B-13685, JANUARY 3, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 345

B-13685: Jan 3, 1941

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - HIRE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES - REGULATION RESTRICTION - EVIDENCE OF COMPLIANCE AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT OF CHARGES FOR THE HIRE OF A SPECIAL CONVEYANCE MUST FURNISH A POSITIVE STATEMENT WHETHER OR NOT IT WAS HIRED FROM A PERSON OF A CLASS ( GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. FROM WHICH SUCH HIRE IS PROHIBITED BY PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS EXCEPT UNDER THE CONDITIONS STATED THEREIN. 1941: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 23. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY SHOWING THAT THE CONVEYANCE WAS NOT SO PROCURED BECAUSE OF SUCH PERSONAL OR OFFICIAL RELATIONSHIP.

B-13685, JANUARY 3, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 345

TRAVELING EXPENSES - HIRE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES - REGULATION RESTRICTION - EVIDENCE OF COMPLIANCE AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT OF CHARGES FOR THE HIRE OF A SPECIAL CONVEYANCE MUST FURNISH A POSITIVE STATEMENT WHETHER OR NOT IT WAS HIRED FROM A PERSON OF A CLASS ( GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, ETC.) FROM WHICH SUCH HIRE IS PROHIBITED BY PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS EXCEPT UNDER THE CONDITIONS STATED THEREIN, EVEN THOUGH SAID PARAGRAPH DOES NOT EXPRESSLY REQUIRE SUCH A STATEMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 3, 1941:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 23, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"CHARGES FOR THE HIRE OF A CONVEYANCE OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, OF A MEMBER OF THE TRAVELER'S FAMILY, OR OF A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY SHOWING THAT THE CONVEYANCE WAS NOT SO PROCURED BECAUSE OF SUCH PERSONAL OR OFFICIAL RELATIONSHIP; THAT IT WAS IMPRACTICABLE TO OTHERWISE PROCURE, AND THAT THE MEMBER OF THE FAMILY SO FURNISHING WAS NOT DEPENDENT UPON THE TRAVELER FOR SUPPORT. THE MATERIAL FACTS SHOULD BE REPORTED IN THE ACCOUNT.'

IT HAS BEEN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THIS DEPARTMENT THAT THE ABOVE QUOTED PARAGRAPH DOES NOT REQUIRE AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS HIRED AN AUTOMOBILE AND WHO CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH HIRE TO STATE IN EACH INSTANCE THAT THE AUTOMOBILE WAS NOT HIRED FROM ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, FROM A MEMBER OF THE TRAVELER'S FAMILY, OR FROM A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, BUT THAT IT DOES REQUIRE THAT THE EXPLANATION PROVIDED FOR THEREIN MUST BE GIVEN IN EACH INSTANCE WHERE A CONVEYANCE WAS HIRED FROM ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, FROM A MEMBER OF THE TRAVELER'S FAMILY, OR FROM A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE AND THE TRAVELER IS CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR.

INVESTIGATOR ASHTON BARKSDALE OF THIS OFFICE RECENTLY SUBMITTED HIS REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 5 TO OCTOBER 12, 1940, BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 8884, SCHEDULE NO. 6122-41. IN THIS VOUCHER, MR. BARKSDALE CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE RENTAL OF AUTOMOBILES USED BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. A PRE-AUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT WAS ISSUED ON NOVEMBER 1, 1940, SUSPENDING THE ITEMS OF AUTOMOBILE HIRE FOR THE REASON THAT "STATEMENT IS REQUIRED SHOWING WHETHER THE PERSONS FROM WHOM THE CARS WERE HIRED ARE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OR MEMBERS OF THE TRAVELER'S FAMILY.'

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT MANY ITEMS COVERING THE RENTAL OF AUTOMOBILES HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHERS AND APPROVED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHOUT ANY MORE INFORMATION THAN THAT SUBMITTED BY MR. BARKSDALE, AND, ALTHOUGH HE WILL RECLAIM THE SUSPENDED ITEMS, THE DEPARTMENT WILL APPRECIATE ADVICE FROM YOU AS TO WHETHER OUR INTERPRETATION OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH 11 (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS OUTLINED ABOVE IS CORRECT.

WHILE THE QUOTED REGULATION DOES NOT EXPRESSLY REQUIRE AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS HIRED AN AUTOMOBILE AND WHO CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH HIRE TO STATE IN EACH INSTANCE THAT THE AUTOMOBILE WAS NOT HIRED FROM ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, FROM A MEMBER OF THE TRAVELER'S FAMILY, OR FROM A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, YET THE FURNISHING OF SUCH A STATEMENT IS CONSISTENT WITH THE PLAIN PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE REGULATION. WHEN THERE IS NOTHING ON THE RECEIPT OR OTHERWISE WITH THE VOUCHER TO INDICATE WHETHER THE PERSON FROM WHOM THE CONVEYANCE WAS HIRED IS, OR IS NOT, A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, ETC., THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ASSUMING OR PRESUMING THAT SUCH PERSON IS NOT A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, ETC. THE MERE OMISSION OF SUCH FACT OR SILENCE IN RESPECT OF THE INHIBITION APPEARING IN THE QUOTED REGULATION MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED AS ESTABLISHING THAT THE HIRING DOES NOT CONTRAVENE THE REGULATION. THE PLAIN PURPOSE OF THE REGULATION IS TO PRECLUDE THE ALLOWANCE OF CHARGES FOR THE HIRE OF A CONVEYANCE OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, ETC., UNLESS THE CONDITIONS REFERRED TO THEREIN ARE SHOWN TO EXIST. WHERE NOTHING IS SHOWN WITH RESPECT TO SUCH CONDITIONS, THE FACT THAT THE HIRING DOES NOT CONTRAVENE THE REGULATION SHOULD BE SHOWN BY A POSITIVE STATEMENT, THUS LEAVING NOTHING TO PRESUMPTION, ASSUMPTION, OR INFERENCE.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS OFFICE IS UNABLE TO CONCUR IN THE VIEW OR UNDERSTANDING SET FORTH IN THE FIRST PART OF THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, AND THAT IN ALL SUCH CASES THE TRAVELER WILL BE REQUIRED TO STATE WHETHER THE PERSON FROM WHOM THE CONVEYANCE WAS HIRED IS, OR IS NOT, A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, ETC., AND IF IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, TO MAKE THE SHOWING REQUIRED BY THE REGULATION IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH THAT THE CHARGE MADE FOR SUCH HIRE IS PROPERLY ALLOWABLE.

THE RECORDS OF THIS OFFICE NOW SHOW THAT MR. BARKSDALE HAS RECLAIMED THE QUESTIONED ITEMS AND IN DOING SO HAS MADE THE AFFIRMATIVE STATEMENT ON THE VOUCHER THAT " THE PERSONS FROM WHOM THE AUTOMOBILES IN QUESTION WERE HIRED WERE NOT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, OR MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY.' IN VIEW OF THAT STATEMENT THE ITEMS NOW WILL BE ALLOWED THROUGH THE USUAL PREAUDIT CHANNELS.