B-111248, AUGUST 11, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 87

B-111248: Aug 11, 1952

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SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - PLACE AT WHICH REGULAR DUTIES ARE PERFORMED AS CONSTITUTING HEADQUARTERS A SENATE COMMITTEE EMPLOYEE IN WASHINGTON WHO MAINTAINS A RESIDENCE IN PHILADELPHIA TO WHICH HE TRAVELS FOR PERSONAL REASONS BUT WHO PERFORMS ALL. HAS AN OFFICIAL STATION IN THE LATTER CITY AND IS NOT ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AT EITHER PLACE OR TO TRAVELING EXPENSES OR COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR SUCH TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND PHILADELPHIA. IF THE EMPLOYEE WERE EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND "STATIONED" IN PHILADELPHIA WHILE DETAILED ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS TO A SENATE COMMITTEE IN WASHINGTON. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7. AS FOLLOWS: THE PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF THIS EMPLOYEE IS PHILADELPHIA.

B-111248, AUGUST 11, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 87

TRAVELING EXPENSES; SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - PLACE AT WHICH REGULAR DUTIES ARE PERFORMED AS CONSTITUTING HEADQUARTERS A SENATE COMMITTEE EMPLOYEE IN WASHINGTON WHO MAINTAINS A RESIDENCE IN PHILADELPHIA TO WHICH HE TRAVELS FOR PERSONAL REASONS BUT WHO PERFORMS ALL, OR SUBSTANTIALLY ALL, OF HIS DUTIES IN WASHINGTON, HAS AN OFFICIAL STATION IN THE LATTER CITY AND IS NOT ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AT EITHER PLACE OR TO TRAVELING EXPENSES OR COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR SUCH TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND PHILADELPHIA; ALSO, IF THE EMPLOYEE WERE EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND "STATIONED" IN PHILADELPHIA WHILE DETAILED ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS TO A SENATE COMMITTEE IN WASHINGTON, HIS DUTY STATION, AS A MATTER OF FACT, WOULD STILL BE WASHINGTON, AND THEREFORE, HE WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO SAID PER DIEM AND TRAVELING EXPENSES. IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR, APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF A GOVERNMENT AGENCY MAY NOT BE USED TO PAY THE SALARIES OF EMPLOYEES APPOINTED FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF DETAILING THEIR SERVICES TO A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE. SEE 21 COMP. GEN. 1055.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO GEORGE F. THOMPSON, U.S. SENATE, AUGUST 11, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7, 1952, PRESENTING FOR AN OPINION CERTAIN QUESTIONS CONCERNING A PRESENT EMPLOYEE OF A SENATE COMMITTEE, AS FOLLOWS:

THE PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF THIS EMPLOYEE IS PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. IS HE ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ? IS HE ENTITLED TO A SIMILAR ALLOWANCE WHILE IN PHILADELPHIA? IS HE ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES FROM WASHINGTON TO HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE ( PHILADELPHIA), AND FROM HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE TO WASHINGTON?

IN THE EVENT THAT THIS SAME PERSON WERE TO BE EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND STATIONED IN PHILADELPHIA, HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE, AND WERE DETAILED TO A SENATE COMMITTEE IN WASHINGTON, ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS, FOR PERIODS OF THREE MONTHS TO BE RENEWED AT THE REQUEST OF THE COMMITTEE, WOULD THE EMPLOYEE BE ENTITLED TO PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE IN WASHINGTON? WOULD HE BE ENTITLED TO A SIMILAR ALLOWANCE WHILE IN PHILADELPHIA? WOULD HE BE ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES FROM WASHINGTON TO HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE, AND FROM PLACE OF RESIDENCE TO WASHINGTON, SUCH TRAVEL BEING FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE?

SAID QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN THE ORDER PRESENTED:

1. FOR THE PURPOSE OF REPLYING TO THE QUESTIONS, IT IS ASSUMED THAT IN HIS PRESENT EMPLOYMENT THE EMPLOYEE REFERRED TO PERFORMS ALL, OR SUBSTANTIALLY ALL, OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THAT HE TRAVELS TO PHILADELPHIA ONLY FOR PERSONAL REASONS OR INCIDENT TO VISITING HIS HOME. IF THAT ASSUMPTION BE CORRECT, THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION AS A MATTER OF FACT IS WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THERE IS PERCEIVED NO PROPER LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH HE IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN THAT CITY, OR IN PHILADELPHIA. NEITHER IS THERE PERCEIVED A PROPER LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH HE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVELING EXPENSES OR COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND PHILADELPHIA.

2. THE OFFICIAL STATION OF AN EMPLOYEE IS A MATTER OF FACT AND NOT MERELY ONE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DESIGNATION. IT CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL OR PERMANENT DUTY STATION IS THE PLACE AT WHICH HE ACTUALLY IS STATIONED; THAT IS, THE PLACE WHERE THE EMPLOYEE EXPECTS, AND IS EXPECTED, TO SPEND THE GREATER PART OF HIS TIME. FROM THE FACTS RECITED IN YOUR SECOND QUESTION, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE EMPLOYEE IN THIS CASE WOULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO PERFORM ANY DUTY IN PHILADELPHIA AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; RATHER, HIS SERVICES WOULD BE DEVOTED FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD TO THE WORK OF A SENATE COMMITTEE. APPLYING THE ESTABLISHED RULE OF THE COURTS AND ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO THE RELATED CIRCUMSTANCES, IT REASONABLY MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT WASHINGTON, D.C., WOULD, FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS CASE, BE THE OFFICIAL OR PERMANENT DUTY STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED. SEE FIDELITY AND DEPOSIT CO. OF MARYLAND V. UNITED STATES, 55 F.2D 100; 15 COMP. GEN. 1097; 19 ID. 347; 27 COMP. GEN. 657; 31 COMP. GEN. 289; 25 COMP. GEN. 136. PARAGRAPH 46 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BE ALLOWED AN EMPLOYEE AT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION. ACCORDINGLY, ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM TO THE EMPLOYEE INCIDENT TO DUTY IN WASHINGTON WOULD BE UNAUTHORIZED. IN LINE WITH THE CONCLUSION THAT WASHINGTON WOULD BE THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION, THE ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL TO PHILADELPHIA FOR PERSONAL REASONS WOULD BE UNAUTHORIZED.

YOUR QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY, AND THE RULES FOLLOWED BY YOUR OFFICE, AS OUTLINED IN THE FOURTH PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, WOULD APPEAR TO APPLY THE LAW CORRECTLY.

IT MAY BE ADDED THAT THIS OFFICE FROM TIME TO TIME HAS HAD OCCASION TO QUESTION THE PROPRIETY OF THE APPOINTMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE BY ONE AGENCY SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETAILING HIS SERVICES TO A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE--- AN ELEMENT WHICH INFERENTIALLY IS PRESENT IN THE HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION SET FORTH IN YOUR SECOND QUESTION. SEE, IN THAT REGARD, 21 COMP. GEN. 1055, 1059.