B-156343, JAN. 17, 1966

B-156343: Jan 17, 1966

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TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF NOVEMBER 16. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INDEBTEDNESS FOR WHICH THE COLLECTION WAS MADE REPRESENTS AN AMOUNT DUE THE UNITED STATES AS A RESULT OF A VIOLATION BY MR. AFTER IT WAS DETERMINED TO BE ADMINISTRATIVELY UNCOLLECTIBLE. WAS REPORTED HERE FOR COLLECTION AS REQUIRED BY 4 GAO 5050.20. 000 WAS MADE. IT WAS TRANSMITTED TO US BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND WE DEPOSITED THE SUM IN THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS TO THE CREDIT OF THE ACCOUNT "053060 REFUNDS OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS" RATHER THAN TO THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT INDICATED IN THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE TRANSMITTAL LETTER. WHEN THE INDEBTEDNESS WAS REPORTED HERE FOR COLLECTION IT WAS REQUESTED THAT THE FUNDS RECOVERED BE DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF APPROPRIATION 12X2268 IN ACCORDANCE WITH DECISION OF MARCH 23.

B-156343, JAN. 17, 1966

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF NOVEMBER 16, 1965, FROM MR. C. H. DORNY, DIRECTOR, BUDGET AND FINANCE DIVISION, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, REQUESTING THAT A COLLECTION OF $40,000 MADE ON ACCOUNT OF AN INDEBTEDNESS AGAINST MR. JO W. JACK BE TRANSFERRED AND CREDITED TO THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT "12X2268 GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION PROGRAM, AGRICULTURE.'

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE INDEBTEDNESS FOR WHICH THE COLLECTION WAS MADE REPRESENTS AN AMOUNT DUE THE UNITED STATES AS A RESULT OF A VIOLATION BY MR. JACK OF HIS GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION CONTRACT NO. 12 10-410-1651. THE INDEBTEDNESS, AFTER IT WAS DETERMINED TO BE ADMINISTRATIVELY UNCOLLECTIBLE, WAS REPORTED HERE FOR COLLECTION AS REQUIRED BY 4 GAO 5050.20. SUBSEQUENTLY, WE REFERRED THE MATTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR FURTHER COLLECTION ACTION. WHEN COLLECTION OF THE $40,000 WAS MADE, IT WAS TRANSMITTED TO US BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND WE DEPOSITED THE SUM IN THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS TO THE CREDIT OF THE ACCOUNT "053060 REFUNDS OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS" RATHER THAN TO THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT INDICATED IN THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE TRANSMITTAL LETTER.

AS STATED IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 16, 1965, WHEN THE INDEBTEDNESS WAS REPORTED HERE FOR COLLECTION IT WAS REQUESTED THAT THE FUNDS RECOVERED BE DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF APPROPRIATION 12X2268 IN ACCORDANCE WITH DECISION OF MARCH 23, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 647. IN THAT DECISION WE HELD THAT ANY UNEARNED AMOUNTS REFUNDED TO THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF VIOLATIONS OF THE GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION PROGRAM CONTRACTS COULD BE CREDITED TO THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH SUCH AMOUNTS ORIGINALLY WERE PAID RATHER THAN TO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. THAT DECISION IS APPLICABLE TO COLLECTIONS MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. HOWEVER, IN THE INSTANT CASE, SINCE THE COLLECTION WAS MADE BY OUR OFFICE, IT WAS DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE POLICY SET FORTH IN OUR LETTER TO HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES DATED MAY 13, 1963, B-138706. SEE 4 GAO 5060.10. THIS POLICY WAS ADOPTED UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT OF JULY 25, 1956, 70 STAT. 648, 31 U.S.C. 701 (C), WHICH PROVIDES THAT "* * * ANY COLLECTION MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES MAY BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.'

IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 16, 1965, IT IS STATED THAT IN THE INSTANT CASE IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE AFOREMENTIONED POLICY IS NOT APPLICABLE FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

1. THE $40,000 IS NOT CONSIDERED AS BEING A "RELATIVELY SMALL AMOUNT; "

2. FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, THE RECOVERY OF $40,000 WOULD EXCEED BY FAR THE COST OF ANY RELATED BOOKKEEPING;

3. THE APPROPRIATION TO WHICH THE AMOUNT WAS REQUESTED TO BE CREDITED IS WITHOUT A FISCAL YEAR LIMITATION;

4. IF THE AMOUNT IS TRANSFERRED TO THE APPROPRIATION AS REQUESTED, SUCH FUNDS WILL BE USED TO COST-SHARE NEEDED CONSERVATION PRACTICES IN TEXAS AS AN OFFSET TO THE PRACTICES IN THIS CASE WHICH WERE SUBSEQUENTLY DESTROYED AND FROM WHICH THE PROGRAM DID NOT BENEFIT; AND

5. IT WAS THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS THAT MAXIMUM CONSERVATION EFFORTS BE ACCOMPLISHED WITHIN THE AMOUNT APPROPRIATED.

AS STATED IN THE CIRCULAR LETTER OF MAY 13, 1963, WE HAVE FOUND THAT THE RELATIVELY SMALL AMOUNTS DEPOSITED TO APPROPRIATION OR FUND ACCOUNTS DURING A YEAR DO NOT JUSTIFY THE ADDED COSTS INVOLVED IN THE NECESSARY IDENTIFICATION, SCHEDULING, AND RELATED BOOKKEEPING TRANSACTIONS IN THIS OFFICE, OR IN THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES CONCERNED, INCLUDING THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. WE BELIEVE THAT THE UNIFORM PROCEDURE FOR DEPOSITING TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS COLLECTIONS MADE BY OUR OFFICE ON DEBTS REFERRED AS BEING ADMINISTRATIVELY UNCOLLECTIBLE INVOLVING APPROPRIATION OR FUND ACCOUNTS, OTHER THAN TRUST OR DEPOSIT FUND ACCOUNTS, RESULTS IN AN OVER- ALL ECONOMY TO THE GOVERNMENT. IN THE INSTANT CASE, DEPOSIT OF THE COLLECTION UNDER CONSIDERATION AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS PROVIDES THE MOST ECONOMICAL AND SATISFACTORY DISPOSITION THEREOF, AND SINCE THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 16, 1965, TO INDICATE THAT SUCH APPLICATION OF THE COLLECTION MATERIALLY AFFECTS OR OTHERWISE PRECLUDES EFFECTIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE GREAT PLAINS CONSERVATION PROGRAM, WE TRUST YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHY WE DO NOT FEEL WARRANTED IN APPROVING ADJUSTMENT OF THE COLLECTION REQUESTED.