A-92170, MARCH 28, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 781

A-92170: Mar 28, 1938

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COUNTERSIGNATURE IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH EVIDENCE AS THE LAW REQUIRES. THE CHARACTER OF INFORMATION REQUIRED TO EXPLAIN COUNTER-ENTRIES IN COVERING WARRANTS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR COUNTERSIGNATURE WHICH HAVE THE EFFECT OF REDUCING AMOUNTS PREVIOUSLY COVERED INTO THE TREASURY. FROM YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT IS AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 17. BE ACCOMPANIED BY A COMPLETE EXPLANATION OF EACH SUCH COUNTER ENTRY OR THE DOCUMENT ON WHICH EACH ENTRY IS BASED. NAMELY: (1) WHERE THE DEPOSITING OFFICER INADVERTENTLY INCLUDES ON CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT FORM NO. 1 (WHICH IS USED FOR COVERING MONEY INTO THE TREASURY). AN ITEM WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED ON FORM NO. 6599 (WHICH IS USED FOR CREDITING SPECIAL DEPOSIT OR DISBURSING OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS).

A-92170, MARCH 28, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 781

WARRANTS - COUNTERSIGNATURE - EVIDENCE REQUIREMENTS THE DUTY COMMITTED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT THAT ALL WARRANTS BE COUNTER-SIGNED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, REQUIRES MORE THAN A MERE PERFUNCTORY PERFORMANCE, AND COUNTERSIGNATURE IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH EVIDENCE AS THE LAW REQUIRES, OR AS MAY BE ESSENTIAL TO A PROPER DETERMINATION RESPECTING ANY ITEM OR STATEMENT IN THE DOCUMENT REQUIRING COUNTERSIGNATURE. THE CHARACTER OF INFORMATION REQUIRED TO EXPLAIN COUNTER-ENTRIES IN COVERING WARRANTS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR COUNTERSIGNATURE WHICH HAVE THE EFFECT OF REDUCING AMOUNTS PREVIOUSLY COVERED INTO THE TREASURY, OR AMOUNTS PROPOSED TO BE COVERED, MUST OF NECESSITY DEPEND UPON THE CHARACTER AND NATURE OF EACH PARTICULAR COUNTER- ENTRY.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, MARCH 28, 1938:

LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 21, 1938, FROM YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT IS AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 17, 1938, REQUESTING THAT COVERING WARRANTS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR COUNTERSIGNATURE, WHICH CONTAIN COUNTER-ENTRIES IN THE TREASURER'S ACCOUNT, BE ACCOMPANIED BY A COMPLETE EXPLANATION OF EACH SUCH COUNTER ENTRY OR THE DOCUMENT ON WHICH EACH ENTRY IS BASED.

FOR YOUR GENERAL INFORMATION IT MAY BE STATED THAT COUNTER-ENTRIES IN THE TREASURER'S ACCOUNT ARISE PRINCIPALLY FROM TWO CAUSES, NAMELY:

(1) WHERE THE DEPOSITING OFFICER INADVERTENTLY INCLUDES ON CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT FORM NO. 1 (WHICH IS USED FOR COVERING MONEY INTO THE TREASURY), AN ITEM WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED ON FORM NO. 6599 (WHICH IS USED FOR CREDITING SPECIAL DEPOSIT OR DISBURSING OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS),

(2) WHERE A FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OR OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPOSITARY CREDITS AN ITEM IN THE TREASURER'S ACCOUNT ON A TIME BASIS, ISSUING A CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT FORM NO. 1, THEREFOR, AND WHICH, SUBSEQUENTLY, DEVELOPS TO BE UNCOLLECTIBLE. IN SUCH CASES, THE BANK RETURNS THE UNCOLLECTIBLE CHECK TO THE OFFICER FROM WHOM RECEIVED AND TAKES A RECEIPT ON FORM NO. 5504, KNOWN AS A DEBIT VOUCHER, AND ACCORDINGLY CHARGES THE ITEM BACK IN THE TREASURER'S ACCOUNT.

AS YOU ARE AWARE, UNDER TITLE 31, SECTION 495, U.S. CODE, DEPOSITARY BANKS ARE REQUIRED TO ISSUE CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT, IN DUPLICATE, FOR ALL MONEYS DEPOSITED WITH THEM. THIS STATUTE ALSO PROVIDES THAT THE ORIGINAL OF SUCH CERTIFICATES SHALL BE SENT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AND THE DUPLICATE TO THE DEPOSITOR. IT IS TO BE NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT UNDER TITLE 31, SECTION 147, U.S. CODE, NO ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE RECEIPT OF MONEY INTO THE PUBLIC TREASURY IS VALID UNLESS AND UNTIL ENDORSED UPON A WARRANT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1928, IT WAS THE PRACTICE TO RECORD ON COVERING WARRANTS ONLY SUCH CERTIFICATES, OR THE AMOUNTS THEREOF, WHICH LAWFULLY COULD BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY. FURTHERMORE, THERE WERE SEVERAL DIFFERENT SERIES OF WARRANTS, AND, THEREFORE, UNDER THE FORMER PROCEDURE, IF A CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT REPRESENTED DIFFERENT CLASSES OF MONEY, IT WAS NOT UNUSUAL THAT SEPARATE PARTS OF THE CERTIFICATE WOULD APPEAR ON DIFFERENT WARRANTS. IN OTHER WORDS, THE COVERING WARRANT ITSELF DID NOT CARRY FULL INFORMATION CONCERNING EACH CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT. SUCH INFORMATION WAS AVAILABLE ONLY IN PEN AND-INK REGISTERS MAINTAINED IN THE DIVISION OF PUBLIC MONEYS, AND LATER THE DIVISION OF BOOKKEEPING AND WARRANTS.

WHILE THERE APPEARS TO BE NO REQUIREMENT OF LAW THAT COUNTER-ENTRIES IN THE TREASURER'S ACCOUNT BE RECORDED ON THE COVERING WARRANT, THE TREASURY ADOPTED THE PRACTICE AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE CONVENIENCE AND IN ORDER TO AVOID CERTAIN DUPLICATIONS OF RECORD KEEPING. WHETHER IT WOULD BE PRACTICABLE FOR THIS DEPARTMENT TO COMPLY WITH THE REQUEST CONTAINED IN YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 17TH WOULD DEPEND UPON THE CHARACTER OF THE INFORMATION WHICH YOU HAVE IN MIND.

IN VIEW OF THE LARGE VOLUME OF WORK WHICH MUST BE HANDLED DAILY, AND THE ADDITIONAL BURDEN WHICH WOULD BE IMPOSED UPON THIS DEPARTMENT, IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW HOW YOUR PROPOSAL WOULD WORK IN PRACTICE. THIS DEPARTMENT, OF COURSE, IS DESIROUS OF EXTENDING ITS FULLEST COOPERATION, CONSISTENT WITH THE NEED FOR ORDERLY AND ECONOMICAL PROCESSING OF ITS WARRANTS. THEREFORE, IF YOU CARE TO ADVISE THE DEPARTMENT MORE FULLY WITH RESPECT TO THE PROCEDURE WHICH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE PROPOSES TO FOLLOW IN THE HANDLING AND CONSIDERATION OF COVERING WARRANTS INVOLVING COUNTER-ENTRIES OR DEBIT VOUCHERS, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WILL BE GLAD TO GIVE THE MATTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION.

SPECIFICALLY, MY LETTER OF JANUARY 17, 1938, AFTER DESCRIBING THE PARTICULAR WARRANT INVOLVED AND CALLING YOUR ATTENTION TO CERTAIN COUNTER- ENTRIES APPEARING THEREON, CONCLUDED AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS NOT CLEAR FROM THE NOTATIONS ON THE WARRANT WHAT RELATIONSHIP THE COUNTER-ENTRIES HAVE TO AMOUNTS COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AND, IN ORDER THAT THE WARRANT MAY BE PROPERLY CONSIDERED, IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS OFFICE BE ADVISED THE PURPOSE OF THE SAID ENTRIES.

IN THIS CONNECTION, SEE LETTER OF THE FORMER COMPTROLLER GENERAL DATED DECEMBER 14, 1934, A-57790.

IN THE EVENT THE WARRANT HEREWITH SHOULD BE RESUBMITTED FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION IT IS REQUESTED IT BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE NECESSARY INFORMATION.

IT WOULD APPEAR FROM THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER, SUPRA, THAT COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUEST CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED PORTION OF MY LETTER OF JANUARY 17, 1938,"DEPENDS UPON THE CHARACTER OF THE INFORMATION WHICH YOU (I) HAVE IN MIND.' YOU MAY BE ADVISED THAT THE INFORMATION WHICH I HAD IN MIND WAS SUCH AS THAT EMBODIED GENERALLY IN LETTER DATED DECEMBER 14, 1934, A-57790 FROM MY PREDECESSOR TO YOU, TO WHICH LETTER YOUR ATTENTION WAS SPECIALLY CALLED IN MY LETTER OF JANUARY 17. THE SAID LETTER OF DECEMBER 14, 1934, CONCLUDED IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

SINCE AS A RULE THE "COUNTER-ENTRY" OR "SPECIAL ENTRY" IS IN EFFECT A REDUCTION OF THE AMOUNT DEPOSITED SO THAT THE AMOUNT OF A CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT, OR A PART THEREOF, IS NOT COVERED INTO THE TREASURY, SUCH AMOUNT BEING WITHHELD FOR OTHER DISPOSITION, AS APPEARS FROM STATEMENTS MADE BY THE TREASURY WITH RESPECT TO SEVERAL SUCH ENTRIES, THE FACTS BELIEVED TO JUSTIFY SUCH ACTION--- WITHHOLDING FROM COVERING--- SHOULD BE MADE OF RECORD IN THIS OFFICE WHEN THE WARRANTS ON WHICH SUCH ENTRIES APPEAR ARE SUBMITTED HERE FOR CONSIDERATION AND ACTION.

* * * BUT HEREAFTER, ALL SUCH ENTRIES SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY COPIES OF SUCH EXECUTED FORM AS IS ISSUED BY THE TREASURY TO AUTHORIZE THE ENTRY, ACCOMPANIED BY SUCH INFORMATION AND DATA AS MAY CONSTITUTE THE BASIS FOR THE TREASURY TAKING SUCH ACTION.

IN MY PREDECESSOR'S LETTER OF DECEMBER 14, 1934, ABOVE QUOTED IN PART, IT WAS STATED THAT THE ITEMS THERE IN QUESTION WERE SIMILAR TO THOSE INVOLVED IN A PRIOR LETTER OF DECEMBER 6, 1934, A-57790, TO YOU, IN WHICH REQUEST WAS THERE MADE AS FOLLOWS:

HEREAFTER, HOWEVER, IN ORDER THAT THIS OFFICE MAY BE IN A POSITION TO READILY IDENTIFY AND VERIFY ITEMS OF THE CHARACTER HERE INVOLVED AND THEREBY EXPEDITE ACTION IN THE COUNTERSIGNING OF SUCH COVERING WARRANTS, AND TO OTHERWISE COMPLETE THE RECORDS HERE, IT IS REQUESTED THAT ALL SO- CALLED DEBIT VOUCHER ENTRIES APPEARING ON COVERING WARRANTS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR COUNTERSIGNATURE BE SUPPORTED BY COPIES OF DEBIT VOUCHERS (FORM 5504) WHICH, AS THE LETTER, SUPRA, STATES ARE PREPARED IN CONNECTION WITH ALL SUCH ENTRIES.

SEE ALSO, MY LETTERS TO YOU DATED JANUARY 7, 1938, A-91652; JANUARY 8, 1938, A-91651; JANUARY 8, 1938, A-91650; JANUARY 13, 1938, A-91770; AND JANUARY 28, AND FEBRUARY 8 AND 14, 1938, A-92170, INVOLVING SO CALLED "COUNTER-ENTRIES," AND LETTERS DATED FEBRUARY 15, 17, AND 21, AND MARCH 1, 1938, A-92170, INVOLVING "DEBIT VOUCHERS" ENTRIES.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE COUNTER-ENTRIES OF THE CLASS HERE IN QUESTION ARE NOT IN ANY WISE EXPLAINED IN THE WARRANTS, OR IN ANY APPENDAGES THERETO, IT MUST BE APPARENT THAT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO SPECIFY PRECISELY THE CHARACTER OF THE INFORMATION WHICH IS NECESSARY TO EXPLAIN THE COUNTER-ENTRIES OTHER THAN IN THE TERMS AS COVERED IN MY PREDECESSOR'S LETTERS OF DECEMBER 6, AND 14, 1934, SUPRA. THE CHARACTER OF THE INFORMATION REQUIRED MUST OF NECESSITY DEPEND UPON THE CHARACTER AND NATURE OF EACH PARTICULAR COUNTER-ENTRY, THE FACTS AS TO WHICH SHOULD BE, AND UNQUESTIONABLY ARE, BEFORE YOUR DEPARTMENT AT THE TIME THE WARRANT CONTAINING SUCH COUNTER-ENTRY IS BEING PREPARED.

IT MUST BE CLEAR THAT THERE IS NO PURPOSE HERE TO REQUIRE ANY UNNECESSARY INFORMATION. THIS OFFICE REQUIRES ONLY SUCH EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS AS THE LAW REQUIRES AND/OR AS MAY BE ESSENTIAL TO A PROPER DETERMINATION OF ANY ITEM OR STATEMENT CONTAINED IN THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRING COUNTERSIGNATURE BY THIS OFFICE. WHEN ENTRIES OF THE CLASS IN QUESTION HERE HAVE THE EFFECT OF REDUCING AMOUNTS PREVIOUSLY COVERED INTO THE TREASURY, OR AMOUNTS PROPOSED TO BE COVERED, THEY MUST APPEAR ON COVERING WARRANTS, AND THE EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF SUCH ACTION MUST NECESSARILY BE MADE OF RECORD HERE IN ORDER THAT THE WARRANTS MAY BE GIVEN PROPER CONSIDERATION. IN CASES WHERE THE ENTIRES DO NOT AFFECT ANY AMOUNT COVERED INTO THE TREASURY, SUCH ENTRIES ARE, OF COURSE, NOT REQUIRED TO BE SHOWN ON A COVERING WARRANT, BUT IF SO SHOWN, THEY SHOULD BE EXPLAINED. OTHERWISE, THEIR PURPORT WOULD NOT BE UNDERSTOOD AND FOR THAT REASON COUNTERSIGNATURE OF THE WARRANT WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED. IT IS ONLY WHEN SUCH EVIDENCE IS SUBMITTED WITH THE DOCUMENTS ON WHICH THE ENTRIES APPEAR THAT THEY CAN BE HANDLED IN AN ECONOMICAL, EXPEDITIOUS, LEGAL, AND ORDERLY MANNER.

I FULLY APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 147 AND 31 U.S.C. 495, CITED IN THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER, SUPRA, IMPOSE UPON THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY CERTAIN SPECIFIED DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS, BUT I BELIEVE YOU WILL LIKEWISE APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT THE DUTY COMMITTED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 76--- REQUIRING, IN PART, ALL WARRANTS TO BE COUNTERSIGNED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE--- IS NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD AS REQUIRING MERELY THE PERFORMANCE OF A PERFUNCTORY DUTY AS SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN ASSUMED BY YOUR DEPARTMENT.

IT MUST BE EMPHASIZED IN THIS CONNECTION THAT THE DELAY IN THE COVERING WARRANTS HERETOFORE, AND OTHERS NOW IN PROCESS OF BEING SUBMISSION OF THE EVIDENCE REQUESTED IN SUPPORT OF ITEMS APPEARING ON RETURNED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, IS CAUSING NOT ONLY INTERRUPTION IN THE ORDERLY FLOW OF SUCH WARRANTS BUT ALSO DELAY IN THE HANDLING OF APPROPRIATION AND TRANSFER AND COUNTER WARRANTS, AND REQUISITIONS; AND SUCH DELAY NECESSARILY AFFECTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES CONCERNED.

I FULLY APPRECIATE THE DEPARTMENT'S EXPRESSED DESIRE OF EXTENDING ITS FULLEST COOPERATION IN THIS MATTER, AND I FEEL THAT UPON THE BASIS OF WHAT HAS BEEN STATED HEREIN THERE WILL BE PROMPTLY FURNISHED THE INFORMATION SUCH AS CALLED FOR IN MY LETTER OF JANUARY 17, 1938, AND OTHERS OF LIKE NATURE, CITED HEREIN, AND THAT HEREAFTER SUCH INFORMATION AS MAY BE REQUIRED FOR A PROPER CONSIDERATION OF THE ENTRIES IN QUESTION WILL APPEAR ON OR ACCOMPANY THE WARRANTS ON WHICH THEY APPEAR.