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1 No. 128.
A resolution of the House of Representatires, transmitting a statement of
erpenditures for the Signal Service from 1875 to 1881, inclusire.
MARCH 21, 18-2.--Referred to the Committee on Military Affairs and ordered to be
Washington City, March 18, 1882. Sir: In answer to resolution of the House of Representatives of February 9, 1882, directing the Secretary of War to transmit a full and detailed statement of all the items of expenditure for the support of the United States Signal Service which are made out of the annual appropriations for the support of the Army from the year 1875 to the year 1881, inclusive; also a statement how and by whom all the accounts of the United States Signal Service are audited, I beg to send herewith a tabulated statement by calendar years of the expenditures made from appropriations for the support of the military establishment for carry
the Signal Service, which includes expenditures from said appropriations in aid of the observation and report of storms, military telegraph lines, &c.; giving the heading of each appropriation from which such expenses are paid, and the amount expended thereunder.
In reply to the latter part of the resolution, the Chief Signal Officer reports “that the accounts of the United States Signal Service have always been kept in strict conformity with Army and Treasury Regullations. The usual accounts-current, abstracts of purchases, and expenditures and vouchers, were made up and forwarded to the office of the Chief Signal Officer, where they were carefully examined, and were, upon correction of errors, sent to the Treasury Department for final andit. Until November 10, 1881, the examination of these accounts in this office was made under the direction of the property and disbursing officer, who was himself the chief disbursing otficer of this service, and who examined his own accounts."
Such accounts are required, by section 3622 of the Revised Statutes, to be sent by mail, or otherwise, to the bureau to which they pertain within ten days after the expiration of each successive month, and, after examination there, shall be passed to the proper accounting officer of the
Treasury for settlement. It appears that they are not required by law to pass through the hands of the head of the department before transmittal to the Treasury Department, and such is not the practice in respect to the accounts in any of the heads of bureaus of the department; they go directly from the bureau to the Treasury.
In the case of the accounts of the Signal Service, “the chief disbursing officer” was stationed in the bureau in Washington, and until November 10, 1881, the examination of his accounts was made under the direction of the property and disbursing officer” of that bureau, himself the “chief disbursing officer,” which were approved by the Chief Signal Officer. This system has been changed since the latter date, by the assignment of another officer in the bureau to give administrative scrutiny and examination to the accounts of the disbursing officer, before approval by the Chief Signal Officer, in conformity to the requirements of the law. These accounts are audited in the Treasury by the Third Auditor, with the exception of such moneys as are paid from the appropriation for the Medical Department and the pay and general expenses of the Army, which are audited by the Second Auditor. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBERT T. LINCOLN,
Secretary of War. To the SPEAKER of the House of Representatives.
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