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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
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.
4. It's you give Education of the
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?
A. 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 a 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.
MAY 24, 1965. Hon. RALPH R. ROBERTS, Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. ROBERTS: The Subcommittee on Accounts of the House Administration Committee recently conducted hearing on H. R. 7572, 89th Congress, which would prevent payment of compensation to persons employed by Members of the House of Representatives when such persons perform their official duties outside of the District of Columbia or Congressional district or home county of such Member.
In the course of the hearing it was brought out that Section 2 of H. Res. 294, 88th Congress, which passed the House on August 14, 1964, and which was continued in the 89th Congress by provisions of H. Res. 7, contained language designed to accomplish the same objective as H. R. 7572. The Subcommittee on ACcounts directed the Chairman of the House Administration Committee to inquire concerning the enforcement of this provision of H. Res. 294. This letter is directed to you as the Disbursing Officer of the House of Representatives.
The Committee is aware of at least one instance which appears to be in violation of this provision. There may be others. I refer to the employment of Y. Marjorie Flores whose name appears on the payroll of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell and who appears to perform her official duties in Puerto Rico. The three attached articles refer to this employment. In view of the apparent violation of Section 2 of H. Res. 294 and H. Res. 7, the Committee asks that you look into this matter to ascertain if there is a violation and, if so, take appropriate action to adjust in accordance with the law.
While it would be a monumental task to check each employee with respect to where that person performs official duties, it would be logical and feasible to canvass Members to obtain their certification of compliance with this requirement.
The Committee would like to hear from you regarding the employment status of Y. Marjorie Flores. The Committee would also like to ascertain your plans to eliminate any employment of persons who might currently be employed in violation of the provisions of H. Res. 294 and H. Res. 7. With best wishes, I remain, Sincerely yours,
OMAR BURLESON, Chairman. Q. Could that be marked "Langston Exhibit No. 1”?
(The above-referred to document was marked "Langston Exhibit No. 1” and received in evidence.)
Mr. TAYLER. I offer it now, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hays. Without objection, the letter may be inserted in the record at the proper place.
By Mr. TAYLER: Q. Mr. Langston, did you find in your committee files any reply from the Clerk of the House to Chairman Burleson to the letter that has just been admitted into the record ?
A. Yes, sir; on June 9 a letter was received addressed—June 9, 1965—a letter was received from the Clerk of the House addressed to Chairman Burleson that went into some detail concerning the matter.
Q. Again, without reading the entire letter into the record, would you describe in substance what the Clerk of the House's reply was?
A. In substance, the Clerk stated that when a Member of Congress certifies an employee to his payroll, then the Clerk has to assume that person is properly employed and he does not go behind the Member's signature. In substance, that is what his letter states. It is a fourpage letter.