B-119941, JULY 27, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 44

B-119941: Jul 27, 1954

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EXCEPT WHEN UNAVAILABLE OR WHEN SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NECESSARY FOR SECURITY REASONS. EVEN THOUGH PRIVACY IS ESSENTIAL TO THE PROPER PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES. 1954: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MAY 3. IN TRAVELING TO THE JUDICIAL HEARINGS IS EXPLAINED AS HAVING BEEN NECESSARY TO OBTAIN THE PRIVACY REQUIRED FOR THE PROPER REVIEW AND STUDY OF THE CASES SET FOR HEARING. ARE NOT UNCOMMON IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE FUNCTION OF THE TAX DIVISION. THE VIEW IS ADVANCED THAT THE CLAIM OF MR. SUCH ALLOWANCES SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRANSPORTATION UNLESS IT IS CERTIFIED. THAT LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE.

B-119941, JULY 27, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 44

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST CLASS LIMITATION - SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS PARAGRAPH 13 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS LIMITS THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR NIGHT TRAVELING EXPENSES TO THE COST OF A STANDARD LOWER BERTH, EXCEPT WHEN UNAVAILABLE OR WHEN SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NECESSARY FOR SECURITY REASONS, AND THEREFORE AN EMPLOYEE WHO OBTAINS PRIVATE, SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS WHILE TRAVELING TO AN ASSIGNMENT WHICH REQUIRES PREPARATORY WORK EN ROUTE, MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED THE EXCESS COSTS, EVEN THOUGH PRIVACY IS ESSENTIAL TO THE PROPER PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JULY 27, 1954:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MAY 3, 1954, FILE A3, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH, IN FAVOR OF MR. S. DEE HANSON, AN ATTORNEY WITH THE TAX DIVISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, MAY BE PAID UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED.

THE VOUCHER, IN THE AMOUNT OF $17.48, INVOLVES A RECLAIM OF THE ADDITIONAL COSTS ADMINISTRATIVELY DISALLOWED FOR THE USE OF PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS SUPERIOR TO THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS IN TRAVELING FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO DENVER, COLORADO, DURING JANUARY 1954, FOR THE PURPOSE OF HANDLING SEVERAL FEDERAL TAX CASES BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE 10TH CIRCUIT IN DENVER.

THE USE BY MR. HANSON OF SUPERIOR PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS, ROOMETTE AND BEDROOM, IN TRAVELING TO THE JUDICIAL HEARINGS IS EXPLAINED AS HAVING BEEN NECESSARY TO OBTAIN THE PRIVACY REQUIRED FOR THE PROPER REVIEW AND STUDY OF THE CASES SET FOR HEARING--- CIRCUMSTANCES MAKING NECESSARY THE UTILIZATION OF THE ENTIRE TRAVEL TIME FOR THE FINAL PREPARATORY WORK. FURTHER APPEARS THAT SITUATIONS SIMILAR TO THAT HERE INVOLVED, NECESSITATING THE USE OF SUPERIOR PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS, ARE NOT UNCOMMON IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE FUNCTION OF THE TAX DIVISION; AND THE VIEW IS ADVANCED THAT THE CLAIM OF MR. HANSON, AND SIMILAR CLAIMS, SHOULD BE ALLOWED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS GENERALLY DEFINING REIMBURSABLE TRAVELING EXPENSES.

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 31, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AN ECONOMY MEASURE, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 806, READS AS FOLLOWS:

WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION MAY BE ALLOWED, SUCH ALLOWANCES SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRANSPORTATION UNLESS IT IS CERTIFIED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, THAT LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF SECURITY.

REGULATIONS SUPPLEMENTING SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF 1933, AS AMENDED, ARE CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 13 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SUBPARAGRAPH A (1) OF THE LATTER, RELATIVE TO TRAIN ACCOMMODATIONS, PRESCRIBES THE USE OF A STANDARD LOWER BERTH WHEN NIGHT TRAVEL IS INVOLVED AND, ALSO, PROVIDES FOR THE USE OF SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS IN THE TWO INSTANCES AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF 1933, NAMELY, (1) WHEN LOWER BERTHS ARE NOT AVAILABLE, AND (2) WHEN SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NECESSARY FOR SECURITY REASONS. PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, MENTIONED ABOVE, LIMITS THE SCOPE OF REIMBURSABLE TRAVELING EXPENSES "TO THOSE EXPENSES ESSENTIAL TO THE TRANSACTING OF THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS.' APPARENTLY, THE VIEW IS ENTERTAINED THAT PARAGRAPHS 2 AND 13 OF THE REGULATIONS ARE IN CONFLICT. HOWEVER, UPON THEIR BEING READ TOGETHER, THE ONE SETTING FORTH OF A GENERAL CONCEPT OF REIMBURSABLE TRAVELING EXPENSES, THE OTHER BEING SPECIFIC AS TO THE TRAVEL ACCOMMODATIONS TO BE USED, THE CONCLUSION IS INESCAPABLE THAT PARAGRAPH 13 MERELY AUGMENTS, OR DEFINES, THE CONCEPT OF REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES OF PARAGRAPH 2 IN ITS APPLICATION TO TRAVEL ACCOMMODATIONS.

WHILE IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT THE CLAIM OF MR. HANSON IS NOT WITHOUT MERIT, THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF 1933 AND THE REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 13 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC AND MAY NOT BE ENLARGED BY CONSTRUCTION. HENCE, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE CLAIM OF MR. HANSON AND SIMILAR CLAIMS NOT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF EITHER OF THE TWO EXCEPTIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF 1933, ARE NOT FOR ALLOWANCE. SEE 33 COMP. GEN. 222; B-80637, JANUARY 10, 1949.