Customs and Border Protection--Availability of Appropriations for Credit Monitoring Services
B-309604, Oct 10, 2007
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has requested a decision under 31 U.S.C. 3529 on whether CBP's Salaries and Expenses (S&E) appropriation is available to pay for credit monitoring services for employees in the New Orleans area who are, or may become, victims of identity theft in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Letter from Anthony L. Smith, Certifying Officer, CBP, to the Comptroller General of the United States, GAO, May 7, 2007 (Smith Letter). Credit monitoring service costs are personal expenses and, without express statutory authority, are not chargeable to agency appropriations, unless the government is the primary beneficiary of the expenditure. For the reasons explained below, we conclude that CBP's individual employees, not the government, would be the primary beneficiaries of the proposed credit monitoring. Accordingly, CBP's S&E appropriation is not available to pay for credit monitoring services for its employees.