A-12943, FEBRUARY 18, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 645

A-12943: Feb 18, 1926

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THE PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES AND DUES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU IN A LIVESTOCK ASSOCIATION IS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26. IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF REGISTERING THOROUGHBRED STOCK IN AN ASSOCIATION IN ORDER TO REALIZE A HIGHER RESALE VALUE. THE NET PROCEEDS OF ALL SALES REALIZED BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU ARE TO BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. AS FOLLOWS: IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE HOSPITAL FACILITIES OF THIS BUREAU THERE HAVE BEEN MAINTAINED HERDS OF THOROUGHBRED STOCK (CATTLE AND SWINE) BELONGING TO THE BUREAU. IT HAS BEEN THOUGHT ADVISABLE TO REGISTER SUCH THOROUGHBRED CATTLE AND SWINE IN ORDER THAT THE BUREAU MAY HAVE A CERTIFIED PEDIGREE OF THE ANIMALS IN THE EVENT IT DESIRES TO DISPOSE OF ANY OF THEM SO THAT A HIGHER RATE MAY BE RECEIVED FROM THEIR SALE.

A-12943, FEBRUARY 18, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 645

CONVENTIONS, ASSOCIATIONS, AND SOCIETIES - MEMBERSHIP FEES AND DUES IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION THEREFOR, OR EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION, THE PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES AND DUES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU IN A LIVESTOCK ASSOCIATION IS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184. THE APPROPRIATION OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1210, IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF REGISTERING THOROUGHBRED STOCK IN AN ASSOCIATION IN ORDER TO REALIZE A HIGHER RESALE VALUE. UNDER SECTION 29 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 615, THE NET PROCEEDS OF ALL SALES REALIZED BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU ARE TO BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, FEBRUARY 18, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 29, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE HOSPITAL FACILITIES OF THIS BUREAU THERE HAVE BEEN MAINTAINED HERDS OF THOROUGHBRED STOCK (CATTLE AND SWINE) BELONGING TO THE BUREAU. IT HAS BEEN THOUGHT ADVISABLE TO REGISTER SUCH THOROUGHBRED CATTLE AND SWINE IN ORDER THAT THE BUREAU MAY HAVE A CERTIFIED PEDIGREE OF THE ANIMALS IN THE EVENT IT DESIRES TO DISPOSE OF ANY OF THEM SO THAT A HIGHER RATE MAY BE RECEIVED FROM THEIR SALE, AND IT HAS BEEN PROPOSED THAT THE BUREAU TAKE MEMBERSHIP IN THE AMERICAN DUROC JERSEY ASSOCIATION AND THE HOLSTEIN FRIESIAN ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, BOTH ORGANIZATIONS MAINTAINED FOR THE REGISTRATION OF THOROUGHBRED STOCK, THE MEMBERSHIPS TO RESULT IN THE BENEFIT OF HAVING THE BUREAU'S STOCK REGISTERED AT A LOWER COST PER ANIMAL THAN THE CHARGE MADE FOR REGISTERING ANIMALS BELONGING TO NONMEMBERS, WITH A TOTAL SAVING IN A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT.

IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912 (37 STAT. 184), THE AUTHORITY OF THIS BUREAU TO TAKE SUCH MEMBERSHIPS SEEMS DOUBTFUL, THOUGH THIS MEMBERSHIP WILL BE EXERCISED BY THE BUREAU AS A GOVERNMENT AGENCY RATHER THAN BY AN INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE.

YOUR DECISION ON THIS QUESTION IS ACCORDINGLY REQUESTED AND ALSO ON THE QUESTION WHETHER, IF UNABLE TO TAKE MEMBERSHIPS IN THE ASSOCIATIONS NAMED, THE BUREAU CAN LEGALLY PAY FEES CHARGED BY THESE ASSOCIATIONS FOR REGISTERING THOROUGHBRED SWINE AND CATTLE BELONGING TO THE BUREAU.

THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, PROVIDES:

SEC. 8. NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE EXPENDED FOR MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES OR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION OR FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE OF ANY PERSON AT ANY MEETING OR CONVENTION OF MEMBERS OF ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION UNLESS SUCH FEES, DUES, OR EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUCH PURPOSES OR ARE PROVIDED FOR IN EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION.

THERE APPEARS TO BE NO APPROPRIATION OR FUND UNDER YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL PROVIDING SPECIFICALLY FOR SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE HERE INVOLVED. THEREFORE, THE PROVISION ABOVE QUOTED CLEARLY WOULD PROHIBIT THE PROPOSED FEES OR DUES FOR MEMBERSHIP IN EITHER OF THE ASSOCIATIONS MENTIONED IF TAKEN IN THE NAME OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU. 24 COMP. DEC. 473. AND ASIDE FROM SAID PROHIBITION THERE IS NO EXISTING LAW WHICH CAN BE CONSTRUED AS REQUIRING YOUR BUREAU TO ENGAGE IN THE RAISING AND SELLING OF CATTLE AND SWINE. YOU STATE THAT THE MAINTENANCE OF SUCH LIVESTOCK HAS BEEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF HOSPITAL FACILITIES, UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1210, WHICH PROVIDES:

* * * FOR MEDICAL, SURGICAL, DENTAL, DISPENSARY, AND HOSPITAL SERVICES AND FACILITIES, CONVALESCENT CARE, NECESSARY AND REASONABLE AFTER CARE, WELFARE OF, NURSING, PROSTHETIC APPLIANCES, MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS, FUNERAL AND OTHER INCIDENTAL EXPENSES (INCLUDING TRANSPORTATION OF REMAINS), TRAVELING EXPENSES, AND SUPPLIES, AND NOT EXCEEDING $100,000 FOR LIBRARY BOOKS, MAGAZINES, AND PAPERS FOR BENEFICIARIES OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, INCLUDING COURT COSTS AND OTHER EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PROCEEDINGS HERETOFORE OR HEREAFTER TAKEN FOR COMMITMENT OF MENTALLY INCOMPETENT PERSONS TO HOSPITALS FOR THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF THE INSANE, $35,000,000.

IT IS NOT APPARENT WHAT BENEFIT COULD ACCRUE TO THE OBJECTS OR THE SERVICE FOR WHICH THIS APPROPRIATION IS MADE FROM EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO THE REGISTERING OF LIVESTOCK. APPARENTLY THE MAIN REASON FOR REGISTERING THE STOCK WOULD BE THAT IN THE EVENT OF SALE, A HIGHER PRICE WOULD BE RECEIVED THEREFROM. WHILE THE HIGHER SALE VALUE MIGHT RESULT IN A BENEFIT TO THE UNITED STATES IT WOULD NOT FURTHER THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED WAS MADE, AS THE NET PROCEEDS OF ALL SALES ARE REQUIRED BY SECTION 29 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 615, TO BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. THIS PROVISION REPEALED THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 13, 1923, 42 STAT. 1244, AUTHORIZING SUCH RECEIPTS TO BE COVERED INTO THE RESPECTIVE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE BUREAU AND TO BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUCH APPROPRIATIONS. DECISION OF MAY 24, 1923, A.D. 7564 (RECONSIDERATION), IS NO LONGER APPLICABLE TO SUCH RECEIPTS.

IT MUST BE AND IS HELD, THEREFORE, THAT NEITHER THE COST OF THE MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES REFERRED TO, NOR ANY OTHER EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE REGISTERING OF LIVESTOCK OWNED IN CONNECTION WITH THE BUREAU'S HOSPITAL OR OTHER ACTIVITIES IS A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST ANY APPROPRIATION OR FUND UNDER YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL.