Internal Revenue Service--Live Entertainment and Lunch Expense for National Black History Month
B-200017, Mar 10, 1981
GAO was asked for a ruling on whether to certify a reimbursement voucher covering payments for a performance by African dancers and for lunches for guest speakers at a ceremony observing Black History Month. The record showed that the African dance troupe's performance was part of a 3-day program designed to familiarize employees of the Buffalo Office of the Internal Revenue Service with the cultural history of Black people. In addition to the dance performance, the program consisted of displays of African artifacts and wearing apparel, posters depicting aspects of Black life, films, formal discussions of Black history, and the serving of Black ethnic food for lunch in the cafeteria. GAO held that, although previous decisions considered dance performances as nonallowable entertainment expense, it has recently adopted Office of Personnel Management guidelines under which such expenditures may be allowed provided the performance is part of a formal program designed to promote equal employment opportunity training objectives. As such was the case in this instance, payment may be certified for the live African dance troupe performance. Further, since Federal regulations provide the authority for payment of per diem or subsistence expenses for individuals serving without pay, the agency may be reimbursed for use of appropriated funds to buy lunches for guest speakers on the Black History Month Program.