B-38960, JANUARY 1, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 481

B-38960: Jan 1, 1944

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FEES INCIDENT TO CASHING GOVERNMENT CHECKS ADVANCING FUNDS TO AGENT CASHIERS - APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WHERE FUNDS ARE ADVANCED BY MEANS OF A TREASURY CHECK TO AN AGENT CASHIER FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING CASH DISBURSEMENTS. THE ONLY AVAILABLE FACILITY FOR CASHING THE CHECK IS A LOCAL BANK WHICH REQUIRES THE PAYMENT OF A FEE FOR SUCH SERVICE. WHICH IS SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES CONNECTED THEREWITH. - PROVIDED SUCH EXPENSE FIRST IS AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3653. 1944: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 15. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS REFERRED TO YOU HEREWITH STANDARD FORM 1012 REVISED. WAS DESIGNATED AGENT CASHIER ON FEBRUARY 15. AUTHORITY WAS DELEGATED TO HER BY G.

B-38960, JANUARY 1, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 481

FEES INCIDENT TO CASHING GOVERNMENT CHECKS ADVANCING FUNDS TO AGENT CASHIERS - APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WHERE FUNDS ARE ADVANCED BY MEANS OF A TREASURY CHECK TO AN AGENT CASHIER FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING CASH DISBURSEMENTS, AND THE ONLY AVAILABLE FACILITY FOR CASHING THE CHECK IS A LOCAL BANK WHICH REQUIRES THE PAYMENT OF A FEE FOR SUCH SERVICE, THE FEE MAY BE REGARDED AS A NECESSARY EXPENSE OF DISBURSING PUBLIC FUNDS, AND, AS SUCH, PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION," CONTINGENT EXPENSES, PUBLIC MONEYS"-- WHICH IS SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES CONNECTED THEREWITH--- PROVIDED SUCH EXPENSE FIRST IS AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3653, REVISED STATUTES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JANUARY 1, 1944:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 15, 1943, TRANSMITTING FOR CONSIDERATION LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 10, 1943, TB-1, FROM J. R. LEE, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS REFERRED TO YOU HEREWITH STANDARD FORM 1012 REVISED, IN THE AMOUNT OF $4.91, IN FAVOR OF MARY O-SHEA, AGENT CASHIER TO G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, ATTACHED TO THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION FACILITY, CANANDAIGUA, NEW YORK. THIS VOUCHER COVERS REIMBURSEMENT TO THE AGENT CASHIER FOR FEES PAID TO THE ONTARIO COUNTY TRUST COMPANY DURING THE PERIOD JANUARY 6, 1943 TO JUNE 29, 1943, FOR CASHING OFFICIAL CHECKS ISSUED IN FAVOR OF THE AGENT CASHIER BY THE CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, THROUGH HIS NEW YORK REGIONAL DISBURSING OFFICE.

UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 4 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 6166, DATED JUNE 10, 1933, MARY O-SHEA, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION FACILITY, CANADA IGUA, NEW YORK, WAS DESIGNATED AGENT CASHIER ON FEBRUARY 15, 1941, AND AUTHORITY WAS DELEGATED TO HER BY G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, TO MAKE CERTAIN DISBURSEMENTS IN CASH. THE AGENT CASHIER IS BONDED IN THE PENAL SUM OF $3,000. NOTICE OF THE DESIGNATION OF THE AGENT CASHIER AND OF HER AUTHORITY TO CARRY CASH ADVANCED NOT TO EXCEED $750.00 AT ANY ONE TIME WAS DULY FURNISHED YOUR OFFICE.

IT IS THE POLICY OF THE DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT TO MAKE ADVANCES OR REPLENISHMENTS TO AGENT CASHIERS BY MEANS OF TREASURY CHECKS IN SUITABLE DENOMINATIONS AS REQUESTED, TOTALING THE AMOUNT OF THE ADVANCE OR REPLENISHMENT AS THE CASE MAY BE. THIS POLICY SERVES THE TWO-FOLD PURPOSE OF (1) RENDERING UNNECESSARY THE WITHDRAWAL OF CASH FROM THE TREASURY FOR DISBURSING PURPOSES UNTIL ACTUALLY NEEDED, AND (2) SAFEGUARDING FUNDS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE AGENT CASHIERS BY ENABLING THEM TO CASH CHECKS ONLY AS FUNDS ARE REQUIRED.

IN PRACTICALLY ALL CASES THE AGENT CASHIERS ARE ABLE TO CASH THEIR ADVANCE CHECKS WITHOUT PAYMENT OF FEES. IT IS UNDERSTOOD, HOWEVER, THAT THERE ARE NO FACILITIES AVAILABLE TO THE AGENT CASHIERS AT CANANDAIGUA, NEW YORK, FOR CASHING SUCH CHECKS WITHOUT PAYMENT OF FEES. THE ATTACHED VOUCHER HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION, AND IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE WHETHER THIS VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED AS A CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION "2031800, SALARIES AND EXPENSES, DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT, 1943.' IF NOT, WOULD THE VOUCHER BE A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION "2031803 CONTINGENT EXPENSES, PUBLIC MONEYS, 1943?

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE IS NO LAW PROHIBITING A NATIONAL BANK, OR ANY OTHER BANK, FROM CHARGING A FEE FOR CASHING CHECKS NOT DRAWN AGAINST DEPOSITS IN THE BANK; AND WHERE THE PAYEE OF A CHECK IS NOT A CUSTOMER OF A BANK AND HAS NO ACCOUNT AT THE BANK WHERE THE CHECK IS PRESENTED FOR PAYMENT OR COLLECTION, THERE WOULD BE NO OBLIGATION ON THE BANK TO CASH THE CHECK.

IN THE CASE HERE PRESENTED FUNDS ARE ADVANCED BY MEANS OF A TREASURY CHECK TO AN AGENT CASHIER FOR DISBURSEMENT AND IT IS STATED THAT THE ONLY AVAILABLE FACILITY FOR CASHING SUCH A CHECK IS A LOCAL BANK WHICH REQUIRES THE PAYMENT OF A FEE FOR THE SERVICE RENDERED. THUS, IN ORDER TO PERFORM PROPERLY THE FUNCTIONS OF HER OFFICE, THE AGENT CASHIER HERE INVOLVED OF NECESSITY MUST AVAIL HERSELF OF THE ONLY MEANS AT HAND; AND, IN DOING SO, A FEE IS DEMANDED AND PAID. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, THE PAYMENT OF THE FEE IS NOT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE AGENT CASHIER BUT IS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT--- BEING A PART OF THE NECESSARY COST OR EXPENSE OF PLACING IN HER HANDS FUNDS WITH WHICH TO MAKE CASH DISBURSEMENTS. IN THAT CONNECTION SEE 11 COMP. GEN. 213, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT PUBLIC FUNDS MAY BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXCISE TAX STAMPS AFFIXED TO CHECKS DRAWN OR NEGOTIATED IN CANADA WHERE THE CHECKS WERE DRAWN IN FAVOR OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS FOR OFFICIAL EXPENDITURES.

THERE IS SUGGESTED BY THE SUBMISSION THAT THE VOUCHER COVERING REIMBURSEMENT OF FEES PAID TO THE ONTARIO COUNTY TRUST COMPANY, CANANDAIGUA, NEW YORK, MAY BE CERTIFIED AS A CHARGE UNDER THE APPROPRIATION,"2031800 SALARIES AND EXPENSES, DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT, 1943" OR, IF THAT APPROPRIATION BE NOT AVAILABLE, UNDER THE APPROPRIATION,"2031803 CONTINGENT EXPENSES, PUBLIC MONEYS, 1943.' THE APPROPRIATION FIRST ABOVE REFERRED TO, PROVIDING FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1943, IS CONTAINED IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1943, APPROVED MARCH 10, 1942, 56 STAT. 152, AND READS, IN PART:

FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND IN THE FIELD, STATIONERY, TRAVEL, RENTAL OF EQUIPMENT, AND ALL OTHER NECESSARY MISCELLANEOUS AND CONTINGENT EXPENSES * * *. THE OTHER APPROPRIATION CONTAINED IN THE SAME ACT, 56 STAT. 153, PROVIDES:

FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES UNDER THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3653 OF THE REVISED STATUTES (31 U.S.C. 545), FOR THE COLLECTION, SAFEKEEPING, TRANSFER, AND DISBURSEMENT OF THE PUBLIC MONEY, TRANSPORTATION OF NOTES, BONDS, AND OTHER SECURITIES OF THE UNITED STATES, TRANSPORTATION OF GOLD COIN, GOLD BULLION, AND GOLD CERTIFICATES TRANSFERRED TO FEDERAL RESERVE BANKS AND BRANCHES, UNITED STATES MINTS AND ASSAY OFFICES, AND THE TREASURY, AFTER MARCH 9, 1933, ACTUAL EXPENSES OF EXAMINERS DETAILED TO EXAMINE THE BOOKS, ACCOUNTS, AND MONEY ON HAND AT THE SEVERAL DEPOSITORIES, INCLUDING NATIONAL BANKS ACTING AS DEPOSITORIES UNDER THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3649 OF THE REVISED STATUTES (31 U.S.C. 548), ALSO INCLUDING EXAMINATIONS OF CASH ACCOUNTS ATMINTS * * *.

SECTION 3653, REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. 545, PROVIDES:

THE OFFICERS, RESPECTIVELY, WHOSE DUTY IT IS MADE BY SECTIONS 119, 472, 474, 475, 480-484, 490, 492, 495, 496, 498, 505-529, 543-545, 547A, 548, 549 OF THIS TITLE TO RECEIVE, KEEP OR DISBURSE THE PUBLIC MONEYS, AS THE FISCAL AGENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, MAY BE ALLOWED ANY NECESSARY ADDITIONAL EXPENSES FOR FIREPROOF CHESTS OR VAULTS, OR OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES OF COLLECTING, SAFEKEEPING, TRANSFERRING, OR DISBURSING THE MONEYS; BUT ALL SUCH EXPENSES OF EVERY CHARACTER SHALL BE FIRST EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, WHOSE DIRECTIONS UPON ALL THE ABOVE SUBJECTS, BY WAY OF REGULATION AND OTHERWISE, SO FAR AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW, SHALL BE STRICTLY FOLLOWED BY ALL THE OFFICERS * * *.

EACH OF THE FOREGOING APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF CONTINGENT EXPENSES. THE DS,"CONTINGENT EXPENSES," AS EMPLOYED IN ACTS MAKING APPROPRIATIONS LONG HAVE BEEN HELD TO INCLUDE SUCH INCIDENTAL, CASUAL, AND UNFORESEEN EXPENSES AS ARE NECESSARY AND APPROPRIATE TO THE EXECUTION OF DUTIES REQUIRED BY LAW IN CONNECTION WITH THE OBJECT FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE. SEE 4 COMP. DEC. 287. A FEE CHARGED BY A BANK FOR THE CASHING OF A GOVERNMENT CHECK APPROPRIATELY MIGHT BE DEEMED AN EXPENSE OF AN UNUSUAL AND, IN FACT, UNFORESEEABLE NATURE SINCE, AS STATED IN THE LETTER, SUPRA, AGENT CASHIERS USUALLY ARE ABLE TO CASH THEIR ADVANCE CHECKS WITHOUT PAYMENT OF FEES. HENCE, SUCH CHARGES, WHEN MADE, WOULD APPEAR TO COME WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE TERM ,CONTINGENT EXPENSES" AS HEREINBEFORE DEFINED.

SECTION 3683, REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. 675, PROVIDES:

EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED NO PART OF THE CONTINGENT FUND APPROPRIATED TO ANY DEPARTMENT, BUREAU OR OFFICE, SHALL BE APPLIED TO THE PURCHASE OF ANY ARTICLES EXCEPT SUCH AS THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT SHALL DEEM NECESSARY AND PROPER TO CARRY ON THE BUSINESS OF THE DEPARTMENT, BUREAU, OR OFFICE, AND SHALL, BY WRITTEN ORDER, DIRECT TO BE PROCURED.

THE PAYMENT OF A REQUIRED FEE FOR CASHING GOVERNMENT ADVANCE-OF FUNDS CHECKS SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED PROPERLY MIGHT BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION," SALARIES AND EXPENSES, DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT, 1943," AS INVOLVING A NECESSARY EXPENSE CONNECTED WITH THE OPERATION OF THE DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT, WERE THERE AVAILABLE NO APPROPRIATION SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF NECESSARY EXPENSES OF DISBURSING PUBLIC MONEYS. BUT SINCE THE APPROPRIATION," CONTINGENT EXPENSES, PUBLIC MONEYS, 1943," SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES UNDER THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3653 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, FOR THE DISBURSEMENT OF PUBLIC MONEYS, SAID APPROPRIATION WOULD APPEAR CHARGEABLE WITH THE EXPENSE HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION--- IF OTHERWISE PROPER--- IT BEING A WELL -ESTABLISHED RULE OF CONSTRUCTION THAT WHERE AN APPROPRIATION SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES FOR A SPECIAL OBJECT, SUCH APPROPRIATION IS EXCLUSIVE, ALTHOUGH THERE MAY BE ANOTHER APPROPRIATION WHICH WOULD BUT FOR SUCH SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION BE AVAILABLE. HOWEVER, SAID SECTION 3653 REQUIRES THAT EXPENSES OF EVERY CHARACTER COVERED THEREIN FIRST SHALL BE EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY. IN THAT CONNECTION ATTENTION IS INVITED TO DECISION OF NOVEMBER 13, 1914, 21 COMP. DEC. 308, TO THE THEN SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, WHEREIN IT WAS STATED THAT EXPENSES COVERED BY SECTION 3653, REVISED STATUTES,"SHOULD BE FIRST AUTHORIZED BY YOU AND NOT SIMPLY APPROVED BY YOU AFTER BEING INCURRED.' ALSO, SEE DISCUSSION OF LEGAL IMPORT OF THE RDS,"AUTHORIZE" AND "APPROVE," IN 22 COMP. GEN. 895. AT PAGE 900.

IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT ANY ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN BY YOU, BY APPROPRIATE REGULATION OR OTHERWISE, TO AUTHORIZE EXPENDITURES OF THE TYPE OR CLASS HERE INVOLVED. IN THE ABSENCE THEREOF, I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT THE APPROPRIATION " CONTINGENT EXPENSES, PUBLIC MONEYS, 1943," WHICH OTHERWISE APPEARS AVAILABLE THEREFOR, MAY NOT BE CHARGED WITH THE EXPENSES COVERED BY THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED.

THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND THE CERTIFYING OFFICER INVOLVED SHOULD BE INFORMED THAT, UPON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD, THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UNDER EITHER OF THE APPROPRIATIONS SUGGESTED.