U.S Code last checked for updates: Jun 16, 2024
§ 3527.
General authority to relieve accountable officials and agents from liability
(a)
Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the Comptroller General may relieve a present or former accountable official or agent of an agency responsible for the physical loss or deficiency of public money, vouchers, checks, securities, or records, or may authorize reimbursement from an appropriation or fund available for the activity in which the loss or deficiency occurred for the amount of the loss or deficiency paid by the official or agent as restitution, when—
(1)
the head of the agency decides that—
(A)
the official or agent was carrying out official duties when the loss or deficiency occurred, or the loss or deficiency occurred because of an act or failure to act by a subordinate of the official or agent; and
(B)
the loss or deficiency was not the result of fault or negligence by the official or agent;
(2)
the loss or deficiency was not the result of an illegal or incorrect payment; and
(3)
the Comptroller General agrees with the decision of the head of the agency.
(b)
(1)
The Comptroller General shall relieve an official of the armed forces referred to in subsection (a) responsible for the physical loss or deficiency of public money, vouchers, or records, or a payment described in section 3528(a)(4)(A) of this title, or shall authorize reimbursement, from an appropriation or fund available for reimbursement, of the amount of the loss or deficiency paid by or for the official as restitution, when—
(A)
in the case of a physical loss or deficiency—
(i)
the Secretary of Defense or the appropriate Secretary of the military department of the Department of Defense (or the Secretary of Homeland Security, in the case of a disbursing official of the Coast Guard when the Coast Guard is not operating as a service in the Navy) decides that the official was carrying out official duties when the loss or deficiency occurred;
(ii)
the loss or deficiency was not the result of an illegal or incorrect payment; and
(iii)
the loss or deficiency was not the result of fault or negligence by the official; or
(B)
in the case of a payment described in section 3528(a)(4)(A) of this title, the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of the appropriate military department (or the Secretary of Homeland Security, in the case of a disbursing official of the Coast Guard when the Coast Guard is not operating as a service in the Navy), after taking a diligent collection action, finds that the criteria of section 3528(b)(1) of this title are satisfied.
(2)
The finding of the Secretary involved is conclusive on the Comptroller General.
(c)
On the initiative of the Comptroller General or written recommendation of the head of an agency, the Comptroller General may relieve a present or former disbursing official of the agency responsible for a deficiency in an account because of an illegal, improper, or incorrect payment, and credit the account for the deficiency, when the Comptroller General decides that the payment was not the result of bad faith or lack of reasonable care by the official. However, the Comptroller General may deny relief when the Comptroller General decides the head of the agency did not carry out diligently collection action under procedures prescribed by the Comptroller General.
(d)
(1)
When the Comptroller General decides it is necessary to adjust the account of an official or agent granted relief under subsection (a) or (c) of this section, the amount of the relief shall be charged—
(A)
to an appropriation specifically provided to be charged; or
(B)
if no specific appropriation, to the appropriation or fund available for the expense of the accountable function when the adjustment is carried out.
(2)
Subsection (c) of this section does not—
(A)
affect the liability, or authorize the relief, of a payee, beneficiary, or recipient of an illegal, improper, or incorrect payment; or
(B)
relieve an accountable official, the head of an agency, or the Comptroller General of responsibility in carrying out collection action against a payee, beneficiary, or recipient.
(e)
Relief provided under this section is in addition to relief provided under another law.
(Pub. L. 97–258, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 965; Pub. L. 104–106, div. A, title IX, § 913(c)(4), Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 411; Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title X, § 1009(c)(2), Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2635; Pub. L. 109–241, title IX, § 902(b)(3), July 11, 2006, 120 Stat. 566.)
cite as: 31 USC 3527