(a) The Director of the Government Publishing Office shall appoint from time to time a disbursing officer of the Government Publishing Office (including the Office of the Superintendent of Documents) who shall be under the direction of the Director of the Government Publishing Office. The disbursing officer shall (1) disburse moneys of the Government Publishing Office only upon, and in strict accordance with, vouchers certified by the Director of the Government Publishing Office or by an officer or employee of the Government Publishing Office authorized in writing by the Director of the Government Publishing Office 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 Publishing Office.
(b)(1) Upon the death, resignation, or separation from office of the disbursing officer, the accounts of the disbursing officer may be continued, and payments and collection may be made in the name of the disbursing officer, by any individual designated as a deputy disbursing officer by the Director of the Government Publishing Office, 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 Publishing Office or the estate of the disbursing officer 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 the deputy disbursing officer under paragraph (1) of this subsection, and the deputy disbursing officer is liable for any default occurring during the service of the deputy disbursing officer under such paragraph.
(c)(1) The Director of the Government Publishing Office may designate in writing officers and employees of the Government Publishing 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 such officer or employee, 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 the discretion of the Comptroller General, relieve such certifying officer or employee of liability for any payment otherwise proper whenever the Comptroller General 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 the Comptroller General 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 grant deductions.
(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.
Based on 44 U.S. Code, 1964 ed., §§52a, 63, 73 (part) (June 25, 1910, ch. 384, §1,
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.
"Government Publishing Office" substituted for "Government Printing Office" in subsecs. (a), (b)(2), and (c)(1) on authority of section 1301(b) of