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Payment of Travel Costs to Witnesses During a Period of Lapsed Appropriations

Date of Issuance:

Where witnesses have been ordered to appear in court during a lapse in the Department of Justice’s appropriation, and lack the financial resources necessary to return home, there exists a sufficient likelihood that the witnesses’ safety would be compromised by not providing them the means to return home to warrant a cash disbursement for that purpose under the Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. § 665(b).

Under the interpretation of the Antideficiency Act in the Attorney General's opinion of January 16, 1981, emergency expenditures may be made during a lapse in appropriations if they are necessary to secure the safety of human life or the protection of property. The totality of circumstances must be examined and evaluated in each case to determine whether such emergency expenditures are permitted.

Updated July 9, 2014