General Accounting Office

Fifth and F Streets NW
EXecutive 4621, Branch 55

Comptroller General of the United States Lindsay C. Warren
Assistant Comptroller General of the United States Frank L. Yates
Executive Officer Dudley W. Bagley
Special Assistant to the Comptroller General A.B. Thomas
Attorney-Conferee Charles M. Galloway
Chief, Planning and Budget Section John C. Nevitt
General Counsel J.C. McFarland
Chief of Investigations S.B. Tulloss
Chief Clerk Reed F. Martin
Director of Personnel E.Ray Ballinger
Chief, Claims Division David Neumann
Chief, Accounting and Bookkeeping Division J. Darlington Denit
Chief, Audit Division E.W. Bell
Chief, Postal Accounts Division Gary Campbell
Chief, Reconciliation and Clearance Division Vernon R. Durst
Chief, Index-Digest Section W.W. Prescott
Chief, Publications and Library Unit Mrs. Katherine P. Roscorla

Creation and Authority.--The General Accounting Office, which was created by the Budget and Accounting Act of June 10, 1921 (42 Stat. 23; 31 U.S.C. 41), took over the functions and duties of the six auditors and the Comptroller of the Treasury, as stated in the act of July 31, 1894 (28 Stat. 205), and other statutes extending back to the original Treasury Act of September 2, 1789 (1 Stat. 65; 5 U.S.C. 241). The scope of activities of the accounting officers of the United States was extended in the BUdget and Accounting Act of June 10, 1921, and has been further extended by subsequent legislation.

Purpose.--The purpose in creating the General Accounting Office was to secure, independently of the executive departments and other spending and collecting agencies of the Government, the uniform settlement and adjustment of all claims and accounts in which the United States is concerned, either as debtor or creditor.

Organization.--The act creating the General Accounting Office provides that it shall be independent of the executive departments and under the control and direction of the Comptroller General of the United States. The General Accounting Office includes the Office of the Comptroller General, to which are immediately attached the several administrative functions of the Office, as well as the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Investigations, and the following major divisions: Audit, Claims, Postal Accounts, Accounting and Bookkeeping, and Reconciliation and Clearance.


The General Accounting office is vested with all powers and duties previously conferred or imposed by law upon the former Comptroller of the Treasury and the six auditors of the Treasury Department, together with other specific powers and duties imposed by the Budget and Accounting Act of June 10, 1921, and by subsequent legislation.


Administration of General Accounting Office.--Under authority of the Budget and Accounting Act, the Comptroller General appoints and removes attorneys and other employees of the General Accounting Office. They perform such duties as may be assigned to them by him, all official acts performed by the attorneys and employees, when specially designated therefor by the Comptroller General, having the same force and effect as through performed by the Comptroller General in person.

Rules and Regulations.--The Comptroller General makes such rules and regulations as deemed necessary for carrying on the work of the General Accounting Office, including those for the admission of attorneys to practice before it; and he furnishes, under the seal of the Office, copies of records from books and proceedings thereof, for use as evidence in accordance with sections 882 and 886 of the Revised Statutes.

Countersigning of Warrants.--All warrants, when authorized by law and signed by the Secretary of the Treasury, become valid when countersigned by or in the name of the Comptroller General.

Accounting Forms, Systems, and Procedure.--The Comptroller General is required by law to prescribe the forms, systems, and procedure for administrative appropriation and fund accounting in the several departments and establishments and for the administrative examination of accounts of fiscal officers and claims, reporting to Congress upon the adequacy and effectiveness of such administrative examination.

Advance Decisions Required of Comptroller General.--Upon the application of disbursing officers, of the head of any executive department or any independent establishment not under the executive departments, or of certifying officers, the Comptroller General is required to render his advance decision upon any question involving a payment to be made by them or under them,or pursuant to their certification, which decision, when rendered, governs in the settlement of the account involving the payment inquired about.

Settlement of All Government Claims and Accounts.--The General Accounting Office is charged by law (with certain limited exceptions) with the settlement and adjustment, independently of the executive departments, of 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. The balances certified by the Comptroller General are final and conclusive upon the executive branch of the Government.

Preservation of Accounts and Vouchers.--The General Accounting Office preserves, with their vouchers and certificates, all accounts which have been finally adjusted.

Revision of Settled Accounts.--The COmptroller General may review on his own motion any settled account when it is in the interest of the United States to do so.

Recovery of Debts.--The General Accounting Office is required to superintend the recovery of all debts finally certified by it to be due the United States.

Reports of delinquencies in Rendering Accounts.--The Comptroller General is required by law to make annual reports to Congress


of officers and administrative departments and establishments delinquent in rendering or transmitting accounts, showing the cause, and in each case indicating whether delinquency was waived; also of officers found upon final settlement of their accounts to have been indebted to the Government, who at date of making report had failed to pay into the Treasury of the United States the amount of indebtedness, with the amount of such indebtedness in each case.

Investigations and Reports Relating to Public Funds.--It is the duty of the Comptroller General to investigate, at the seat of government or elsewhere, all matters relating to the receipt, disbursement, and application of public funds; also, to make recommendations to the President, when requested by him, and to Congress, concerning legislation necessary to facilitate the prompt and accurate rendition and settlement of accounts, as well as concerning such other matters as he may deem advisable in regard to the receipt, disbursement, and application of public funds and economy of efficiency in public expenditures. It is the duty of the Comptroller General also to furnish to the Bureau of the Budget such information relating to expenditures and accounting as it may request from time to time.

The Comptroller General is required to make investigations and reports when ordered by either House of COngress or by any committee of either House having jurisdiction over revenue, appropriations, or expenditures, furnishing assistants from his office to aid such committees when requested to do so, and to report to Congress every expenditure or contract made by any department or establishment in any year in violation of law. He also reports to Congress upon the adequacy and effectiveness of departmental inspection of the offices and accounts of fiscal officers, and is authorized by law to have access to and to examine any books, documents, papers, or records--except those pertaining to certain funds for purposes of intercourse or treaty with foreign nations--of all departments and establishments for the purpose of securing information regarding the powers, duties, activities, organization, financial transactions, and methods of business of their respective offices.


Lindsay C. Warren
Comptroller General of the United States


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