B-41590, MAY 19, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 882

B-41590: May 19, 1944

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

" IS NOT TO RENDER INAPPLICABLE TO SUCH EXPENSE ACCOUNTS THE PROVISIONS OF THE EARLIER ACT OF DECEMBER 29. THE EFFECT IS TO CONSTITUTE THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY THE AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR PURPOSES OF THE 1941 STATUTE IN RESPECT OF THE CASES TO WHICH THE 1942 STATUTE APPLIES. 1944: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 17. IT IS PROVIDED IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: "AND WHEN SAID EXPENSE ACCOUNTS ARE MADE OUT. WHICH WAS ENACTED SUBSEQUENT TO THE SO-CALLED " AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER ACT" ( PUBLIC LAW 389. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE " AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER ACT" HAVE BEEN SUPERSEDED TO THE EXTENT THAT THE TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHERS OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE CERTIFIED BY AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER.

B-41590, MAY 19, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 882

CERTIFYING OFFICERS - STATUS OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS CERTIFYING TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHERS THE EFFECT OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 24, 1942, AUTHORIZING UNITED STATES MARSHALS TO PAY THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS ,UPON CERTIFICATE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY," IS NOT TO RENDER INAPPLICABLE TO SUCH EXPENSE ACCOUNTS THE PROVISIONS OF THE EARLIER ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, FIXING THE LIABILITIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF CERTIFYING OFFICERS, GENERALLY, BUT, RATHER, THE EFFECT IS TO CONSTITUTE THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY THE AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR PURPOSES OF THE 1941 STATUTE IN RESPECT OF THE CASES TO WHICH THE 1942 STATUTE APPLIES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, MAY 19, 1944:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 17, 1944, A3, AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER THAT PORTION OF PUBLIC LAW 845, 77TH CONGRESS, APPROVED DECEMBER 24, 1942, RELATING TO THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS, IT IS PROVIDED IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"AND WHEN SAID EXPENSE ACCOUNTS ARE MADE OUT, AS HEREINBEFORE PROVIDED, AMD VERIFIED ON OATH BEFORE AN OFFICER AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO ADMINISTER OATHS, THEY MAY BE ALLOWED AND, UPON CERTIFICATE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, PAID BY THE UNITED STATES MARSHAL FORSAID DISTRICT, AND THE AMOUNT OF SUCH PAYMENTS SHALL BE INCLUDED IN SAID MARSHAL'S ACCOUNTS WITH THE UNITED STATES, AND AUDITED AND ALLOWED AS PROVIDED BY LAW.'

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE STATUTE ABOVE-MENTIONED, WHICH WAS ENACTED SUBSEQUENT TO THE SO-CALLED " AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER ACT" ( PUBLIC LAW 389, 77TH CONGRESS, APPROVED DECEMBER 29, 1941), SPECIFICALLY PRESCRIBES THE PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED IN THE PREPARATION AND PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHERS OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE " AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER ACT" HAVE BEEN SUPERSEDED TO THE EXTENT THAT THE TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHERS OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE CERTIFIED BY AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER.

AS THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR THE ISSUANCE OF INSTRUCTIONS TO THE FIELD OFFICERS CONCERNED RELATIVE TO THE PREPARATION AND USE OF DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FORM 912, PRESCRIBED BY YOU FOR THE EXCLUSIVE USE OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 8, 1944, (COPY ENCLOSED), IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS MATTER BE GIVEN YOUR EARLY CONSIDERATION AND A RULING IN THE PREMISES FURNISHED THIS OFFICE AT THE EARLIEST PRACTICABLE DATE.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO BE APPOINTED FOR DUTY IN A PARTICULAR DISTRICT, 28 U.S.C. 481, AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO "FIX AND DESIGNATE THE PLACE OF OFFICIAL RESIDENCE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND OF EACH OF HIS ASSISTANTS.' U.S.C. 524.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 24, 1942, 56 STAT. 1089, PART OF WHICH IS QUOTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION PROVIDES IN ITS ENTIRETY, AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 3. THE ACT ENTITLED " AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUNDRY CIVIL EXPENSES OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1909, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," APPROVED MAY 27, 1908 (35 STAT. 317), AS AMENDED, IS HEREBY AMENDED BY AMENDING THE FOURTH PARAGRAPH OF THE SECTION ENTITLED " JUDICIAL, UNITED STATES COURTS" (35 STAT. 375, U.S.C., TITLE 28, SEC. 592), TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

THE NECESSARY EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS, WHILE ABSENT FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICIAL RESIDENCES AND NECESSARILY EMPLOYED IN GOING TO, RETURNING FROM, AND ATTENDING BEFORE ANY UNITED STATES COURT, COMMISSIONER, OR OTHER COMMITTING MAGISTRATE, AND WHILE OTHERWISE NECESSARILY ABSENT FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICIAL RESIDENCES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS SHALL BE ALLOWED AND PAID IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER: THAT THE ACCOUNTS OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS FOR EXPENSES HEREIN PROVIDED SHALL BE MADE OUT MONTHLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH RULES AND REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. AND WHEN SAID EXPENSE ACCOUNTS ARE MADE OUT, AS HEREINBEFORE PROVIDED AND VERIFIED ON OATH BEFORE AN OFFICER AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO ADMINISTER OATHS, THEY MAY BE ALLOWED AND, UPON CERTIFICATE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, PAID BY THE UNITED STATES MARSHAL FOR SAID DISTRICT, AND THE AMOUNT OF SUCH PAYMENTS SHALL BE INCLUDED IN SAID MARSHAL'S ACCOUNTS WITH THE UNITED STATES, AND AUDITED AND ALLOWED AS PROVIDED BY LAW.'

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 875, PROVIDES, SO FAR AS HERE MATERIAL:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, THAT HEREAFTER NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912 (37 STAT. 375; 31 U.S.C. 82), AND SECTION 4 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBERED 6166, DATED JUNE 10, 1933, DISBURSING OFFICERS UNDER THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT SHALL (1) DISBURSE MONEYS ONLY UPON, AND IN STRICT ACCORDANCE WITH, VOUCHERS DULY CERTIFIED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY CONCERNED, OR BY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE THEREOF DULY AUTHORIZED IN WRITING BY SUCH HEAD TO CERTIFY SUCH VOUCHERS; (2) MAKE SURE EXAMINATION OF VOUCHERS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER THEY ARE IN PROPER FORM, DULY CERTIFIED AND APPROVED, AND CORRECTLY COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS CERTIFIED; AND (3) BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE ACCORDINGLY.

SEC. 2. THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE CERTIFYING A VOUCHER SHALL (1) BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXISTENCE AND CORRECTNESS OF THE FACTS RECITED IN THE CERTIFICATE OR OTHERWISE STATED ON THE VOUCHER OR ITS SUPPORTING PAPERS AND FOR THE LEGALITY OF THE PROPOSED PAYMENT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND INVOLVED; (2) BE REQUIRED TO GIVE BOND TO THE UNITED STATES, WITH GOOD AND SUFFICIENT SURETY APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, IN SUCH AMOUNT AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, AGENCY, OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, PURSUANT TO STANDARDS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, AND UNDERSUCH CONDITIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY; AND (3) BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR AND REQUIRED TO MAKE GOOD TO THE UNITED STATES THE AMOUNT OF ANY ILLEGAL, IMPROPER, OR INCORRECT PAYMENT RESULTING FROM ANY FALSE, INACCURATE, OR MISLEADING CERTIFICATE MADE BY HIM, AS WELL AS FOR ANY PAYMENT PROHIBITED BY LAW OR WHICH DID NOT REPRESENT A LEGAL OBLIGATION UNDER THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND INVOLVED * * *.

SEC. 4. NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN SHALL APPLY TO THE DISBURSING FUNCTIONS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT, THE NAVY DEPARTMENT (INCLUDING THE MARINE CORPS), AND THE PANAMA CANAL, EXCEPT THOSE PERTAINING TO DEPARTMENTAL SALARIES AND EXPENSES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

AS THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IS NOT AMONG THE ESTABLISHMENTS EXCEPTED FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THE LATTER ACT, IT FOLLOWS THAT SAID ACT IS APPLICABLE TO THE EXPENSE VOUCHERS OF UNITED STATES DISTRICT ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS, EXCEPT SO FAR AS IT MAY BE RENDERED INAPPLICABLE BY SUBSEQUENT LEGISLATION.

I DO NOT FIND SUCH INCONSISTENCY OR INCOMPATIBILITY BETWEEN THE 1941 AND THE 1942 STATUTES, ABOVE NOTED, AS TO REQUIRE THE HOLDING "THAT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE " AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER ACT" HAVE BEEN SUPERSEDED TO THE EXTENT THAT THE TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHERS OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE CERTIFIED BY AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING FFICER" (QUOTING FROM THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER). RATHER, THE MORE REASONABLE VIEW WOULD APPEAR TO BE THAT THE EFFECT OF THE 1942 STATUTE IS TO CONSTITUTE THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY THE AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER--- FOR PURPOSES OF THE 1941 STATUTE--- IN RESPECT OF THE CASES TO WHICH THE 1942 STATUTE APPLIES, THAT IS, SO FAR AS CONCERNS THE MONTHLY TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OF HIMSELF AND THOSE OF HIS ASSISTANTS. ACCORDINGLY, IN THAT VIEW, THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY SHOULD CERTIFY VOUCHERS SUBMITTED ON FORM 912 IN THE SPACE PROVIDED FOR THE CERTIFYING OFFICER'S CERTIFICATE BUT AFFIXING AFTER HIS SIGNATURE HIS OFFICIAL TITLE AS UNITED STATES ATTORNEY.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, AND TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ,WHILE ABSENT FROM THEIR OFFICIAL RESIDENCES," THE OFFICIAL RESIDENCE OF THE CLAIMANT SHOULD BE STATED IN THE SPACE FOR "OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS.' THE WORD "RESIDENCE" SHOULD BE SUBSTITUTED FOR THE WORD "HEADQUARTERS," BOTH IN THAT SPACE AND IN THE CERTIFICATE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY AS CERTIFYING OFFICER.

AS FORM 912 APPROVED FEBRUARY 8, 1944, A-93726, IS LIMITED IN ITS APPLICATION TO THE EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OF UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS AND THEIR ASSISTANTS, THE QUESTION OF ITS REVISION TO CONFORM WITH THE FOREGOING WILL BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE IN DUE COURSE.