B-9872, JUNE 6, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 976

B-9872: Jun 6, 1940

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THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR ADVANCE PAYMENT TO SUCH PERSONS OF FEES. WHO WERE SUBPOENAED TO APPEAR AS WITNESSES IN HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION. THEY WERE ADVISED THAT GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS COULD BE FURNISHED FOR TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER BUT ADVANCEMENTS COVERING MILEAGE BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND THE OTHER ALLOWANCES COULD NOT BE MADE. AS YOUR DECISIONS AND REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN CONSULTED WITHOUT DISCLOSING ANYTHING BEARING ON THE MATTER IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE COMMISSION BE ADVISED WHETHER AND BY WHAT PROCEDURE SUCH ADVANCEMENTS MAY BE MADE. THE ADVANCE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR ANY PURPOSE IS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3648. - THE ISSUANCE OF SUCH REQUESTS IS COMPATIBLE WITH THE QUOTED PROVISION OF THE STATUTE.

B-9872, JUNE 6, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 976

WITNESSES - TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AND CASH ADVANCES FOR FEES, ETC. TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS PROPERLY MAY BE FURNISHED TO OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES SUBPOENAED TO APPEAR AS WITNESSES IN HEARINGS BEFORE THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, BUT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR ADVANCE PAYMENT TO SUCH PERSONS OF FEES, PER DIEM, OR COST OF TRAVEL BY PRIVATE CONVEYANCE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, JUNE 6, 1940:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 25, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

RECENTLY THE COMMISSION RECEIVED SEVERAL REQUESTS FOR ADVANCES TO COVER MILEAGE, ATTENDANCE FEES, AND PER DIEM FROM PERSONS, OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, WHO WERE SUBPOENAED TO APPEAR AS WITNESSES IN HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION. THEY WERE ADVISED THAT GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS COULD BE FURNISHED FOR TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER BUT ADVANCEMENTS COVERING MILEAGE BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND THE OTHER ALLOWANCES COULD NOT BE MADE.

AS YOUR DECISIONS AND REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN CONSULTED WITHOUT DISCLOSING ANYTHING BEARING ON THE MATTER IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE COMMISSION BE ADVISED WHETHER AND BY WHAT PROCEDURE SUCH ADVANCEMENTS MAY BE MADE.

UNLESS OTHERWISE EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW, THE ADVANCE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR ANY PURPOSE IS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH STATUTE PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT---

NO ADVANCE OF PUBLIC MONEY SHALL BE MADE IN ANY CASE WHATEVER * * *.

INASMUCH AS THE ISSUANCE OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS DOES NOT INVOLVE THE ADVANCE OF MONEY--- PAYMENT NOT BEING MADE UNTIL THE TRAVEL HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED--- THE ISSUANCE OF SUCH REQUESTS IS COMPATIBLE WITH THE QUOTED PROVISION OF THE STATUTE.

IN SOME INSTANCES, THE CONGRESS HAS ENACTED STATUTORY EXCEPTIONS TO THE SAID SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES. SEE, FOR EXAMPLE, SECTION 8 OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 688, 689 (5 U.S.C. 821); ACT OF DECEMBER 5, 1924, 43 STAT. 672, 687 (31 U.S.C. 532) AUTHORIZING UNITED STATES MARSHALS TO ADVANCE FUNDS; ACT OF JANUARY 31, 1903, 32 STAT. 790 (43 U.S. CODE 103) ENTITLING WITNESSES BEFORE REGISTERS AND RECEIVERS OF THE LAND OFFICE TO PAYMENT OF THEIR FEES AND MILEAGE IN ADVANCE; ARTICLES OF WAR, 23, 41 STAT. 791, RELATIVE TO FEES AND MILEAGE OF CIVILIAN WITNESSES BEFORE MILITARY COURTS, BOARDS, ETC. HOWEVER, AN EXAMINATION OF THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934, 48 STAT. 1064 (47 U.S.C. 151), AS AMENDED, HAS FAILED TO REVEAL ANY PROVISION WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE ADVANCE PAYMENT OF FEES, PER DIEM, OR MILEAGE TO PERSONS SUBPOENAED AS WITNESSES BEFORE THE COMMISSION.

THEREFORE, WHILE I CONCUR IN THE VIEW SUGGESTED IN YOUR LETTER, TO THE EFFECT THAT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS PROPERLY MAY BE FURNISHED FOR THE USE OF PERSONS, OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, SUBPOENAED TO APPEAR AS WITNESSES IN HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION, IF THEIR TRAVEL IS TO BE BY COMMON CARRIER, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORIZED PROCEDURE WHEREBY CASH MAY BE ADVANCED OR OTHER PROVISION MADE FOR ADVANCING TO SUCH PERSONS THE AMOUNT OF FEES, PER DIEM, OR COST OF TRAVEL BY PRIVATE CONVEYANCE.