B-122510, MARCH 11, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 438

B-122510: Mar 11, 1955

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WITNESSES WHO ARE CALLED BY DEFENDANTS. 1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 5. WHOSE PRESENCE IS DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY TO THE PROPER DISPOSITION OF SECURITY CASES PENDING BEFORE YOUR ADMINISTRATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE PERSONNEL SECURITY PROGRAM. THE PERSONNEL SECURITY PROGRAM OF YOUR ADMINISTRATION WAS ESTABLISHED BY GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 152. WHICH WAS ISSUED PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF AUGUST 26. NEITHER THAT ACT NOR ANY OTHER LAW OF WHICH WE ARE AWARE EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZES THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION TO SUBPOENA WITNESSES OR PAY THE EXPENSES OF THEIR TRAVEL INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT SECURITY HEARINGS.

B-122510, MARCH 11, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 438

TRAVELING EXPENSES - WITNESSES - SECURITY AND LOYALTY HEARINGS - GOVERNMENT LIABILITY IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY TRAVELING EXPENSES MAY NOT BE PAID TO GOVERNMENT WITNESSES, AND WITNESSES WHO ARE CALLED BY DEFENDANTS, IN CONNECTION WITH ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS PURSUANT TO PERSONNEL SECURITY PROGRAMS ESTABLISHED UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 26, 1950.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, MARCH 11, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 5, 1955, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION HAS THE AUTHORITY TO PAY THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF GOVERNMENT WITNESSES, AND WITNESSES WHICH THE DEFENDANTS MAY CALL, WHOSE PRESENCE IS DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY TO THE PROPER DISPOSITION OF SECURITY CASES PENDING BEFORE YOUR ADMINISTRATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE PERSONNEL SECURITY PROGRAM.

THE PERSONNEL SECURITY PROGRAM OF YOUR ADMINISTRATION WAS ESTABLISHED BY GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 152, DATED NOVEMBER 19, 1953, WHICH WAS ISSUED PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF AUGUST 26, 1950, 64 STAT. 476, AND EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10450, APRIL 27, 1953, AS AMENDED.

WHILE, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, THE SECOND PROVISO OF SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 26, 1950, 64 STAT. 476, PROVIDES FOR THE HOLDING OF HEARINGS AT THE REQUEST OF EMPLOYEES PRIOR TO THE DETERMINATION OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT FOR SECURITY REASONS, NEITHER THAT ACT NOR ANY OTHER LAW OF WHICH WE ARE AWARE EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZES THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION TO SUBPOENA WITNESSES OR PAY THE EXPENSES OF THEIR TRAVEL INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT SECURITY HEARINGS. SECTION 10 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 808, 809, PROVIDES, IN EFFECT, THAT THE SAME FEES AND MILEAGE PAYABLE TO WITNESSES APPEARING BEFORE UNITED STATES COURTS ARE PAYABLE TO WITNESSES ATTENDING HEARINGS CONDUCTED BY ANY DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO HOLD HEARINGS AND SUBPOENA WITNESSES. HOWEVER, THE BENEFITS PROVIDED BY THIS SECTION CLEARLY ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO WITNESSES APPEARING AT SECURITY HEARINGS HELD IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF AUGUST 26, 1950, SINCE THERE IS NO POWER TO SUBPOENA WITNESSES IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH HEARINGS.

IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT THERE IS SOME MERIT TO THE VIEW THAT, WHILE WITNESSES ATTENDING SECURITY HEARINGS ARE NOT ENTITLED AS A MATTER OF RIGHT TO FEES AND MILEAGE, THEY SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH ATTENDANCE AT SUCH HEARINGS WHENEVER THEIR PRESENCE IS DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY. HOWEVER, IN ADDITION TO THE FACT THAT WE KNOW OF NO PROVISION OF LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES TO WITNESSES ATTENDING SECURITY HEARINGS, THE ADOPTION OF SUCH A VIEW WOULD PRESENT PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES. THE FACT THAT NO STANDARDS HAVE BEEN PRESCRIBED BY THE CONGRESS GOVERNING THE CHARACTER AND AMOUNT OF REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES COULD LEAD ONLY TO UNCERTAINTY AND CONFUSION. THE SECURITY PROGRAM AND THE LOYALTY PROGRAM WHICH IS SUPERSEDED HAVE BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND INSOFAR AS WE ARE AWARE HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED UPON THE BASIS THAT NO AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR REIMBURSING WITNESSES ATTENDING HEARINGS. IN VIEW THEREOF, WE PERCEIVE OF NO URGENCY AT THE PRESENT TIME WHICH WOULD JUSTIFY THIS OFFICE IN ASSUMING THE FUNCTIONS OR PREROGATIVES OF THE CONGRESS.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT EXPENSES OF WITNESSES ATTENDING SECURITY HEARINGS MAY NOT BE PAID IN THE ABSENCE OF CONGRESSIONAL ACTION.