B-126095, MAR. 7, 1956

B-126095: Mar 7, 1956

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TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 15. IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14. THAT YOUR DEPARTMENT DOES NOT BELIEVE INDIAN TRIBAL FUNDS ARE WITHIN THOSE CONTEMPLATED BY THE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 1311 OF THE CITED ACT AND IT IS THEREFORE SUGGESTED THAT PARAGRAPH 9 (F) OF ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS MEMORANDUM NO. 35. THERE IS HEREBY APPROPRIATED $3. IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15. THAT THE FOREGOING IS NOT AN APPROPRIATION OF ADDITIONAL MONEYS. IS MERELY AN AUTHORIZATION OF AN AMOUNT THAT MAY BE EXPENDED FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDIANS FROM FUNDS TO THEIR CREDIT AND BELONGING TO THEM. CONTROL OF EXPENDITURES IS BY ALLOTMENT ADVICES MADE BY THE CENTRAL OFFICE OF THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS NOT TO EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE AUTHORIZATION.

B-126095, MAR. 7, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 15, 1955, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, CONCERNING LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12, 1955, FROM OUR DIRECTOR OF AUDITS INDICATING THAT THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS ON THE STATUS OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS AS OF JUNE 30, 1954, UNDER SECTION 1311 OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, 68 STAT. 830, SHOULD INCLUDE INDIAN TRUST FUND APPROPRIATIONS, REFERENCE BEING MADE TO PARAGRAPH 9 (F) OF ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS MEMORANDUM NO. 35, DATED SEPTEMBER 3, 1954.

IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, THAT YOUR DEPARTMENT DOES NOT BELIEVE INDIAN TRIBAL FUNDS ARE WITHIN THOSE CONTEMPLATED BY THE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 1311 OF THE CITED ACT AND IT IS THEREFORE SUGGESTED THAT PARAGRAPH 9 (F) OF ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS MEMORANDUM NO. 35, WHICH REQUIRES THE SUBMISSION OF REPORTS FOR TRUST FUND ACCOUNTS ON WHICH CONGRESS TAKES ANNUAL ACTION, SUCH AS ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE LIMITATIONS, BE CLARIFIED IN THIS RESPECT.

THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, 67 STAT. 261, 264, CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISION UNDER THE HEADING "TRIBAL FUNDS" SIMILAR TO THAT APPEARING ANNUALLY IN PRIOR APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE DEPARTMENT:

"IN ADDITION TO THE TRIBAL FUNDS AUTHORIZED TO BE EXPENDED BY EXISTING LAW, THERE IS HEREBY APPROPRIATED $3,040,000 FROM TRIBAL FUNDS NOT OTHERWISE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDIANS AND INDIAN TRIBES, * * *.'

IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15, 1955, THAT THE FOREGOING IS NOT AN APPROPRIATION OF ADDITIONAL MONEYS, BUT IS MERELY AN AUTHORIZATION OF AN AMOUNT THAT MAY BE EXPENDED FOR THE BENEFIT OF INDIANS FROM FUNDS TO THEIR CREDIT AND BELONGING TO THEM, NOT COVERED BY EXISTING AUTHORIZATION OF LAW. THIS AUTHORIZATION DOES NOT EFFECT ANY ONE TRIBAL FUND BUT APPLIES TO THE VARIOUS AND SUNDRY TRIBAL FUNDS ON DEPOSIT WITH THE TREASURY IN APPROXIMATELY 400 ACCOUNTS. CONTROL OF EXPENDITURES IS BY ALLOTMENT ADVICES MADE BY THE CENTRAL OFFICE OF THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS NOT TO EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE AUTHORIZATION. FOR ANNUAL BUDGET PURPOSES, OBLIGATIONS ARE REPORTED SEPARATELY UNDER THE FOREGOING AUTHORIZATION AS WELL AS THOSE UNDER PERMANENT AND INDEFINITE AUTHORIZATIONS, WHICH AMOUNTS ARE OBTAINED FROM RECORDS IN THE VARIOUS ACCOUNTING OFFICES AT THE TIME THE BUDGET IS PREPARED. IT IS THE VIEW OF YOUR DEPARTMENT THAT TO REQUIRE REPORTS UNDER SECTION 1311 FOR TRIBAL FUNDS WOULD NECESSITATE THE ESTABLISHING OF MORE ELABORATE ACCOUNTING RECORDS AND CONTROLS WITHOUT A JUSTIFIABLE GAIN, PARTICULARLY SINCE IT IS FELT THAT OBLIGATIONS AGAINST TRIBAL FUNDS ARE NOT WITHIN THE INTENT OF SECTION 1311, SUCH OBLIGATIONS BEING CONSIDERED THOSE OF THE VARIOUS INDIAN TRIBES RATHER THAN OF THE GOVERNMENT.

FROM ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, IT APPEARS CLEAR THAT THE PURPOSE OF SECTION 1311 WAS TO PROVIDE THE CONGRESS WITH ACCURATE INFORMATION ON OBLIGATIONS AND CARRY-OVER BALANCES SO THAT A REALISTIC BASIS WOULD BE PROVIDED FOR DETERMINING APPROPRIATION NEEDS. THIS OBJECTIVE HAS LITTLE SIGNIFICANCE WITH RESPECT TO TRIBAL FUNDS FOR THE REASON THAT THE PURPOSES TO BE ACCOMPLISHED WITH SUCH FUNDS REPRESENT THE FULFILLMENT BY THE UNITED STATES OF TREATY AND OTHER FIRM OBLIGATIONS TO THE SEVERAL INDIAN TRIBES FOR THE USE OF THEIR OWN FUNDS FOR THEIR EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT. IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT SECTION 3736, REVISED STATUTES, PROHIBITING PURCHASE OF LAND "ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT UNDER A LAW AUTHORIZING SUCH PURCHASE" DOES NOT APPLY TO PURCHASES OF LAND CHARGEABLE TO TRIBAL FUNDS SINCE SUCH PURCHASERS ARE NOT "ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNITED STATES.' 5 COMP. GEN. 661. VIEWED IN A SIMILAR LIGHT, AND CONSIDERING THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF SECTION 1311, OBLIGATIONS OF INDIAN TRIBES CHARGEABLE TO INDIAN TRIBAL FUNDS WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE OBLIGATIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES SUCH AS CONTEMPLATED TO BE REPORTED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1311. ACCORDINGLY, THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 9 (F) OF ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS MEMORANDUM NO. 35 WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED AS APPLICABLE TO INDIAN TRIBAL FUNDS.