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Section 67. Duty of General Accounting Office-Rules and regulations of Comptroller General; principles and practices to be considered.
(a) Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, the financial transactions of each executive, legislative, and judicial agency, including but not limited to the accounts of accountable officers, shall be audited by the General Accounting Office in accordance with such principles and procedures and under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Comptroller General of the United States. In the determination of auditing procedures to be followed and the extent of examination of vouchers and other documents, the Comptroller General shall give due regard to generally accepted principles of auditing, including consideration of the effectiveness of accounting organizations and systems, internal audit and control, and related administrative practices of the respective agencies.
(b) ***. Sept. 12, 1950, c. 946, Title I, pt. II, § 117, 64 Stat. 837.
CHAPTER 2.-AUDIT AND SETTLEMENT OF
Section 71. Public accounts to be settled in General Accounting. Office.
All claims and demands whatever by the Government of the United States or against it, and all accounts whatever in which the Government of the United States is concerned, either as debtor or creditor, shall be settled and adjusted in the General Accounting Office. R.S. § 236; June 10, 1921, c. 18, Title III, § 305, 42 Stat. 24.
Section 71a. Same; limitation of time on claims and demands.
(1) Every claim or demand (except a claim or demand by any State, Territory, possession or the District of Columbia) against the United States cognizable by the General Accounting Office under sections 71 and 236 of this title shall be forever barred unless such claim, bearing the signature and address of the claimant or of an authorized agent or attorney, shall be received in said office within ten full years after the date such claim first accrued: Provided, That when a claim of any person serving in the military or naval forces of the United States accrues in time of war, or when war intervenes within five years after its accrual, such claim may be presented within five years after peace is established.
(2) Whenever any claim barred by subsection (1) of this section shall be received in the General Accounting Office, it shall be returned to the claimant, with a copy of this section, and such action shall be a complete response without further communication. Oct. 9, 1940, c. 788, §§ 1, 2, 54 Stat. 1061.
Section 72. Same; settlement of accounts.
Accounts shall be examined as follows:
Second. [The General Accounting Office] shall receive and examine all accounts of salaries and incidental expenses of the office of the Secretary of the Army and all bureaus and offices under his direction, all accounts relating to the military establishment, armories and arsenals, national cemeteries, fortifications, public buildings and grounds formerly under the Chief of Engineers, rivers and harbors, the Military Academy, and to all other business within the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army, and certify the balances arising thereon to the Secretary of the Army.
Section 74. Certified balances of public accounts; conclusiveness; suspension of items; preservation of adjusted accounts; decision upon questions involving payments.
Balances certified by the General Accounting Office, upon the settlement of public accounts, shall be final and conclusive upon the Executive Branch of the Government, except that any person whose accounts may have been settled, the head of the Executive Department, or of the board, commission, or establishment not under the jurisdiction of an Executive Department, to which the account pertains, or the Comptroller General of the United States, may, within a year, obtain a revision of the said account by the Comptroller General of the United States, whose decision upon such revision shall be final and conclusive upon the Executive Branch of the Government. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the General Accounting Office from suspending items in an account in order to obtain further evidence or explanations necessary to their settlement.
The General Accounting Office shall preserve all accounts which have been finally adjusted, together with all vouchers, certificates, and related papers, until disposed of as provided by law.
Disbursing officers, or the head of any executive department, or other establishment not under any of the executive departments, may apply for and the Comptroller General shall render his decision upon any question involving a payment to be made by them or under them, which decision, when rendered, shall govern the General Accounting Office in passing upon the account containing said disbursement. July 31, 1894, c. 174, § 8, 28 Stat. 207; June 10, 1921, c. 18, Title III, § 304, 42 Stat. 24; Oct. 25, 1951, c. 562, § 3(1), 65 Stat. 639.
Section 82a-1. Relief of accountable officers of liability for loss.
The General Accounting Office is authorized, after consideration of the pertinent findings and if in concurrence with the determinations and recommendations of the head of the department or independent establishment concerned, to relieve any disbursing or other accountable officer or agent or former disbursing or other accountable officer or agent of any such department or independent establishment of the Government charged with responsibility on account of physical loss or deficiency of Government funds, vouchers, records, checks, securities, or papers in his charge, or to authorize the reimbursement, from any appropriation or fund available for purposes of the activity in which the loss or deficiency occurred, of amounts paid subsequent to August 1, 1947, by or on behalf of the officer or agent in restitution of the loss or deficiency, if the head of the department or independent establishment determines (1) that such loss or deficiency occurred while such officer or agent was acting in the discharge of his official duties, or that such loss or deficiency occurred by reason of the act or omission of a subordinate of such officer or agent; and (2) that such loss or deficiency occurred without fault or negligence on the part of such officer or agent. This section shall be applicable only to the actual physical loss or deficiency of Government funds, vouchers, records, checks, securities, or papers, and shall not include deficiencies in the accounts of such officers or agents resulting from illegal or erroneous payments. Whenever it is necessary in the opinion of the Comptroller General to restore or otherwise adjust the account of any disbursing or accountable officer or agent or former disbursing or other accountable officer for relief heretofore or hereafter granted under this section, the amount of such relief shall, unless another appropriation is specifically provided therefor, be charged to the appropriation or fund available for the expense of the disbursing or other accountable function at the time the adjustment is effected. As amended Aug. 9, 1955, c. 694, 69 Stat. 626.
CHAPTER 6.-DEBTS DUE BY, OR TO, THE UNITED STATES
Section 194. Compromise.
Upon a report by a United States attorney, or any special attorney or agent having charge of any claim in favor of the United States, showing in detail the condition of such claim, and the terms upon which the same may be compromised, and recommending that it be compromised upon the terms so offered, and upon the recommendation of the General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to
compromise such claim accordingly. But the provisions of this section shall not apply to any claim arising under the postal laws. Section 200. Documentary evidence of obligations-Requirement; character of evidence.
(a) After August 26, 1954, no amount shall be recorded as an obligation of the Government of the United States unless it is supported by documentary evidence of
(1) a binding agreement in writing between the parties thereto, including Government agencies, in a manner and form and for a purpose authorized by law, executed before the expiration of the period of availability for obligation of the appropriation or fund concerned for specific goods to be delivered, real property to be purchased or leased, or work or services to be performed; or
(2) a valid loan agreement, showing the amount of the loan to be made and the terms of repayment thereof; or
(3) an order required by law to be placed with a Government agency; or
(4) an order issued pursuant to a law authorizing purchases without advertising when necessitated by public exigency or for perishable subsistence supplies or within specific monetary limitations; or
(5) a grant or subsidy payable (i) from appropriations made for payment of or contributions toward, sums required to be paid in specific amounts fixed by law or in accord with formulae prescribed by law, or (ii) pursuant to agreement authorized by, or plans approved in accord with and authorized by, law; or
(6) a liability which may result from pending litigation brought under authority of law; or
(7) employment or services of persons or expenses of travel in accord with law, and services performed by public utilities; or (8) any other legal liability of the United States against an appropriation or fund legally available therefor.
Report by agency heads in connection with request
(b) Hereafter, in connection with the submission of all requests for proposed appropriations to the Bureau of the Budget, the head of each Federal agency shall report that any statement of obligations furnished therewith consist of valid obligations as defined in subsection (a) of this section.
Same; certifications and records; retention for
audit; prohibition against redelegation of
(c) Each report made pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall be supported by certifications of the officials designated
by the head of the agency, and such certifications shall be supported by records evidencing the amounts which are reported therein as having been obligated. Such certifications and records shall be retained in the agency in such form as to facilitate audit and reconciliation for such period as may be necessary for such purposes. The officials designated by the head of the agency to make certifications may not redelegate the responsibility.
Restriction on use of appropriations or funds
(d) No appropriation or fund which is limited for obligation purposes to a definite period of time shall be available for expenditure after the expiration of such period except for liquidation of amounts obligated in accord with subsection (a) of this section; but no such appropriation or fund shall remain available for expenditure for any period beyond that otherwise authorized by law.
Amounts to be included in statements of obligations
(e) Any statement of obligation of funds furnished by any agency of the Government to the Congress or any committee thereof shall include only such amounts as may be valid obligations as defined in subsection (a) of this section. Aug. 26, 1954, c. 935, ch. XIII, § 1311, 68 Stat. 830; as amended July 8, 1959, Pub. L. 86-79, Title II, § 210 (a), 73 Stat. 167.
ASSIGNMENT OF CLAIMS ACT
Section 203. Assignments of claims; set-off against assignee. All transfers and assignments made of any claim upon the United States, or of any part or share thereof, or interest therein, whether absolute or conditional, and whatever may be the consideration therefor, and all powers of attorney, orders, or other authorities for receiving payment of any such claim, or of any part or share thereof, except as hereinafter provided, shall be absolutely null and void, unless they are freely made and executed in the presence of at least two attesting witnesses, after the allowance of such a claim, the ascertainment of the amount due, and the issuing of a warrant for the payment thereof. Such transfers, assignments, and powers of attorney, must recite the warrant for payment, and must be acknowledged by the person making them, before an officer having authority to take acknowledgments of deeds, and shall be certified by the officer; and it must appear by the certificate that the officer, at the time of the acknowledgment, read and fully explained the transfer, assignment, or warrant of attorney to the person acknowledging the same. The provisions of this section shall not apply to payments for rent of post-office quarters made by postmasters to duly authorized agents of the lessors.