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An Army finance and accounting officer asked whether the government may make a direct payment to a car rental agency for the required deductible amount stated in the rental contract for damages to a rental vehicle. An accident occurred while an unauthorized member was driving the car to a drug store to obtain medication. GAO found that: (1) most Army commands require that members share a car when a group travels to a temporary duty site; (2) travel for the sustenance, health, or comfort of a member is considered travel for official purposes when it involves the use of a government-controlled vehicle; and (3) either a member or a car rental agency may be reimbursed for a rental contract deductible pursuant to damages sustained in the performance of official duty. Accordingly, the voucher payable to the car rental agency may be paid.


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