National Institute of Food and Agriculture--Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grant Payment
B-322898, May 25, 2012
A certifying officer at the U.S. Department of Agricultures National Institute of Food and Agriculture requested an advance decision pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3529 on whether she may certify, without liability, an initial payment on a properly awarded grant where the agency official responsible for making the grant award identified issues with respect to and imposed special conditions to address the grantees financial condition. In this case, the certifying officer does not question the legality of the grant award or the payment. So long as there is no question about the legality of the grant award or payment under the award, a certifying officer may certify the payment without incurring liability. A certifying officers statutory liability does not extend to the exercise of discretion and judgment, which resides with agency program officials.