§ 308. — Disbursing officer; deputy disbursing officer; certifying officers and employees.
[Laws in effect as of January 24, 2002]
[Document not affected by Public Laws enacted between
January 24, 2002 and December 19, 2002]
TITLE 44--PUBLIC PRINTING AND DOCUMENTS
CHAPTER 3--GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
Sec. 308. Disbursing officer; deputy disbursing officer;
certifying officers and employees
(a) The Public Printer shall appoint from time to time a disbursing
officer of the Government Printing Office (including the Office of the
Superintendent of Documents) who shall be under the direction of the
Public Printer. The disbursing officer shall (1) disburse moneys of the
Government Printing Office only upon, and in strict accordance with,
vouchers certified by the Public Printer or by an officer or employee of
the Government Printing Office authorized in writing by the Public
Printer to certify such vouchers, (2) make such examination of vouchers
as may be necessary to ascertain whether they are in proper form,
certified, and approved, and (3) be held accountable accordingly.
However, the disbursing officer shall not be held accountable or
responsible for any illegal, improper, or incorrect payment resulting
from any false, inaccurate, or misleading certificate, the
responsibility for which, under subsection (c) of this section, is
imposed upon a certifying officer or employee of the Government Printing
(b)(1) Upon the death, resignation, or separation from office of the
disbursing officer, his accounts may be continued, and payments and
collection may be made in his name, by any individual designated as a
deputy disbursing officer by the Public Printer, for a period of time
not to extend beyond the last day of the second month following the
month in which the death, resignation, or separation occurred. Accounts
and payments shall be allowed, audited, and settled, and checks signed
in the name of the former disbursing officer by a deputy disbursing
officer shall be honored in the same manner as if the former disbursing
officer had continued in office.
(2) A former disbursing officer of the Government Printing Office or
his estate may not be subject to any legal liability or penalty for the
official accounts or defaults of the deputy disbursing officer acting in
the name or in the place of the former disbursing officer. Each deputy
disbursing officer is responsible for accounts entrusted to him under
paragraph (1) of this subsection, and the deputy disbursing officer is
liable for any default occurring during his service under such
(c)(1) The Public Printer may designate in writing officers and
employees of the Government Printing Office to certify vouchers for
payment from appropriations and funds. Such officers and employees shall
(A) be responsible for the existence and correctness of the facts
recited in the certificate or other voucher or its supporting papers and
for the legality of the proposed payment under the appropriation or fund
involved, (B) be responsible and accountable for the correctness of the
computations of certified vouchers, and (C) be accountable for, and
required to make restitution to, the United States for the amount of any
illegal, improper, or incorrect payment resulting from any false,
inaccurate, or misleading certificate made by him, as well as for any
payment prohibited by law or which did not represent a legal obligation
under the appropriation or fund involved. However, the Comptroller
General of the United States, may, at his discretion, relieve such
certifying officer or employee of liability for any payment otherwise
proper whenever he finds that (i) the certification was based on the
official records and that such certifying officer or employee did not
know, and by reasonable diligence and inquiry could not have
ascertained, the actual facts, or (ii) when the obligation was incurred
in good faith, the payment was not contrary to any statutory provision
specifically prohibiting payments of the character involved, and the
United States has received value for such payment. The Comptroller
General shall relieve such certifying officer or employee of liability
for an overpayment for transportation services made to any common
carrier covered by section 3726 of title 31, whenever he finds that the
overpayment occurred solely because the administrative examination made
prior to payment of the transportation bill did not include a
verification of transportation rates, freight classifications, or land
(2) The liability of such certifying officers or employees shall be
enforced in the same manner and to the same extent as provided by law
with respect to the enforcement of the liability of disbursing and other
accountable officers. Such certifying officers and employees shall have
the right to apply for and obtain a decision by the Comptroller General
on any question of law involved in a payment on any vouchers presented
to them for certification.
(Pub. L. 90-620, Oct. 22, 1968, 82 Stat. 1240; Pub. L. 92-310, title II,
Sec. 210(b), June 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 204; Pub. L. 93-459, Sec. 1(a), Oct.
20, 1974, 88 Stat. 1384; Pub. L. 95-473, Sec. 2(a)(5), Oct. 17, 1978, 92
Stat. 1466; Pub. L. 97-258, Sec. 3(m)(1), Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat.
Historical and Revision Notes
Based on 44 U.S. Code, 1964 ed., Secs. 52a, 63, 73 (part) (June 25,
1910, ch. 384, Sec. 1, 36 Stat. 770; Feb. 20, 1923, ch. 98, 42 Stat.
1278; Pub. L. 86-31, May 26, 1959, 73 Stat. 60).
The last paragraph of this section is from former section 73; the
remainder of that section will be found in section 1702 of the revision.
Paragraph (a) deleted as executed.
1982--Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 97-258 substituted ``section 3726 of
title 31'' for ``section 244 of title 31''.
1978--Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 95-473 substituted ``section 244 of
title 31'' for ``section 66 of title 49''.
1974--Pub. L. 93-459 substituted ``Disbursing officer; deputy
disbursing officer; certifying officers and employees'' for ``Disbursing
officer: continuation and settlement of accounts during vacancy in
office; responsibility for accounts; disbursements for Superintendent of
Documents'' in section catchline.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 93-459 added subsec. (a). Former subsec. (a)
Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 93-459 redesignated provisions of former
subsec. (a) as subsec. (b)(1) and substituted ``by any individual
designated as a deputy disbursing officer by the Public Printer'' for
``by the deputy disbursing officer or officers designated by the Public
Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 93-459 redesignated provisions of former
subsec. (b) as subsec. (b)(2) and substituted ``paragraph (1) of this
subsection'' for ``subsection (a) of this section'', and ``under such
paragraph'' for ``under subsection (a) of this section''.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 93-459 added subsec. (c). Former subsec. (c),
relating to disbursements on account of salaries or other expenses of
the office of the Superintendent of Documents, was struck out.
1972--Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 92-310 struck out provisions which
related to sureties on official bonds.