B-138032, JAN 2, 1959

B-138032: Jan 2, 1959

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WHILE THE VOUCHERS WERE NOT SUBMITTED AT THAT TIME. SEVEN VOUCHERS WERE FORWARDED LATER PURSUANT TO OUR INFORMAL REQUEST. YOU SAY IT WAS NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE TO SECURE NORMAL LODGINGS ON A DAY -TO-DAY OR WEEK-TO-WEEK BASIS AND THAT ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE TO OBTAIN APARTMENTS FOR THE EMPLOYEES AT A COST OF $145 PER MONTH EACH. THE EMPLOYEES RETURNED TO WASHINGTON BUT WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN REFUNDS OF THE AMOUNT OF RENT PAID IN ADVANCE. THAT IS. REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR SUBSISTENCE AT NOT TO EXCEED $25 PER DAY WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED UNDER PARAGRAPH 6.12 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR THE EMPLOYEES FOR THE DAYS IN FEBRUARY ON WHICH THEY WERE IN NEW ORLEANS.

B-138032, JAN 2, 1959

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. LEROY C. MCCAULEY:

ON NOVEMBER 24, 1958, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL TRANSMITTED YOUR REQUEST AS AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR A DECISION ON THE PROPRIETY OF YOUR CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT EIGHT VOUCHERS INVOLVING TRAVEL EXPENSES AND PER DIEM OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES ON TEMPORARY DUTY AT NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, IN CONNECTION WITH THE CASE OF UNITED STATES V. UNITED FRUIT COMPANY. WHILE THE VOUCHERS WERE NOT SUBMITTED AT THAT TIME, SEVEN VOUCHERS WERE FORWARDED LATER PURSUANT TO OUR INFORMAL REQUEST.

YOU SAY THAT THE EMPLOYEES PROCEEDED TO NEW ORLEANS ABOUT JANUARY 2, 1958, WITH THE EXPECTATION THAT THEIR DUTIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE FORTHCOMING TRIAL WOULD REQUIRE THEIR PRESENCE THERE FOR ABOUT FOUR MONTHS. BECAUSE OF THE MARDI GRAS FESTIVAL WHICH WOULD OCCUR DURING THAT TIME, YOU SAY IT WAS NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE TO SECURE NORMAL LODGINGS ON A DAY -TO-DAY OR WEEK-TO-WEEK BASIS AND THAT ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE TO OBTAIN APARTMENTS FOR THE EMPLOYEES AT A COST OF $145 PER MONTH EACH. THE EMPLOYEES INDIVIDUALLY SIGNED LEASES CONTAINING A ONE MONTH NOTICE OF TERMINATION CLAUSE AS REQUIRED BY THE MANAGEMENT.

ON FEBRUARY 4, 1958, UNEXPECTEDLY, THE DEFENDENT IN THE SUIT FILED A CONSENT JUDGEMENT THUS CONCLUDING THE CASE. THE EMPLOYEES RETURNED TO WASHINGTON BUT WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN REFUNDS OF THE AMOUNT OF RENT PAID IN ADVANCE, THAT IS, FOR THE BALANCE OF FEBRUARY.

THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZED $12 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF TRAVEL. SUBSEQUENTLY, REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR SUBSISTENCE AT NOT TO EXCEED $25 PER DAY WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED UNDER PARAGRAPH 6.12 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR THE EMPLOYEES FOR THE DAYS IN FEBRUARY ON WHICH THEY WERE IN NEW ORLEANS. WE UNDERSTAND INFORMALLY THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL NOW PROPOSES TO EXTEND THAT APPROVAL TO COVER THE ENTIRE PERIOD THE TRAVELERS WERE IN NEW ORLEANS, LEAVING THE RATE OF $12 PER DIEM IN EFFECT WHILE EN ROUTE TO AND FROM NEW ORLEANS.

THE QUESTIONS INVOLVED ARE STATED AS FOLLOWS:

"A. MAY A TRAVELER BE ALLOWED: (1) $12.00 PER DIEM AND 10[ A MILE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR THE PORTION OF TRAVEL ASSIGNMENT COVERING THE TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D. C., AND (2) NOT TO EXCEED $25.00 PER DIEM FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES WHILE AT NEW ORLEANS?

"B. MAY A TRAVLER BE ALLOWED: (1) $12.00 PER DIEM AND 10[ PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED COST OF COMMON CARRIER FOR THE PORTION OF TRAVEL ASSIGNMENT COVERING THE TRIP TO NEW ORLANS AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D. C., AND (2) NOT TO EXCEED $25.00 PER DIEM FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES WHILE AT NEW ORLEANS?

"C.MAY A TRAVELER BE ALLOWED $12.00 PER DIEM WHEN USING COMMON CARRIER FOR THE PORTION OF TRAVEL ASSIGNMENT COVERING THE TRIP TO NEW ORLEANS AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D. C., AND (2) NOT TO EXCEED $25.00 PER DIEM FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES WHILE AT NEW ORLEANS?

"THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE HAVING ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED THE PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AT NOT TO EXCEED $25.00 PER DIEM, MAY THE AMOUNT OF RENTAL PAID ($290.00 PER EMPLOYEE WHO ENTERED INTO THE RENTAL AGREEMENT) BE REIMBURSED IN FULL WITHOUT REGARD TO THE NUMBER OF DAYS OF ACTUAL OCCUPANCY OF THE QUARTERS BY THE TRAVLER, OR MAY THE RENTAL BE REIMBURSED ONLY ON A PRO-RATED BASIS OF $4.92 PER DAY FOR THE NUMBER OF DAYS THE QUARTERS WERE ACTUALLY OCCUPIED BY THE TRAVELER WHILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN NEW ORLEANS?"

WE DO NOT KNOW OF ANY PROVISION OF LAW OR THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH WOULD PROHIBIT ANY OF THE COMBINATIONS DESCRIBED IN QUESTIONS A, B, AND C, IF PROPERLY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED ADMINISTRATIVELY. CONCERNING THE LAST QUESTION, WE WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO YOUR PRORATING THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF RENT PAID ($290) BY EACH EMPLOYEE OVER THE PERIOD THE EMPLOYEE OCCUPIED THE APRTMENT, FOR PURPOSES OF COMPUTING HIS DAILY COST OF LODGING. WE NOTE FROM THE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED THAT, SO COMPUTED, THE DAILY COST OF LODGING RANGES FROM ABOUT $8.50 IN SOME CASES TO $10 PER DAY.

WE NOTE, ALSO, THAT WITHOUT VARIATION EACH TRAVELER HAS CLAIMED $6 PER DAY FOR MEALS WHILE IN NEW ORLEANS WHICH FACT SUGGESTS THAT THIS FIGURE IS SOMEWHAT ARBITRARY AND MAY HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED AFTER THE FACT. ALTHOUGH THIS DAILY FIGURE OF $6 SEEMS EXCESSIVE BY ORDINARY STANDARDS AND WHILE WE DO NOT SANCTION THIS METHOD OF CLAIMING SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AS A GENERAL PRACTICE, WE WOULD RAISE NO OBJECTION IN THIS INSTANCE IF THAT IS THE FIGURE WHICH IS ACCEPTED ADMINISTRATIVELY AS HAVING BEEN ACTUALLY SPENT FOR MEALS.

THEREFORE, SUBJECT TO THE CONDITION THAT THE RECORD MUST SHOW THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE FOR A REASONABLE AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $25 PER DAY HAS BEEN PROPERLY APPROVED ADMINISTRATIVELY FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD THE TRAVELERS WERE IN NEW ORLEANS, YOU MAY CERTIFY THE VOUCHERS FOR PAYMENT UPON THAT CONDITION, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.

THE VOUCHERS AND SUPPORTING PAPERS ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.