B-230434.3, May 24, 1990, Office of General Counsel

B-230434.3: May 24, 1990

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Claims Against Government - Claim settlement - Pending litigation - GAO review APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Claims Against Government - Claim settlement - GAO authority DIGEST: Claimant is advised that this Office will take no further action on his claim since the claims are currently the subject matter of his appeal before a court of competent jurisdiction. If his appeal is unsuccessful. There is no mandatory requirement that the Comptroller General must settle all claims for and against the United States since the statutory language in 31 U.S.C. This Office has a longstanding policy not to rule on any matter that is currently before a court of competent jurisdiction since such matters are best left to the courts to decide.

B-230434.3, May 24, 1990, Office of General Counsel

APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Claims Against Government - Claim settlement - Pending litigation - GAO review APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Claims Against Government - Claim settlement - GAO authority DIGEST: Claimant is advised that this Office will take no further action on his claim since the claims are currently the subject matter of his appeal before a court of competent jurisdiction, and if his appeal is unsuccessful, the doctrine of res judicata would apply. There is no mandatory requirement that the Comptroller General must settle all claims for and against the United States since the statutory language in 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3702(a) (1988), states "except as provided in this chapter or another law."

Roy Anderson:

We refer to your letter of April 25, 1990, in which you request that we take certain actions relating to your request for a rehearing before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld your conviction in United States v. Roy Anderson, Criminal No. 87-80316, Appeal No. 88-1469/88-1510.

This Office recently responded to a Freedom of Information request from you under the provisions of 4 C.F.R. Part 83 (1989). We furnished you with the underlying memorandum of instruction to our Claims Group of November 22, 1988, in which we responded to your request for a review of your travel vouchers.

As we advised you in our letter of November 22, 1988, this Office has a longstanding policy not to rule on any matter that is currently before a court of competent jurisdiction since such matters are best left to the courts to decide. William C. Ragland, 62 Comp.Gen. 399 (1983). Since you have filed a request for a hearing with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, your case is still pending before a court, and we must again invoke this policy.

You should also be aware of the fact, as pointed out in the instructions to our Claims Group, that this Office follows the doctrine of res judicata, which is substance means that a matter once judicially decided is finally decided. Thus, if your final appeal is unsuccessful, your claim would appear to be barred based on this doctrine. See Carl A. Macmurdo, B-234257.2, Nov. 20, 1989.

Your correspondence also seems to indicate a misconception as to the authority of this Office. There is no mandatory requirement, as you allege, that all claims of or against the United States must be settled by the Comptroller General prior to a further administrative determination, or prior to presentation to a court of competent jurisdiction. The statutory authority of this Office to settle claims states "except as provided in this chapter or another law." 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3702(a).

There are numerous other statutes providing for the settlement of federal claims. For example, the Comptroller General does not settle veterans or social security claims, and agencies have independent authority to settle claims of the United States under the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966. 31 U.S.C. Secs. 3711-3733, et seq. (1988). See also the Back Pay Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5596 (1988), which gives agencies the authority to settle backpay claims.

This Office also does not have authority to rule on criminal actions prosecuted under title 18 of the United States Code since such authority is reserved to the Department of Justice. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 516 (1988). Further, if agencies identify a claim as to which there is an indication of fraud, they are required to refer the matter promptly to the Department of Justice, and not this Office. 4 C.F.R. Sec. 101.3(a) (1989).

We are furnishing you with copies of the decisions cited above. regret that we cannot be of further assistance to you, and we are closing our file on this matter.