31 U.S. Code § 3526 - Settlement of accounts

(a) The Comptroller General shall settle all accounts of the United States Government and supervise the recovery of all debts finally certified by the Comptroller General as due the Government.
(b) A decision of the Comptroller General under section 3529 of this title is conclusive on the Comptroller General when settling the account containing the payment.
(c)
(1) The Comptroller General shall settle an account of an accountable official within 3 years after the date the Comptroller General receives the account. A copy of the certificate of settlement shall be provided the official.
(2) The settlement of an account is conclusive on the Comptroller General after 3 years after the account is received by the Comptroller General. However, an amount may be charged against the account after the 3-year period when the Government has or may have lost money because the official acted fraudulently or criminally.
(3) A 3-year period under this subsection is suspended during a war.
(4) This subsection does not prohibit—
(A) recovery of public money illegally or erroneously paid;
(B) recovery from an official of a balance due the Government under a settlement within the 3-year period; or
(C) an official from clearing an account of questioned items as prescribed by law.
(d) On settling an account of the Government, the balance certified by the Comptroller General is conclusive on the executive branch of the Government. On the initiative of the Comptroller General or on request of an individual whose accounts are settled or the head of the agency to which the account relates, the Comptroller General may change the account within a year after settlement. The decision of the Comptroller General to change the account is conclusive on the executive branch.
(e) When an amount of money is expended under law for a treaty or relations with a foreign country, the President may—
(1) authorize the amount to be accounted for each year specifically by settlement of the Comptroller General when the President decides the amount expended may be made public; or
(2) make, or have the Secretary of State make, a certificate of the amount expended if the President decides the amount is not to be accounted for specifically. The certificate is a sufficient voucher for the amount stated in the certificate.
(f) The Comptroller General shall keep all settled accounts, vouchers, certificates, and related papers until they are disposed of as prescribed by law.
(g) This subchapter does not prohibit the Comptroller General from suspending an item in an account to get additional evidence or explanations needed to settle an account.

Source

(Pub. L. 97–258, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 964.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised Section Source (U.S. Code) Source (Statutes at Large)
3526(a) 31:44(1st sentence). June 10, 1921, ch. 18, § 304(1st par.), 42 Stat. 24.
31:71(related to accounts). R.S. § 236(related to accounts); restated June 10, 1921, ch. 18, § 305, 42 Stat. 24.
31:538. June 5, 1920, ch. 240(3d par. under heading “Advances to Disbursing Officers”), 41 Stat. 975.
31:541. June 19, 1878, ch. 312, § 3, 20 Stat. 168.
3526(b) 31:44(1st sentence).
31:74(last par. words after 4th comma). July 31, 1894, ch. 174, § 8(1st par. less proviso, 3d par. 1st sentence words after semicolon, 4th par., 6th par. words after 4th comma), 28 Stat. 207, 208; Oct. 25, 1951, ch. 562, § 3(1), 65 Stat. 639.
3526(c) 31:82i. May 19, 1947, ch. 78, 61 Stat. 101; June 6, 1972, Pub. L. 92–310, § 231(ee), 86 Stat. 213.
3526(d) 31:44.
31:74(1st par. 1st sentence).
3526(e) 31:44(1st sentence).
31:107. R.S. § 291.
3526(f) 31:44(1st sentence).
31:74(2d par.).
3526(g) 31:44(1st sentence).
31:74(1st par. last sentence).

In the section, the words “Comptroller General” are substituted for “General Accounting Office” for consistency.
In subsection (a), the text of 31:538 and 541 is omitted as executed and obsolete. The words “either as debtor or creditor” in 31:71(related to accounts) and “and adjusted” are omitted as surplus. The last 17 words are added to restate that part of section 4 of the Act of July 31, 1894 (ch. 174, 28 Stat. 206), that was inadvertently repealed in the codification of title 5.
Subsection (b) is substituted for 31:74(last par. words after 4th comma) for clarity and consistency and because of the restatement.
In subsection (c)(1), the words “Effective three years after May 19, 1947” are omitted as executed. The words “monthly or quarterly . . . disbursing . . . or certifying” are omitted as surplus. The word “official” is substituted for “officer” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the United States Code. The words “a period of not to exceed”, “in each case”, and “involved” are omitted as surplus.
In subsection (c)(2), the words “final and”, “the expiration of”, and “date of” are omitted as surplus. The words “However, an amount may be charged against the account after the 3-year period when” are substituted for “to the extent that no further charges or debts shall be raised in such account thereafter except as to” for clarity and consistency.
Subsection (c)(3) is substituted for 31:82i(last proviso) to eliminate unnecessary words.
In subsection (c)(4), before clause (A), the words “Provided, That” and “Provided further, That” are omitted because of the restatement. In clause (A), the words “from any payee” and “to such payee” are omitted as surplus. In clause (B), the words “disbursing, accountable, or certifying”, “found . . . made”, and “as provided in this section” are omitted as surplus. In clause (C), the words “of his right at any time” and “existing” are omitted as surplus.
In subsection (d), the text of 31:44(last sentence) is omitted as executed. The words “final and” are omitted as surplus. The words “an account of the Government” are substituted for “public” for consistency. The words “On the initiative of” and “after settlement” are added for clarity.
In subsection (e), before clause (1), the words “is expended” are substituted for “has been or shall be issued, from the Treasury” for clarity. The words “the purposes of” are omitted as surplus. The word “country” is substituted for “nations” for consistency in the revised title and with other titles of the Code. The words “in pursuance of any law” are omitted as surplus. In clause (1), the word “duly” is omitted as surplus. In clause (2), the words “if the President decides the amount is not to be accounted for specifically” are substituted for “as he may think it advisable not to specify” for clarity. The words “to have been expended” are omitted as surplus.
In subsection (f), the word “settled” is substituted for “which have been finally adjusted” for consistency. The words “together with” are omitted as surplus.

The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.

The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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31 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

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4 CFR - Accounts

4 CFR Part 82 - FURNISHING RECORDS OF THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS

 

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