B-1586 March 20, 1939

B-1586: Mar 20, 1939

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Is as follows: "Reference is made to the enclosed claim of Captain S.W. The claim which Captain Hulse has made is based upon reimbursement for official advertising in the amount of $221.84 paid from private funds to the Portland Oregonian and $33.60 to Seattle Post Intelligencer. "All papers and other correspondence submitted in connection with the above claim have been carefully reviewed. The statements of fact set forth therein are concurred in by this Department. "It is regrettable that payment vouchers representing this claim cannot receive routine approval. Particularly in view of the fact that authority for advertising for the fiscal year 1938 was subsequently amended to include Portland Oregonian and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

B-1586 March 20, 1939

The Honorable, The Secretary of War.

Sir:

Your letter of January 11, 1939, is as follows:

"Reference is made to the enclosed claim of Captain S.W. Hulse, Q.M.C., in the amount of $55.44. The claim which Captain Hulse has made is based upon reimbursement for official advertising in the amount of $221.84 paid from private funds to the Portland Oregonian and $33.60 to Seattle Post Intelligencer.

"All papers and other correspondence submitted in connection with the above claim have been carefully reviewed. The statements of fact set forth therein are concurred in by this Department.

"It is regrettable that payment vouchers representing this claim cannot receive routine approval, particularly in view of the fact that authority for advertising for the fiscal year 1938 was subsequently amended to include Portland Oregonian and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"Since the Government has received full value for this advertising as though in fact it had been authorized, it seems unconscionable not to reimburse Captain Hulse. Therefore, this Department recommends this claim be allowed in the full amount. In the event this claim is not subject to certification for settlement in the regular way it is recommended that it be submitted to the Congress for consideration in accordance with Title 31, section 236 of the U.S. Code, which provides for the handling of meritorious claims against the United States not subject to lawful adjustment."

Section 3828, Revised Statutes, provides:

"No advertisement, notice, or proposal for any Executive Department of the Government, or for any Bureau thereof, or for any office therewith connected, shall be published in any newspaper whatever, except in pursuance of a written authority for such publication from the head of such Department; and no bill for any such advertising, or publication, shall be paid, unless there be presented, with such bill, a copy of such written authority."

The act of April 10, 1926, 45 Stat. 415 provides:

"That when there is filed in the General Accounting Office a claim or demand against the United States that may not lawfully be adjusted by the use of an appropriation therefore made, but which claim or demand in the judgment of the Comptroller General of the United States contains such elements of legal liability or equity as to be deserving of the consideration of the Congress, he shall submit the same to the Congress by a special report containing the materia fasts and his recommendation thereon."

As the advertisement in this case was published in direct contravention of section 3828, Revised Statutes, due to the failure of the officer to acquaint himself with the then existing orders with respect to the placement of such advertisements, this office is without authority to allow the claim of Captain Rules for reimbursement of the amount which he personally paid for such advertisements.

The authority given this office by the act to April 10, 1928, supra, to report claims which contain "elements of legal liability or equity" does not contemplate that this office shall report claims arising from an action taken by the claimant in direct contravention of a statute, as in this case.

Accordingly, I have to advise that, in my judgment, this claim does not contain such elements of equity or legal liability as would warrant its being reported to the Congress under said act. 18 Comp. Gen. 454.

Respectfully,

(Signed) R. N. Elliott Acting Comptroller General of the United States