 1937, MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AUTHORITY FOR ADVERTISING ORDERED BY THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION IN DECEMBER 1936 PRIOR TO THE TRANSFER OF SAID ADMINISTRATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

CERTIFIED COPIES OF THE LETTERS ADDRESSED TO THE PUBLISHERS AUTHORIZING PUBLICATION OF THE NOTICES OF SALE WERE TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 15, 1938. THESE LETTERS STATED IN PART:

YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED AS PER INSTRUCTION FROM THE REGIONAL AND WASHINGTON OFFICES OF THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION TO PUBLISH THE FOLLOWING "NOTICE OF SALE" IN FOUR CONSECUTIVE ISSUES OF THE OCILLA STAR (FITZGERALD LEADER) BEGINNING DECEMBER 10, 1936, AT LEGAL RATE OF $4.00 PER ISSUE.

APPARENTLY THE INSTRUCTIONS REFERRED TO ARE THOSE CONTAINED IN RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 178 OF JULY 9, 1936, WHICH STATES AS ITS PURPOSE "THIS ORDER PRESCRIBES POLICIES FOR GENERAL PROCEDURES.' NO PROVISION IS FOUND THEREIN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING ADVERTISING AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3828, REVISED STATUTES, AND THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF THE LETTER OF JANUARY 14, 1938, SUPRA, STATES THAT NO GENERAL ADVERTISING AUTHORIZATION WAS IN EFFECT DURING DECEMBER 1936.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT IN VIEW OF THE FACTS DISCLOSED BY THE RECORD AND THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3828, REVISED STATUTES, THESE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHERS HERE IN QUESTION FROM THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED. SAID VOUCHERS WILL BE RETURNED IN DUE COURSE THROUGH REGULAR PREAUDIT CHANNELS.