B-13886, JANUARY 13, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 361

B-13886: Jan 13, 1941

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - COMMUTATION - NECESSITY FOR SPECIFIC AUTHORITY A COMMUTATION OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE TRAVELING IS NEVER ALLOWABLE EXCEPT WHEN AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE. REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES ON A COMMUTED BASIS IS UNAUTHORIZED. AS FOLLOWS: WE HAVE RECEIVED A NOTICE OF EXCEPTION. COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED DISALLOWING $5.00 IN THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNT OF CHARLES L. IT IS NEVERTHELESS EVIDENT THAT THE WHOLE DAY WAS GIVEN OVER TO OFFICIAL DUTIES AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION. IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS SERVES WITHOUT COMPENSATION AND HE EXPECTS THAT ON BECOMING A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION HE WILL BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE ATTENDING A MEETING.

B-13886, JANUARY 13, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 361

TRAVELING EXPENSES - COMMUTATION - NECESSITY FOR SPECIFIC AUTHORITY A COMMUTATION OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE TRAVELING IS NEVER ALLOWABLE EXCEPT WHEN AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE. THE PROVISION OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, AS AMENDED, AUTHORIZING A COMMUTATION OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES HAS APPLICATION ONLY TO "CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES" OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. SINCE THE ACT OF MAY 17, 1910, CREATING THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS, AND THE ACTS MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION EXPRESSLY PROVIDE THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION IN ATTENDING MEETINGS OF THE COMMISSION SHALL BE REIMBURSED ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES ON A COMMUTED BASIS IS UNAUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE CHAIRMAN, COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS, JANUARY 13, 1941:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 5, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

WE HAVE RECEIVED A NOTICE OF EXCEPTION, COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED DISALLOWING $5.00 IN THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNT OF CHARLES L. BORIE, MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS, IN CONNECTION WITH EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE ATTENDING A MEETING OF THE COMMISSION IN NEW YORK CITY ON DECEMBER 14, 1939.

WHILE MR. BORIE LEFT PHILADELPHIA AT 10:04 A.M. AND RETURNED TO PHILADELPHIA AT 5:34 P.M., IT IS NEVERTHELESS EVIDENT THAT THE WHOLE DAY WAS GIVEN OVER TO OFFICIAL DUTIES AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION. WHILE IN NEW YORK CITY AS A COMMISSIONER, MR. BORIE INCURRED EXPENSES FOR LUNCHEON AND OTHER INCIDENTAL CHARGES AT THE CLUB WHERE HE STAYED THAT MORE THAN AMOUNTED TO THE ALLOWANCE OF $5.00 PER DIEM WHICH HE CLAIMS. FURTHERMORE, IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS SERVES WITHOUT COMPENSATION AND HE EXPECTS THAT ON BECOMING A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION HE WILL BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE ATTENDING A MEETING. SECTION 51 OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THEREFORE SURELY SHOULD MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WHO SERVE WITHOUT COMPENSATION AND THOSE WHO RECEIVE A SALARY. THEREFORE RESPECTFULLY REQUEST IN BEHALF OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 51 OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS BE WAIVED SO FAR AS PERTAINING TO THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS.

IN VIEW OF THE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FURNISHED--- PARTICULARLY, THAT THE AMOUNT INCURRED FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WAS NOT BELOW THE COMMUTATION ALLOWANCE OF $5--- THE ITEM WILL NOT BE FURTHER QUESTIONED AND CREDIT FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNT.

HOWEVER, IN CONNECTION WITH THE ABOVE, IT APPEARS PROPER TO BRING TO ATTENTION CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS AS HEREINAFTER SET FORTH.

THE ACT OF MAY 17, 1910, 36 STAT. 371, CREATING THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS, PROVIDES THAT:

* * * THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION SHALL EACH BE PAID ACTUAL EXPENSES IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM WASHINGTON TO ATTEND THE MEETINGS OF SAID COMMISSION AND WHILE ATTENDING THE SAME. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1940, CONTAINED IN THE ACT APPROVED MAY 10, 1939, 53 STAT. 688 --- THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IN THE INSTANT CASE--- PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

FOR EXPENSES MADE NECESSARY BY THE ACT ENTITLED " AN ACT ESTABLISHING A COMMISSION OF FINE S," APPROVED MAY 17, 1910 (40 U.S.C. 104), INCLUDING THE PURCHASE OF PERIODICALS, PRESS CLIPPINGS, MAPS, AND BOOKS OF REFERENCE, AND PAYMENT OF ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES OF THE MEMBERS AND SECRETARY OF THE COMMISSION IN ATTENDING MEETINGS AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS OF THE COMMISSION EITHER WITHIN OR OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, TO BE DISBURSED ON VOUCHERS APPROVED BY THE COMMISSION, $9,700, OF WHICH AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $6,480 MAY BE EXPENDED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

SIMILAR PROVISIONS FOR THE EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION APPEAR IN OTHER ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS.

SECTION 3 OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, APPROVED JUNE 3, 1926 (44 STAT. 688, 689), AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 405, PROVIDES:

CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS, WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY, SHALL BE ALLOWED, IN LIEU OF THEIR ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR SUBSISTENCE AND ALL FEES OR TIPS TO PORTERS AND STEWARDS, A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, NOT TO EXCEED THE RATE OF $5 WITHIN THE LIMITS OF CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, AND NOT TO EXCEED AN AVERAGE OF $6 BEYOND THE LIMITS OF CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES.

A COMMUTATION OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE TRAVELING IS NEVER ALLOWABLE EXCEPT WHEN AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE. 15 COMP. GEN. 206; COMPARE, 4 ID. 735; AND 18 ID. 588; ALSO, 5 U.S.C. 73. WHILE THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT, SUPRA, ALLOWS A COMMUTATION OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES IT HAS APPLICATION ONLY TO "CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES" OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. ASIDE FROM ANY QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION WHO SERVE WITHOUT COMPENSATION PROPERLY MAY BE REGARDED AS "CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES" OF THE GOVERNMENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE SAID SUBSISTENCE ACT, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MAY 17, 1910, SUPRA, CREATING THE COMMISSION, AS WELL AS THE ACTS MAKING APPROPRIATION FOR THE EXPENSES OF THE COMMISSION, EXPRESSLY PROVIDING THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION INCURRED TO ATTEND MEETINGS OF THE COMMISSION SHALL BE REIMBURSED UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES UPON A COMMUTED BASIS IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY OF LAW.

ACCORDINGLY, CLAIMS HEREAFTER FILED BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES SHOULD BE PRESENTED UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS SUPPORTED BY (1) AN ITEMIZED STATEMENT OF EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED, AND (2) BY RECEIPTS, WHEN PRACTICABLE.