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Q. Will you briefly describe your duties as chief clerk of the Education and Labor Committee, particularly any duties you have relating to the handling of travel tickets and expense vouchers?
A. A brief outline of my duties, sir, are to attend all meetings of the full committee and other meetings as directed;
Record and hold for safekeeping record of all record sheets taken at the meetings;
See that minutes of the meetings reflect the proceedings and hold them in safekeeping;
See that notices of all meetings and caucuses are sent to the members of the committee;
Arrange adequate meeting space for the full committee, the subcommittee, the ad hocs and task forces as requested;
Notify members of meetings before House Administration and Rules Committee of particular interest to them;
Announce meetings and reports of the meetings to the Digest and the Press Gallery;
Prepare and present to the Clerk of the House, the Committee on House Administration, the Rules Committee and the chairman monthly, semiannual, and annual reports as required;
Notify the Rules Committee of legislation reported by the full committee, and request hearings as directed;
See that reports are filed in accordance with committee instructions when legislation is reported;
See that these reports are filed in the House;
Maintain accounting of expenditure of funds and process vouchers as authorized;
See that adequate equipment and supplies are furnished the full committee and our branches as required;
Supervise the preparation and distribution of all printing for the committee.
Mr. Hays. Let's go off the record.
By Mr. TAYLER : Q. Mrs. Dargans, you said that among other duties you process vouchers as authorized.
Would you explain what vouchers you are referring to and what sort of processing you give them?
A. All vouchers, because all vouchers would have to do with expenditure of funds. They come to me from the chairman's office, the office of the minority, and from the offices of our several subcommittees, ad hocs, and task forces. We have a control in my office where we indicate the expenditures against the allotment.
Q. Is that the only review that you make of these vouchers, to check the amount of the voucher!
A. Strictly a figure review.
Q. Let me finish it. Check the voucher against the amount of the appropriation available? A. Yes.
Mr. Hays. Mrs. Dargans, you do not make any attempt when you process these vouchers to verify the expenditure that was actually made?
The WITNESS. No; other than meeting the requirement of House Administration that the proper receipts be attached to the vouchers.
Mr. Hays. But if a person sends through a voucher with the proper receipts and with an airline ticket, we will say, for a hypothetical question, and asks to be reimbursed, so long as everything is in order from the appearance of it, you process it!
The WITNESS. And provided I get from the subcommittees the signatures from the subcommittee chairmen, and the initials of the ranking minority member. I need either a signature or a memo or word from the chairmen that that voucher is in order.
Mr. Hays. Do you know whether other committees follow that same procedure, or is this a special procedure with the House Education and Labor Committee?
The WITNESS. This is just a procedure which we devised. We haven't been afforded the opportunity to compare our method of control.
Mr. Hays. Wasn't there something in your appropriation-I am speaking from memory, but it seems to me there was some dispute about your appropriation between the majority and the minority, and some subcommittee chairmen, and didn't the House Administration Committee say that, "We will give you the money provided it is allocated so much to each subcommittee, and expenditures from those subcommittees have to have the subcommittee chairman's signature in addition to the full committee"?
The WITNESS. That is right. That is why I mention the special units which had to have the signatures of those chairmen, and the minority had the initials of the ranking minority member.
The full committee gets 70 percent of the allotment. The minority gets 30 percent. The subcommittees get money as outlined in the resolution. Mr. Hays. Thank you.
By Mr. TAYLER: Q. Mrs. Dargans, when you receive a voucher for processing in your office-let's take, for example, the voucher for travel by one of the committee staff members do you check the supporting data, such as receipts for automobile rental and things of that sort? Do you check other supporting data, such as airline transportation receipts, to see if they are in order and whether they match up with the items on the voucher?
A. Yes, we do, because if these receipts are not in order, they would be returned by House Administration unpaid unless the proper supporting data accompanied the voucher.
Q. When you check a voucher that has airline-travel expense on it, what would be attached to that voucher to support the claim for payment for the airline ticket?
A. A voucher which claimed reimbursement of airline travel would have to have the receipt or the coupon left from the ticket.
Q. A traveler's coupon?
Q. And you would check that to see whether it coincided with the name of the person submitting the expense voucher?
Q. Do you also receive in connection with the performance of your duties requests from staff employees to purchase airline tickets for their travel on your credit card ?
A. Well, may I preface my remark by saying that if I received a request from a staff member, I would check back with the chairman to find out if that request was authorized. The request would come to me in a memo “The chairman has authorized such and such."
I would then proceed to make out a travel request and send it over to the airline ticket office for the ticket to be made up and delivered back to my office for delivery to the staff member.
Q. How is the actual airline ticket delivered to the staff member after you receive it from the airline office?
A. They are called to either pick it up or if the chairman has asked me to order a certain ticket and send it over his office, I would do that either send it to the chairman's office or deliver it to the stuff member. I have a T-4 in my office that is signed as a receipt when the ticket is picked up.
Q. In other words, the person who receives the ticket, the person who is scheduled to perform the travel, has to receipt for it by signature on a form that you have in your office? A. Yes. That's for tickets that are purchased on my card.
Mr. Hays. I am asking this, Mrs. Dargans, because I am unfamiliar with this procedure. You say you make out a request and send it over to the airline ticket office?
The WITNESS. Yes.
your card along with it?
The WITNESS. Heretofore I went over to the airline ticket office with my card and had several requests stamped with my card, so that when I sent the request over, my card did not have to go along with it, just this request. Mr. Hays. I see.
The WITNESS. A little later another control was put on the ticket; that the signed travel request, along with the card—this was the chairman's order—would have to go over to the airline ticket office for every ticket that was issued. In other words, I
Mr. TAYLER. When was this? Mr. Chairman-
The WITNESS. As closely as I can recall, some months ago. I am sorry I can't pinpoint it as to the exact time.
Mr. Hays. It has been a matter of some months ?
By Mr. TAYLER: Q. When you say that a transportation request is sent over to the airline ticket office here in the Capitol, are you referring to this airline-Eastern Airlines—form for transportation receipt, universal air travel plan?
Would you like to look at one of these?
Q. That is not a ticket. That is a transportation receipt, as it is called, which is like a charge receipt. Isn't that correct?
Q. And it bears your credit card stamp in the lower right-hand corner and shows the name of the traveler in the upper left-hand corner, and it also shows the travel that is to be performed on the ticket to be issued against that form? A. Yes.
By Mr. O'CONNOR:
If one of these forms is issued, then when they issue the ticket, your credit card stamp would not necessarily appear on the ticket, would it?
The WITNESS. No; I don't believe so.
Mr. Hays. We have seen some tickets here that had this number on them, but didn't have the imprint of your ticket.
The WITNESS. I know.
Mr. Hays. I am not trying to confuse you. What I am trying to find out for myself is that nobody could just take that number, get hold of your number, and walk over there and get a ticket and say, "I want this charged to credit card so-and-so," could they?
The WITNESS. I don't know, Mr. Hays. Once I got a receipt back where the imprint of my card had been just printed in on a request, and that had been honored. I didn't know about it.
Mr. Hays. I am not sure it could happen, but this is what we want to try to find out and ask Eastern Air Lines if it could happen.
The point I make here is, could anybody get a ticket without anybody on the committee knowing about it?
The WITNESS. It so happened that that particular travel was authorized. It was for a member, but a member of that member's staff went over and picked up the ticket in that fashion.
I say now they did tell me about it, but they didn't have my card, nor did I know about the authorization for the ticket beforehand.
By Mr. TAYLER: Mrs. Dargans, did you ever lend your credit card to anyone during the period of the 89th Congress?
A. Yes: I did.
A. On March 28, 1965, Chairman Powell requested me to use my travel card and purchase four one-way shuttle tickets, Washington to New York City, in the names of four staff members and turn them over to a staff member of his congressional staff.
I accompanied the staff member to the airport, since it was impossible for me to follow my normal procedure of securing tickets from the Capitol airline ticket office.
The Eastern Air Line agent at the airport informed me that shuttle tickets could not be purchased on a credit card before boarding the flight. They had to be purchased in flight.
gave my credit card to the congressional staff member at the airport.
Q. Would you identify that staff member by name?
By Mr. O'CONNOR:
By Mr. TAYLER:
Mr. Hays. Just a minute. You just said you didn't buy a ticket because
you couldn't. You loaned your card, and those are the names they bought the tickets under.
The WITNESS. I gave my credit card to Mrs. Upshur at the airport with the assurance from her that she would make the four purchases in flight, return the card to me as soon as she reached New York, which she did.
I reported my action to the chairman. The chairman had already told me to buy these tickets. When I found that I couldn't buy them, I told him what I had done.
When the Eastern statement arrived, I noted from the coupons that Mrs. Upshur had made only the purchases in flight, as requested by the chairman. This was the one rare instance in which I have let another staff member, or anyone other than myself, have my card. And I did this at the direct instruction of the chairman.
By Mr. TAYLER:
By Mr. O'CONNOR: