B-210555.21, DEC 5, 1986

B-210555.21: Dec 5, 1986

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ASKED GAO TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS AND HIS ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS WERE USING GOVERNMENT CARS TO TRAVEL BETWEEN THEIR HOMES AND PLACES OF WORK IN VIOLATION OF A STATUTORY PROHIBITION AGAINST SUCH TRAVEL. GAO IS UNABLE TO CONFIRM THESE ALLEGATIONS BECAUSE ONLY ONE OF 5 DRIVERS FOR THE COMMISSIONER CLAIMS TO HAVE PROVIDED SUCH TRANSPORTATION. THERE ARE NO WRITTEN RECORDS TO REFUTE OR SUPPORT THE ALLEGATIONS SINCE THE COMMISSIONER ORDERED THE MAINTENANCE OF LOGS TO BE DISCONTINUED SHORTLY AFTER HE TOOK OFFICE. ALL REGULAR DRIVERS FOR COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS AND ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS STATE THAT THEY HAVE AT VARIOUS TIMES TRANSPORTED BOTH OFFICIALS IN GOVERNMENT CARS BETWEEN THEIR RESPECTIVE HOMES AND OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS AWAY FROM THE OFFICE.

B-210555.21, DEC 5, 1986

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - TRAVEL - COMMUTING EXPENSES - PERSONAL CONVENIENCE - ALLEGATION SUBSTANTIATION - BURDEN OF PROOF DIGEST: 1. THE CHAIRMAN, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, ASKED GAO TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS THAT THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS AND HIS ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS WERE USING GOVERNMENT CARS TO TRAVEL BETWEEN THEIR HOMES AND PLACES OF WORK IN VIOLATION OF A STATUTORY PROHIBITION AGAINST SUCH TRAVEL. GAO IS UNABLE TO CONFIRM THESE ALLEGATIONS BECAUSE ONLY ONE OF 5 DRIVERS FOR THE COMMISSIONER CLAIMS TO HAVE PROVIDED SUCH TRANSPORTATION, THE COMMISSIONER FLATLY DENIES THE DRIVER'S STATEMENTS, AND THERE ARE NO WRITTEN RECORDS TO REFUTE OR SUPPORT THE ALLEGATIONS SINCE THE COMMISSIONER ORDERED THE MAINTENANCE OF LOGS TO BE DISCONTINUED SHORTLY AFTER HE TOOK OFFICE. CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - TRAVEL - COMMUTING EXPENSES - LIABILITY CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - TRAVEL - COMMUTING EXPENSES - REIMBURSEMENT - ELIGIBILITY 2. ALL REGULAR DRIVERS FOR COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS AND ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS STATE THAT THEY HAVE AT VARIOUS TIMES TRANSPORTED BOTH OFFICIALS IN GOVERNMENT CARS BETWEEN THEIR RESPECTIVE HOMES AND OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS AWAY FROM THE OFFICE. NEITHER OFFICIAL DENIES THAT THESE TRIPS HAVE TAKEN PLACE ALTHOUGH THE COMMISSIONER DISPUTES THE ASSERTION OF ONE DRIVER THAT THERE WERE AS MANY AS 40 SUCH TRIPS OVER A 3 YEAR PERIOD. SINCE NEITHER OFFICIAL IS ENTITLED BY STATUTE TO RECEIVE SUCH TRANSPORTATION, THE COSTS OF SUCH TRIPS MUST BE DETERMINED BY THE OFFICIALS CONCERNED AND REPAID TO THE AGENCY. CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - TRAVEL - COMMUTING EXPENSES - REIMBURSEMENT - ELIGIBILITY 3. DRIVERS FOR THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS STATE THAT THEY MADE MANY TRIPS FROM THE AIRPORTS IN THE WASHINGTON AREA TO THE COMMISSIONER'S CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA FARM WHICH HE CALLS HIS "HOME OF RECORD", AT THE CONCLUSION OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL. GAO ADVISES THAT GSA TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND OUR DECISIONS REGARD AN OFFICIAL'S "HOME", FOR PURPOSES OF COMPENSATION FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL EXPENSES, TO BE THE RESIDENCE FROM WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REGULARLY COMMUTES TO WORK. THE COMMISSIONER SHOULD CALCULATE THE NUMBER OF SUCH TRIPS HE MADE, THE OVERTIME INVOLVED FOR HIS DRIVER, AND OTHER APPLICABLE COSTS IN ORDER TO REPAY THESE COSTS TO HIS AGENCY.

THE HONORABLE JACK BROOKS:

ON AUGUST 1, 1986, YOU ASKED US TO INVESTIGATE SOME ALLEGATIONS MADE TO YOU THAT WILLIAM VON RAAB, COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS, AND HIS ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS, WILLIAM F. GREEN, ARE CURRENTLY USING GOVERNMENT CARS TO TRAVEL BETWEEN THEIR HOMES AND THEIR PLACES OF WORK. ALTHOUGH WE CONDUCTED AN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION INTO THESE MATTERS, WE COULD NOT FIND SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO CONFIRM THE ALLEGATIONS. WE DID FIND, HOWEVER, THAT THERE WERE UNAUTHORIZED TRIPS BETWEEN THEIR RESPECTIVE HOMES AND OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS AND BETWEEN LOCAL WASHINGTON AIRPORTS AND THE COMMISSIONER'S CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA HOME FOR WHICH THE AGENCY SHOULD BE REIMBURSED BY THE OFFICIAL INVOLVED.

AT OUR INITIAL MEETING WITH TWO CUSTOMS OFFICIALS, THE ACTING COMPTROLLER AND THE DIRECTOR, LOGISTICS SERVICES, WE WERE TOLD, CATEGORICALLY, THAT NEITHER THE COMMISSIONER NOR THE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS EVER USES A GOVERNMENT CAR FOR HOME TO-WORK TRANSPORTATION. THIS WAS CONSISTENT WITH THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO US BY CUSTOMS ON THE QUESTIONNAIRE WE USED IN COMPILING OUR SEPTEMBER 16, 1985 REPORT TO YOUR SUBCOMMITTEE, ENTITLED "USE OF GOVERNMENT MOTOR VEHICLES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND THE RELATIVES OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS" (GGD-85-76). AT THAT TIME, CUSTOMS REPORTED THAT ONLY ITS FOUR REGIONAL COMMISSIONERS EVER USED A CAR FOR HOME-TO-WORK TRANSPORTATION.

WE THEN TRIED TO CONFIRM THIS INFORMATION BY INSPECTING VEHICLE TRIP LOGS, MAINTAINED BY MANY AGENCIES TO RECORD THE NAMES OF PASSENGERS, THE DATES, TIMES OF DAY, POINTS OF ORIGIN, AND DESTINATIONS FOR EACH TRIP TAKEN. WE FOUND THAT THERE WERE NO SUCH LOGS. THE ONLY RECORDS KEPT CONCERNED THE ENTRANCE AND DEPARTURE OF DELIVERY VEHICLES, ACCORDING TO A BUILDING SERVICES OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OPERATION, MAINTENANCE, AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF PASSENGER VEHICLES LOCATED IN THE CUSTOMS HEADQUARTERS' GARAGE.

WE OBTAINED A PARTIAL EXPLANATION OF THE ABSENCE OF VEHICLE USAGE DOCUMENTS FROM THE CHAUFFEUR WHO WAS ASSIGNED TO DRIVE THE CAR DEDICATED FOR THE COMMISSIONER'S USE FROM JANUARY 1981, WHEN THE COMMISSIONER FIRST CAME TO CUSTOMS, TO AUGUST 1984. THE DRIVER SAYS THAT HE KEPT LOGS ON THE COMMISSIONER'S TRAVEL FOR APPROXIMATELY 2 MONTHS AFTER THE COMMISSIONER WAS FIRST APPOINTED IN 1981, BUT AFTER THE COMMISSIONER REALIZED WHAT HE WAS DOING, HE WAS ORDERED TO DISCONTINUE THE PRACTICE IMMEDIATELY. LITTLE LATER, THE COMMISSIONER ORDERED THE MAINTENANCE OF ALL LOGS ON PASSENGER TRAVEL IN GOVERNMENT CARS ASSIGNED TO CUSTOMS TO BE STOPPED. THE DRIVER WAS NOT SURE WHY THE ORDER WAS GIVEN BUT SPECULATED THAT IT MUST HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH SECURITY.

AT A LATER INTERVIEW, WE QUESTIONED THE COMMISSIONER ABOUT THE ABSENCE OF VEHICLE USAGE RECORDS AT CUSTOMS, PARTICULARLY SINCE WE NOTED THAT A DRAFT DIRECTIVE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, DATED FEBRUARY 7, 1986, REQUIRES EACH OF ITS BUREAU HEADS "TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN VEHICLE USAGE LOGS ON EACH GOVERNMENT VEHICLE ASSIGNED TO THEIR RESPECTIVE ORGANIZATIONS." (WE UNDERSTAND THAT A COPY OF THIS DIRECTIVE WAS SENT TO YOUR STAFF IN MAY 1986.) COMMISSIONER VON RAAB SAID THAT HE WAS NOT AWARE OF THE TREASURY DRAFT DIRECTIVE. HIS REASON FOR ORDERING THE LOGS TO BE DISCONTINUED WAS INDEED BASED ON SECURITY CONCERNS, AS THE DRIVER HAD TOLD US. HE SAID THAT MANY OF THE DRIVERS HAD "PROBLEMS" WITH DRUG USE AND ALCOHOL AND COULD NOT BE TRUSTED NOT TO REVEAL DETAILS OF THE GOINGS AND COMINGS OF TOP OFFICIALS AT CUSTOMS TO UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS. WE TOLD HIM THAT THE NEW LAW GOVERNING THE USE OF FEDERAL VEHICLES FOR HOME-TO-WORK TRANSPORTATION (PUB.L. NO. 99 550, OCTOBER 26, 1986) ALSO REQUIRES THE MAINTENANCE OF LOGS OR OTHER RECORDS OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT VEHICLE USE BETWEEN AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AND PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT. THE COMMISSIONER SAID HE WOULD TAKE THIS UP WITH HIS LEGAL ADVISOR AND MAKE "APPROPRIATE" ADJUSTMENTS.

AFTER FINDING THAT VEHICLE LOGS WERE NOT MAINTAINED, WE PROCEEDED TO INTERVIEW THE VARIOUS INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE ASSIGNED TO DRIVE THE TWO OFFICIALS IN QUESTION OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS. WE ASKED EACH DRIVER WHETHER HE COULD REMEMBER EVER DRIVING MR. VON RAAB OR MR. GREEN TO OR FROM THEIR HOMES AND AN OFFICIAL DUTY LOCATION. THEIR RESPONSES ARE SUMMARIZED BELOW.

COMMISSIONER VON RAAB

DRIVER 1 - (JANUARY 1, 1981 TO AUGUST 1984).

HAVE DRIVEN THE COMMISSIONER FROM OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS TO HIS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME APPROXIMATELY 40 TIMES. HAVE ALSO DRIVEN HIM TO HIS FARM (APPROXIMATELY 22 MILES NORTH OF CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA) FROM NATIONAL OR DULLES AIRPORT, APPROXIMATELY 10 TIMES.

DRIVER 2 - (INTERMITTENT DUTY)

NO TRIPS BETWEEN HOME AND WORK. HAVE DRIVEN THE COMMISSIONER FROM THE AIRPORT TO HIS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME ABOUT THREE OR FOUR TIMES.

DRIVER 3 - (INTERMITTENT DUTY)

NO TRIPS TAKEN BETWEEN HOME AND WORK. HE DROVE THE COMMISSIONER FROM THE AIRPORT TO HIS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME APPROXIMATELY 10 TIMES.

DRIVER 4 - (ABOUT 1 YEAR, ENDING IN JULY OR AUGUST, 1985.)

FROM ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME TO WORK-- "ALOT-- MAYBE 30 OR MORE TIMES."

FROM WORK TO ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME - "ALOT-- CAN'T RECALL HOW MANY TIMES."

FROM ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME TO AN OFFICIAL FUNCTION - "YES, BUT CAN'T REMEMBER HOW MANY TIMES."

THERE WERE A "LOT" OF TRIPS FROM THE ALEXANDRIA HOME TO THE AIRPORT AND APPROXIMATELY FOUR OR FIVE TRIPS FROM THE AIRPORT TO MR. VON RAAB'S CHARLOTTESVILLE FARM.

DRIVER 5 - CURRENTLY DRIVING FOR THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE LAST 14 MONTHS.

FROM ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME TO OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS-- APPROXIMATELY FOUR OR FIVE TIMES.

FROM AIRPORT TO CHARLOTTESVILLE FARM - THREE OR FOUR TIMES.

TO AND FROM AIRPORT AND ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME - SIX TO 10 TIMES.

ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER GREEN

AGENT/DRIVER 1 - (HE HAS BEEN DRIVING EXCLUSIVELY FOR MR. GREEN (IN ADDITION TO HIS OTHER DUTIES) FOR THE ENTIRE 2 YEARS THAT MR. GREEN HAS BEEN ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER.)

THE AGENT/DRIVER RECALLS ONLY TWO OCCASIONS WHEN HE DROVE MR. GREEN TO OR FROM HIS HOME AND WORK. HE ADDED THAT HE ALSO "OCCASIONALLY" DRIVES HIM FROM HIS HOME TO A CONFERENCE AWAY FROM THE OFFICE OR TO AND FROM OTHER OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS AWAY FROM THE OFFICE.

WE ASKED COMMISSIONER VON RAAB WHETHER THE INFORMATION ELICITED FROM HIS DRIVERS WAS ACCURATE. HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT HE HAD BEEN DRIVEN TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS, BUT FLATLY DENIED THE REPORT OF DRIVER NO. 4 THAT HE WAS DRIVEN TO AND FROM HIS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME AND WORK "ALOT-- 30 OR MORE TIMES." HE TOLD US HE HAD NEVER BEEN DRIVEN TO AND FROM HIS ALEXANDRIA RESIDENCE AND WORK. HE INFORMED US THAT THE INFORMATION FROM DRIVER NO. 4 WAS NOT CREDIBLE. ASIDE FROM VARIOUS "DISCIPLINARY" PROBLEMS, THE EMPLOYEE HAD SOUGHT AN "INSPECTOR'S" JOB BUT HAD NOT QUALIFIED, FOR WHICH HE BLAMED THE COMMISSIONER.

THE COMMISSIONER'S ASSERTION THAT HE HAS NEVER BEEN DRIVEN BETWEEN CUSTOMS AND HIS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME WAS SUPPORTED BY LIEUTENANT LEE, A SECURITY GUARD IN THE UNITED STATES PROTECTIVE SERVICE, BY RON ESCHENGER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, LOGISTICS AND BUILDING SERVICES, (LBS) AND AN LBS STAFF MEMBER, RENEE SMOOT. LT. LEE POINTED OUT A RESERVED PARKING SPACE FOR THE COMMISSIONER'S PERSONAL CAR AND SAID HE THINKS THAT THE COMMISSIONER DRIVES HIMSELF TO AND FROM WORK EVERY DAY. MR. ESCHENGER AND MS. SMOOT ARE BOTH INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS OF AUTHORIZING HOME TO WORK TRAVEL FOR CERTAIN LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS AT CUSTOMS. BOTH SAID THAT THEY WERE NOT AWARE OF ANY HOME TO WORK USE OF GOVERNMENT CARS BY EITHER MR. VON RAAB OR MR. GREEN. THEY STATED THAT BOTH MEN EITHER DROVE THEMSELVES OR WERE IN CARPOOLS.

COMMISSIONER VON RAAB ALSO FOUND THE REPORT OF DRIVER NO. 1 (THAT HE WAS PICKED UP AT OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS AND DRIVEN TO HIS ALEXANDRIA HOME APPROXIMATELY 40 TIMES) "SIMPLY FANTASTIC." THE COMMISSIONER SAID THAT HE SELDOM GOES TO MORE THAN ONE OFFICIAL FUNCTION PER MONTH. HE DID NOT COMMENT ON THE STATEMENTS OF DRIVERS 4 AND 5 WHO ALSO MENTIONED DRIVING HIM TO OR FROM OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS (SUCH AS MEETINGS, CONFERENCES, AND RECEPTIONS).

THE COMMISSIONER POINTED OUT THAT HE DOES A LOT OF WORK IN THE CAR WHILE ON THE WAY TO THE AIRPORT AND SOMETIMES SENDS MATERIAL BACK WITH THE DRIVER. HE ALSO KEEPS IN CONSTANT TOUCH WITH THE OFFICE SINCE THE CAR IS EQUIPPED WITH A TELEPHONE. IN SHORT, THE COMMISSIONER STATED, HIS USE OF GOVERNMENT CARS WAS CONSISTENT WITH HIS UNDERSTANDING OF CUSTOMS' REGULATIONS AND POLICIES AT THE TIME HE TOOK OFFICE. IF HIS UNDERSTANDING IS NO LONGER CORRECT, HE WILL TAKE STEPS TO CORRECT ANY ERRONEOUS PRACTICES.

ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER GREEN STATED THAT HE NORMALLY DRIVES TO AND FROM WORK IN HIS PERSONAL VEHICLE OR IN A CARPOOL. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT HE WAS DRIVEN FROM HOME TO WORK ON ONE OR TWO OCCASIONS, HE SAID, BUT HE DOES NOT RECALL THESE RIDES. HE WAS NOT AWARE THAT THERE WAS ANYTHING WRONG WITH BEING DRIVEN TO FUNCTIONS SOME DISTANCE FROM THE OFFICE, HOWEVER. URGED US TO KEEP IN MIND ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS - SUCH AS THE FACT THAT HIS DRIVER WAS ALSO HIS ASSISTANT AND MUCH VALUABLE WORK COULD BE TRANSACTED UNDER SECURE CONDITIONS WHILE THEY TRAVELED TOGETHER. HE ALSO MENTIONED THAT IT WAS SOMETIMES NECESSARY FOR THE DRIVER TO BRING HIM CONFIDENTIAL MATERIALS TO PREPARE HIM FOR A CONFERENCE OR SPEECH HE HAD TO DELIVER.

CONCLUSIONS

AS YOU POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER TO GAO, NEITHER COMMISSIONER VON RAAB NOR ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER GREEN WAS, UNDER THE PRE-AMENDED PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. SEC. 1344, NOR IS NOW, UNDER THE AMENDMENTS ENACTED BY PUB.L. NO. 99-550, ENTITLED TO HOME-TO-WORK TRANSPORTATION IN GOVERNMENT CARS, EXCEPT IN CERTAIN LIMITED EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. HOWEVER, THE EXCEPTIONS FOR NARROWLY DEFINED EMERGENCY SITUATIONS WERE NOT RELIED UPON BY EITHER OFFICIAL. THEREFORE, IF THERE HAD BEEN NO DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE STATEMENTS ON HOME-TO-WORK TRANSPORTATION BY THE COMMISSIONER'S DRIVER NO. 4 OR ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER GREEN'S DRIVER NO. 1 AND THE STATEMENTS OF THE TWO OFFICIALS, OR IF VEHICLE USAGE LOGS HAD BEEN MAINTAINED AND HAD SUPPORTED THE DRIVERS' STATEMENTS, WE WOULD HAVE FOUND A VIOLATION OF THE LAW.

WE CANNOT MAKE THOSE FINDINGS. IN ESSENCE, WE HAVE A STATEMENT BY ONLY 1 OF 5 DRIVERS FOR COMMISSIONER VON RAAB THAT HE FREQUENTLY ("MAYBE 30 OR MORE TIMES") DROVE HIM TO OR FROM HIS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME AND THE CUSTOMS BUREAU. THIS DRIVER DROVE THE COMMISSIONER FOR BARELY ONE YEAR. MR. VON RAAB EMPHATICALLY DENIES THAT HE WAS EVER DRIVEN TO OR FROM HIS ALEXANDRIA HOME AND HIS OFFICE. WE HAVE STATEMENTS FROM FIVE OTHER CUSTOMS OFFICIALS WHO SAID FIRMLY THAT THEY DID NOT BELIEVE THAT COMMISSIONER VON RAAB OR ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER GREEN WERE EVER DRIVEN TO OR FROM WORK AND THE CUSTOMS BUILDING. (MR. GREEN'S DRIVER REPORTED DRIVING HIM BETWEEN HIS HOME AND HIS OFFICE ON ONLY TWO OCCASIONS DURING THE TWO YEARS MR. GREEN HAS BEEN AN ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER.) IN THE ABSENCE OF OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE- I.E., WRITTEN RECORDS OR LOGS-- TO SUPPORT ANY OF THESE STATEMENTS, WE CANNOT CONCLUDE THAT TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THEIR RESPECTIVE HOMES AND OFFICES WAS FURNISHED TO EITHER MAN.

THE SITUATION IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT WITH RESPECT TO TRANSPORTATION IN A GOVERNMENT CAR BETWEEN THE OFFICIALS' RESPECTIVE HOMES AND OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS AWAY FROM THEIR OFFICES. THE PROHIBITION IN THE LAW IS NOT LIMITED TO TRAVEL BETWEEN AN OFFICIAL'S HOME AND HEADQUARTERS, BUT COVERS TRANSPORTATION TO AN FROM HIS HOME AND ANY OFFICIAL FUNCTION. THUS, THE STATEMENTS OF THE VARIOUS DRIVERS THAT SUCH TRAVEL TOOK PLACE, IF CORROBORATED, WOULD ALSO REQUIRE A FINDING THAT NEITHER OFFICIAL HAD BEEN COMPLYING WITH 31 U.S.C. SEC. 1344. MR. GREEN READILY ADMITS THAT HE HAS "OCCASIONALLY" BEEN DRIVEN FROM HOME TO A CONFERENCE OR OTHER OFFICIAL FUNCTION AWAY FROM THE CUSTOMS BUILDING, AS HIS DRIVER REPORTED. MENTIONED EARLIER, HE STATES THAT HE WAS NOT AWARE THAT THIS TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION WAS ALSO PROHIBITED BY LAW. IF HIS APPOINTMENT BOOKS OR OTHER RECORDS CAN ESTABLISH HOW OFTEN THIS TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION WAS PROVIDED, HE WILL BE ABLE TO MAKE APPROPRIATE REIMBURSEMENT TO THE AGENCY.

ALL THREE REGULAR DRIVERS FOR COMMISSIONER VON RAAB FROM THE TIME HE WAS APPOINTED IN 1981 TO DATE REPORT TRANSPORTING THE COMMISSIONER BETWEEN HIS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME AND OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS AWAY FROM THE OFFICE. NOTED EARLIER THAT MR. VON RAAB DID NOT EXPRESSLY DENY RECEIVING THIS KIND OF TRANSPORTATION. HE ONLY TOOK ISSUE WITH THE STATEMENT OF DRIVER NO. 1 THAT IT TOOK PLACE APPROXIMATELY 40 TIMES (IN THE 3-YEAR PERIOD HE WAS DRIVING FOR THE COMMISSIONER), SINCE HE SELDOM GOES TO MORE THAN ONE OFFICIAL FUNCTION PER MONTH.

ALTHOUGH IT SEEMS APPARENT THAT THE COMMISSIONER WAS DRIVEN IN A GOVERNMENT CAR TO OR FROM HIS HOME AND OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS, WE ARE UNABLE TO DETERMINE HOW MANY SUCH TRIPS WERE ACTUALLY MADE BECAUSE, AGAIN, THERE ARE NO OFFICIAL LOGS OR OTHER RECORDS TO CONSULT. WE WILL HAVE TO RELY ON MR. VON RAAB'S GOOD FAITH TO DETERMINE THE NUMBER OF SUCH TRIPS AND THE COSTS INCURRED, SO THAT HE TOO CAN REIMBURSE THE AGENCY. WE HAVE INCLUDED VARIOUS STATEMENTS BY DRIVERS FOR COMMISSIONER VON RAAB CONCERNING A NUMBER OF TRIPS IN A GOVERNMENT CAR FROM THE AIRPORT TO HIS CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA HOME. /1/ THE COMMISSIONER DID NOT DISPUTE THE ACCURACY OF THOSE STATEMENTS, ALTHOUGH HE THOUGHT THAT PERHAPS THE NUMBER OF SUCH TRIPS WAS EXAGGERATED. WE DID NOT DISCUSS THE VALIDITY OF THE PROVISION OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION WITH THE COMMISSIONER AT THE TIME OF OUR INTERVIEW WITH HIM. HIS LEGAL COUNSELOR SUGGESTED THAT UNDER THE GSA TRAVEL REGULATIONS, HE WAS ENTITLED TO BE DRIVEN TO HIS "HOME OF RECORD" AT THE CONCLUSION OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL.

WE HAVE SUBSEQUENTLY EXAMINED THE GSA TRAVEL REGULATIONS MORE CLOSELY. THE PROBLEM IS THAT COMMISSIONER VON RAAB CHOSE TO REGARD HIS CHARLOTTESVILLE FARM AS HIS "HOME." WHILE THE TERMS "HOME" OR "PLACE OF ABODE" IS NOT SPECIFICALLY DEFINED IN THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS, OTHER ANALOGOUS REGULATIONS MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THESE TERMS REFER TO THE RESIDENCE FROM WHICH AN EMPLOYEE REGULARLY COMMUTES TO WORK EVERY DAY; I.E., COMMISSIONER VON RAAB'S ALEXANDRIA HOME. SEE, FOR EXAMPLE, FTR PARA. 2-1.4F AND 2 JTR PARA. C2153. WE HAVE ISSUED DECISIONS ON THIS POINT ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS. THUS WE REJECTED A CLAIM FOR MILEAGE FROM THE AIRPORT BY A DEFENSE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE WHO MOVED HIS FAMILY 300 MILES AWAY FROM HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION SINCE HE MAINTAINED BACHELOR QUARTERS NEAR HIS HEADQUARTERS FROM WHICH HE COMMUTED ON WEEKDAYS. B-197360, JULY 15, 1980. SEE ALSO MATTER OF SCHWAPPACH, B-201361, DECEMBER 30, 1981, AND MATTER OF MORGAN, 55 COMP.GEN. 1323 (1976), SUBSEQUENTLY MODIFIED ON OTHER GROUNDS.

WE THEREFORE CONCLUDE THAT THE COMMISSIONER'S USE OF A GOVERNMENT CAR TO TRAVEL TO HIS CHARLOTTESVILLE FARM WAS ALSO UNAUTHORIZED. ONCE AGAIN, BECAUSE OF THE ABSENCE OF TRAVEL LOGS, WE WILL NEED TO RELY ON MR. VON RAAB TO DETERMINE THE NUMBER OF SUCH TRIPS MADE AND THE COSTS INCURRED, INCLUDING OVERTIME SALARY COSTS FOR THE DRIVER, IN ORDER THAT HE CAN REPAY THEM TO THE AGENCY.

ALTHOUGH WE WERE NOT ABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH DEFINITIVE ANSWERS ABOUT THE EXTENT OF THE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS' COMPLIANCE WITH 31 U.S.C. 1344, WE THINK THAT THE INVESTIGATION SERVED A USEFUL PURPOSE, NEVERTHELESS. WERE ABLE TO EXPLAIN MANY ASPECTS OF THE HOME-TO-WORK PROHIBITION, BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER THE ENACTMENT OF PUB.L. NO. 99-550, WHICH WERE NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR TO EITHER OFFICIAL. FURTHER, COMMISSIONER VON RAAB ADVISED US THAT CUSTOMS OFFICIALS WILL RESEARCH THE RECENTLY ENACTED LEGISLATION ON HOME-TO-WORK TRANSPORTATION AS WELL AS EXISTING DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY AND CUSTOMS REGULATIONS TO ENSURE THAT FUTURE USES OF FEDERAL VEHICLES BY CUSTOMS OFFICIALS ARE IN CONFORMANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAW.

/1/ THE DRIVERS ALSO REPORTED A NUMBER OF TRIPS TO OR FROM LOCAL AIRPORTS AND THE COMMISSIONER'S ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA HOME. WE ARE NOT QUESTIONING THE PROPRIETY OF THOSE TRIPS UNDER THE GSA TRAVEL REGULATIONS.