Federal Accountable/Funds/Grants Accounting and Auditing Act of 1950
Tables of Authorities Cited
*. A Note on Citations. *. Boards of Contract Appeals. *. Code of Federal Regulations. *.Court Cases. *.Department of Justice. *. Federal Register. *.Government Accountability Office. *.Public and Private Laws. *.Revised Statutes. *.Statutes at Large. *.Treasury Department. *.United States Code. *.United States Constitution.
31 U .S.C. § 1534
The “account adjustment statute,” 31 U .S.C. § 1534, authorizes an agency to temporarily charge one appropriation for an expenditure benefiting other appropriations within the same agency, as long as (1) amounts are available in the appropriation to becharged and in the benefiting appropriation and (2) the accounts are adjusted to reimburse the appropriation initially charged during or as of the close of the same fiscal year.
Agencies sought this authority to facilitate the acquisition of common services. The Bureau of the Census received this authority in 1962. Pub. L. No. 87-489, 76 Stat. 104 (June 19, 1962).
The Economy Act
Although the best known interagency authority is the Economy Act will not apply in the face of a more specific statute. E.g., 44 Comp. Gen. 683 (1965); B-301561, June 14, 2004 (nondecision letter); 6 Op. Off. Legal Counsel 464 (1982).
Deals solely withaccountability for funds by those classified as accountable officers. Other types of accountability — accountability by employees who are not accountable officers or accountability for property other than funds are covered in Chapter 13 in volume III of the second edition of Principles of Federal Appropriations Law.
Liability and Relief
It is important to distinguish between liability and relief. It is not the denial of relief that makes an accountable officer liable.
In 1846, Congress mandated that all government officials safeguard public funds in their custody. Act of August 6, 1846, ch. 90, § 6, 9 Stat. 59, 60. This statute still exists, in modernized form, at 31 U.S.C. § 3302(a).
“Relief” in this context means an action, taken by someone
with the legal authority to do so, which absolves an accountable officer
from liability for a loss.As an examination of the statement of the case in decisions such as United States v. Prescott, 44 U.S. (3 How.) 578 (1845), United States v. Thomas, 82 U.S. (15 Wall.) 337 (1872), and Smythe v. United States,188 U.S. 156 (1903), demonstrates, the terms of the bond were very similar to,
Assignment of Contract Payments
Under the Assignment of Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3727 and 41 U.S.C. § 15,
when a contractor assigns future contract payments to a financing
institution (assignee), the assignee must file written notice of the
assignment and a copy of the assignment with the pertinent disbursing
A disbursing officer is accountable for payments made by his or her
subordinates. However, relief may be granted under 31 U.S.C. § 3527(c) if the improper payment was not the resultof bad faith or lack of due care attributable to the disbursing officer personally.
A disbursing officer has the same statutory right as a certifying
officer to obtain an advance decision from the Comptroller General.
31 U.S.C. § 3529.
Certifying officers play a significant role in the accountability for public funds. Prior to enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-106, 110 Stat. 186 (Feb. 10, 1996), the military departments were subject to a different system of accountability. The certifying officer provisions in section 3528 of title 31 of the United States Code did not apply to them. See 31 U.S.C. § 3528(d) (1994).
FAR Part 32 Contract Financing Contract Financing
Contract Financing is covered in FAR Part 32 and is defined as the Government authorized payment of funds to the contractor prior to acceptance of supplies or services by the Government. Contract financing does not include invoice payments, payments for partial acceptance or lease or rental payments. Payments of invoices on cost-type contracts are not considered contract financing. Therefore, contract financing only applies to fixed-price contracts. [FAR Subpart 16.2 Fixed-Price Contracts (et seq.)] [48 FR 42219, Sept. 19, 1983, as amended at 60 FR 48248, Sept. 18, 1995].