Comptroller General Warren to A. N. Ross, B-29948

Decision Date07 November 1942
Docket NumberB-29948
Citation22 Comp.Gen. 460
CourtComptroller General of the United States

Appropriations - availability - employee's expenses of qualifying for admission to bar of court incident to government litigation it is the duty of an officer or employee of the United States to qualify himself for the performance of his official duties, and, therefore, in the absence of a provision in the applicable appropriation evidencing a contrary intent necessary expenses incident to the admission of a federal trade commission attorney to the bar of a United States circuit court of appeals, for the purpose of appearing in behalf of the government in a pending case, must be regarded as a personal obligation of the attorney not chargeable to appropriated funds.

I have your letter of October 29, 1942, as follows:

Acting under authority of the act "to fix the responsibilities of disbursing and certifying officers, and for other purposes, " approved December 29, 1941, 55 Stat. 875, section 3, effective April 1, 1942, there is respectfully presented for your decision a voucher representing a claim by Mr. Joseph J. Smith, jr., an assistant chief counsel of the federal trade commission, for reimbursement in the amount of$10.00.

This sum was paid by Mr. Smith on order of the United States circuit court of appeals for the tenth circuit, at denver Colorado, as a library fee for admission to the court's bar, a requirement of the court before recognizing Mr Smith's appearance to represent the federal trade commission in a case which had been filed against it notwithstanding his membership in the bar of the United States supreme court and of other courts.

In view of the legal aspects of this case your opinion is requested as to my authority to certify this claim for payment.

It has been the consistent holding of the accounting officers of the United States that an officer or employee of the government has upon his own shoulders the duty of qualifying himself for the performance of his official duties and that if a personal license is necessary to render him competent therefor, he must procure it at his own expense. See 23 comp. Dec. 386; 21 Comp.Gen. 769, and cases cited therein. Hence, the conclusion is required that the matter of the admission of the present claimant to the bar of the United States circuit court of appeals for the tenth circuit, even...

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