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Mr. O'CONNOR. I would like for this payroll to be admitted in the record as Gray exhibit 3.
(The above-referred to document was marked "Gray Exhibit 3" and received in evidence.)
By Mr. O'CONNOR: Q. Now, have you extended your audit beyond the original September 30 cutoff date?
A. Yes; we have in certain respects. We picked up the three vouchers that I mentioned before that have come in for payment now, and also we have posted some more tickets that we have gotten in from the airlines subsequent to the last report.
Mr. O'CONNOR. I don't think I have any further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hays. Off the record.
Mr. DICKINSON. I think for the record most of us know, but I would appreciate it if you would clear up the significance of a claimed per diem. What different procedure is needed and if a different statement is needed when one claims for per diem rather than just the travel ?
The Witness. Well, any traveler, generally any traveler who is traveling on official business may present a claim for subsistence for that travel.
Mr. O'CONNOR. Out-of-pocket expenses such as taxes ?
The WITNESS. That is right; general expenses, taxi, telephone calls and so forth.
Now, he can also claim on his voucher any travel expenses that he incurred, if he bought a ticket through his out of his own pocket he could reclaim that on the voucher. If he traveled by airline credit card, his travel does not normally-reference to his travel or ticket number doesn't normally appear on his expense voucher.
Mr. DICKINSON. My point, Mr. Gray, is that you and I are familiar with it, I think, but for the record what is the significance of whether or not per diem is claimed ?
The WITNESS. Well-
Any official travel that was performed, normally there would be a per diem or an expense voucher filed for that travel.
Mr. DICKINSON. Is there some further statement or sworn statement that a person has to make if they claim expenses other than they would have to if they had simply an airline ticket?
Mr. O'CONNOR. Mr. Dickinson, I think that will be developed by the witness Julian Langston when he appears this afternoon, as to procedures and the requirements. If we could hold that
Mr. DICKINSON. All right.
Mr. O'CONNOR. Because he is the one that does the auditing of the vouchers.
Mr. DICKINSON. I had assumed that a member from the GAO would be probably the one to develop this, but I don't care as long as it in the record.
Mr. O'CONNOR. I think the reason is that Federal travel regulations of the executive differ substantially from that of the legislative.
Mr. DICKINSON. It was his job to audit them. He ought to know what the regulations are. But go ahead. I don't care who puts it in. I want it in.
Mr.O'CONNOR. Are there any other questions?
Mr. O'CONNOR. Mr. Tayler will handle the interrogation of Mr. Langston.
Mr. HAYS. Fine.
JULIAN P. LANGSTON, having been duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
By Mr. TAYLER:
Q. Are you the chief clerk of the Committee on House Administration?
A. That is correct, sir.
Q. Now, sir, for the record and briefly, would you state the powers and duties of the Committee on House Administration as set forth in paragraph 9 of rule 11 of the House rules.
A. Rule 11, paragraph 9 of the Rules of the House describes the duties of the Committee on House Administration in full detail. Briefly, the duties consist of matters relating employment of persons by the House, expenditure of the contingent fund of the House, the auditing and settling of all accounts which may be charged to the contingent fund, accounts of the House generally, appropriations from the contingent fund, services to the House, printing and correction of the Congressional Record, Federal elections generally, travel of Members of the House, memorials, disposition of useless Executive papers, examination of bills after passage by the House and presentation of such bills to the President, and, with certain exceptions, matters relating to the Library of Congress, House Library, works of art in the Capitol, Botanical Gardens, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Q. Would you limit your answer, if you would, to the powers and duties of this committee as they relate to this particular investigation, Mr. Langston.
A. Matters relating to expenditures from the contingent fund of the House is the most direct answer I can give you.
Q. And the rest of the powers and duties are set forth in the rule?
A. That is correct.
Q. Now, again for the record, would you briefly describe your duties as chief clerk of the committee.
A. My duties as chief clerk are to examine vouchers for payment of various items charged to the committees and from the contingent fund of the House; to arrange meetings of the subcommittees and the full committee, and maintain the record. I am involved in carrying out functions for the committee relating to the duties set forth in rule 11, paragraph 9, of the House rules. I think that is in substance about what it amounts to.
Q. What kind of vouchers did you refer to that you said you reviewed ?
A. Vouchers for expenses incurred in connection with committee travel.
Q. You are speaking of all the committees of the House of Representatives?
A. All the committees of the House, yes, sir.
Q. And do you also review and approve on behalf of the committee the appointments to the other committees of personnel on investigative staffs ?
A. Yes, sir. The Committee on House Administration has that responsibility and I perform that activity for the committee.
There is one other type voucher I should mention at this time; that is, the payroll voucher. We approve the payroll vouchers for the investigating staffs of committees.
Q. Now, with respect to the payroll vouchers, will you describe how you handle and how you process within this committee a payroll voucher from another committee.
A. The payroll vouchers are basically prepared, all of the checking, the entries made in connection with the payroll vouchers, in the House Finance Office. When the completed vouchers are ready they are presented to the House Administration Committee, prior to payment, for signature.
These vouchers bear the signature of the chairman and the subcommittee chairman, when the Education and Labor Committee is involved and which is the requirement set forth in the fund resolution. The other vouchers do not come to the House Administration until a period of from 2 to 3 weeks after payday. Our function there is principally to approve the voucher for payment. We accept the findings and the figures of the House Finance Office. We don't go into the bookkeeping end of it.
Q. You mentioned that the signature of the chairman of the committee for whom the payroll is made up is contained on the payroll voucher.
A. The signature is contained. However, that signature is not always obtained until except in the case of Education and Labor and the subcommittees thereof, possibly the elapse of a period of 1 to 2 weeks after the pay has been made to the various employees.
Q. Does that signature of the committee chairman appear under a certification on the voucher form?
A. Yes, sir. There is a printed certification on the payroll form.
Q. Can you tell us in substance what the chairman of a committee certifies when he signs a payroll voucher!
A. Yes, sir. He certifies that the employee has performed the services as indicated in the payroll voucher and that the payment therefore is just and correct.
Mr. NEDZI. May I suggest that he furnish the specific language for the record ?
Mr. TAYLER. Will you get a sample of that certification for insertion in the record later, Mr. Langston? The WITNESS. Yes, sir; I will be glad to.
By Mr. TAYLER: Q. When you receive one of these payroll vouchers, take for example the House Education and Labor Committee, what kind of a review do you give that payroll voucher?
A. It is a rather cursory review because the figures are all worked out in the Finance Office. We check it to note the names that appear thereon, we note the signatures of the chairman and the subcommittee chairman, we date it and affix the signature of the chairman of the House Administration Committee then return it to the Finance Office for process.
Q. Do you make any investigation of the underlying basis of the voucher to determine whether the employee listed on the voucher for payment is in fact an employee of the committee, or whether that employee has performed any services for the compensation that he or she receives?
A. No, sir; we do not in the Committee on House Administration. We take the signature of the chairman as certifying to that fact, or those facts.
Q. Is it fair to say, Mr. Langston, that all you do in the processing of a payroll voucher from another committee is to check it for form only?
Å. That is correct. The payroll vouchers; yes, sir.
Q Now with respect to the other type of voucher you mentionedthat is, the voucher for travel, per diem, and related expenses-do all of those vouchers from the other committees pass through your office?
A. That is correct, sir, every one of them.
A. We review those vouchers carefully for possible errors in arithmetic. We review them for clarity, to be sure that the voucher clearly states the purpose of the payment. We check the signature of the payee. We check the signature of the chairman to be sure that it is properly worked up as to form.
Q. Do you make any investigation into whether or not the expense described on the voucher is a proper expense?
A. We do not go behind the signature of the chairman. We take the certification of the chairman as proof that the person who appeared and the services rendered are correct and proper. He certifies to it in the voucher.
Q. Let me put it another way. Perhaps you minsunderstood my question.
When you review one of these vouchers, do you look at the language to see whether the type of expense described therein is properly chargeable to the contingent fund?
A. Yes, sir; we do that. Q. But you do not make any inquiry or investigation to ascertain whether the expense was in fact incurred or whether the amount of the expense is correct; is that right?
A. That is substantially correct, Mr. Tayler. There is one point I would like to mention. Obviously if distance between two cities is listed and it is too much or not enough we double check. We check the distances, we check the amounts. But basically, we are concerned with the correctness and the propriety of the entry. If an entry is made for an item that is not chargeable, we send it back for correction.'
Q. Is it also fair to state, then, that the committee review that is conducted by you on an expense voucher is for form only?
A. That is correct.
Q. If there appears to be any item claimed thereon that is on its face improper, you would return the voucher to the committee that submitted it?
A. That is correct.
A. The voucher reaches us in original and two copies. We retain one copy with the supporting material, whatever it might be. We return the original and one copy to the House Finance Office.
Q. Do you, as your duties involve you as chief clerk of the committee, maintain files of committee correspondence?
A. The files of the committee correspondence relating to the House Administration Committee, we do.
Q. Did you bring with you at my request today a copy of a letter from Chairman Burleson to the Clerk of the House of Representatives regarding Y. Marjorie Flores, a clerk on Adam Clayton Powell's payroll?
A. Yes; I have a copy of letter dated May 24, 1965.
Q. Without reading the entire letter into the record, Mr. Langston, and we will put it in the record, would you briefly describe the contents of it?
A. The letter is directed to the Clerk of the House as the disbursing officer for the House, suggesting that there might be an irregularity in connection with the employment of Mrs. Flores as set forth in resolution which placed certain limits as to where an employee might perform his work for which compensation is paid. We asked the Clerk to review her situation and ascertain if there was a possible violation of the law which is set forth in a resolution.