B-131240, APR. 30, 1957

B-131240: Apr 30, 1957

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STATIONERY ALLOWANCES FOR SENATORS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED IN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS SINCE THE YEAR 1868. CONTROL OF STATIONERY ALLOWANCES IS MAINTAINED THROUGH INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS KEPT IN THE STATIONERY ROOM OF THE AMOUNTS ALLOTTED TO EACH SENATOR. THESE ACCOUNTS ARE CHARGED ON THE BASIS OF ACTUAL ISSUES OF STATIONERY FROM THE STATIONERY ROOM AND WITH ANY UNUSED PORTIONS OF ALLOWANCES PAID IN CASH. IN PAST YEARS UNUSED BALANCES OF THE ALLOWANCE ALLOTMENTS NOT WITHDRAWN IN CASH AT THE END OF EACH FISCAL YEAR WERE CARRIED FORWARD IN A SENATOR'S ACCOUNT FOR USE IN SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEARS. BEGINNING WITH FISCAL YEAR 1956 A NEW PROCEDURE WAS ADOPTED AS SHOWN FROM THE FOLLOWING QUOTED EXTRACT FROM A LETTER DATED MARCH 26.

B-131240, APR. 30, 1957

TO HONORABLE JOHN J. WILLIAMS, UNITED STATES SENATE:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 22, 1957, ACKNOWLEDGED MARCH 26, CONCERNING THE UNEXPENDED OR UNUSED BALANCE IN THE STATIONERY ALLOWANCE FOR YOUR OFFICE.

STATIONERY ALLOWANCES FOR SENATORS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED IN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS SINCE THE YEAR 1868. COMMENCING WITH FISCAL YEAR 1956, THE LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1956, 69 STAT. 503, AUTHORIZES SUCH ALLOWANCES AT THE RATE OF $1,800 PER ANNUM FOR EACH SENATOR. THE STATIONERY ALLOWANCES AT THE RATE OF $1,800 PER ANNUM FOR EACH SENATOR. THE STATIONERY ALLOWANCE ALLOTTED TO EACH SENATOR MAY BE USED BY WITHDRAWAL IN KIND FROM THE STATIONERY ROOM. ANY UNUSED EARNED ALLOWANCES MAY BE WITHDRAWN IN CASH AT THE END OF EACH FISCAL YEAR OR UPON TERMINATION OF OFFICE. CONTROL OF STATIONERY ALLOWANCES IS MAINTAINED THROUGH INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS KEPT IN THE STATIONERY ROOM OF THE AMOUNTS ALLOTTED TO EACH SENATOR. THESE ACCOUNTS ARE CHARGED ON THE BASIS OF ACTUAL ISSUES OF STATIONERY FROM THE STATIONERY ROOM AND WITH ANY UNUSED PORTIONS OF ALLOWANCES PAID IN CASH. IN PAST YEARS UNUSED BALANCES OF THE ALLOWANCE ALLOTMENTS NOT WITHDRAWN IN CASH AT THE END OF EACH FISCAL YEAR WERE CARRIED FORWARD IN A SENATOR'S ACCOUNT FOR USE IN SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEARS. HOWEVER, BEGINNING WITH FISCAL YEAR 1956 A NEW PROCEDURE WAS ADOPTED AS SHOWN FROM THE FOLLOWING QUOTED EXTRACT FROM A LETTER DATED MARCH 26, 1956, TO MR. FELTON M. JOHNSTON, SECRETARY OF THE SENATE, FROM THE COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION, SIGNED BY GORDON F. HARRISON, CHIEF CLERK OF COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION, BY DIRECTION OF THE HONORABLE THEODORE FRANCIS GREEN, CHAIRMAN:

"ALSO, CARRY-OVERS OF STATIONERY BALANCES DUE A SENATOR AT THE END OF EACH FISCAL YEAR, WHICH HE WISHES TO BE APPLIED TO HIS STATIONERY ALLOWANCE FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR, SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE ENDORSEMENT OF HIS COMMUTATION CHECK TO THE KEEPER OF THE STATIONERY 6OR SUCH PURPOSE. THESE BALANCES SHALL NOT BE PLACED ON THE BOOKS OF THE KEEPER OF THE STATIONERY WITHOUT SO BEING FIRST WITHDRAWN AND THEN REAPPLIED. SUCH BALANCES ESTABLISHED IN THIS MANNER SHALL BE USED FIRST IN A SENATOR'S STATIONERY ACCOUNT BEFORE ANY DEBIT IS MADE AGAINST HIS CURRENT YEAR ALLOWANCE.'

THE QUOTED RULE PROVIDES AN IMPROVED PROCEDURE FOR THOSE SENATORS WHO WISH TO APPLY THE UNUSED BALANCES OF THEIR STATIONERY ALLOWANCES TO SUPPLEMENT THE ALLOWANCE FOR THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR. IT DOES NOT, HOWEVER, PRECLUDE A SENATOR FROM EXPRESSLY WAIVING OR RELEASING ANY INTEREST HE MAY HAVE IN SUCH UNUSED BALANCE.

IN OUR REPORT OF MARCH 12, 1957, ON THE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF THE STATIONERY ROOM, UNITED STATES SENATE, FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 5, 1955 THROUGH JUNE 30, 1956, WE CONSIDERED YOUR NONACCEPTANCE OF THE UNUSED BALANCE OF YOUR STATIONERY ALLOWANCE. IT WAS TREATED IN OUR AUDIT REPORT IN THE SAME MANNER AS SIMILAR ITEMS IN PRIOR YEARS, THAT IS, AS A REDUCTION OF THE ALLOTTED ALLOWANCES UNDER THE CAPTION, APPROPRIATIONS NOT AVAILABLE FOR FURTHER OBLIGATION. ACCORDINGLY, ANY PART OF AN ALLOTMENT WHICH EXPRESSLY IS WAIVED BY A SENATOR LAPSES BY OPERATION OF LAW, AND IN REGULAR COURSE IS DEPOSITED IN THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY.

WHILE THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE IN HIS LETTER OF MARCH 29, 1956, TO THE HONORABLE H. STYLES BRIDGES, A COPY OF WHICH WAS ENCLOSED WITH YOUR LETTER, RULED "THAT ANY UNEXPENDED FUNDS REMAINING IN THE STATIONERY ACCOUNTS OF RESPECTIVE SENATORS AT THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR ARE CONSTRUCTIVELY RECEIVED BY EACH SENATOR ON THAT DATE WHETHER OR NOT WITHDRAWN, AND ARE INCLUDIBLE IN THE GROSS INCOME SHOWN ON HIS FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURN FOR THE TAXABLE YEAR IN WHICH THAT DATE FALLS," HE APPARENTLY DID NOT CONSIDER A FACTUAL SITUATION SUCH AS YOURS, WHERE THE UNUSED BALANCE OF THE STATIONERY ALLOWANCE IS EXPRESSLY WAIVED AND, WHICH, BY OPERATION OF LAW, LAPSES AND IS DEPOSITED IN THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY.

IN ANSWER TO YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTION AS TO WHETHER YOU ARE CORRECT IN INSISTING THAT THE UNUSED BALANCE OF YOUR STATIONERY ALLOWANCE OF OF ANY OTHER ALLOWANCE FURNISHED FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF YOUR OFFICE SHOULD REVERT TO THE FEDERAL TREASURY, OUR CONCLUSION IS THAT IF THESE UNUSED BALANCES ARE EXPRESSLY WAIVED BY YOU, THEY REVERT TO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY BY OPERATION OF LAW.