A-14891, DECEMBER 31, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 429

A-14891: Dec 31, 1926

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PURCHASE OF SENATE HEARINGS - UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION THE COST OF ADDITIONAL COPIES PROCURED BY THE UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION OF THE DAILY TRANSCRIPT OF TESTIMONY TAKEN BEFORE A SENATE COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING THE COMMISSION IS NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION UNDER THE TARIFF COMMISSION. IT APPEARS THE COPIES WERE FURNISHED ON AN ORDER OF THE TARIFF COMMISSION DATED MARCH 25. ADVISING THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE TARIFF COMMISSION THAT HE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE CLAIM UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION. IT WAS STATED: IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD WHETHER THE COPIES OF HEARINGS FURNISHED BY THE FIRM THUS CLAIMING WERE THE TRANSCRIBED STENOGRAPHIC REPORTS ORIGINALLY MADE AT THE INSTANCE OF THE COMMISSION.

A-14891, DECEMBER 31, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 429

PURCHASE OF SENATE HEARINGS - UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION THE COST OF ADDITIONAL COPIES PROCURED BY THE UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION OF THE DAILY TRANSCRIPT OF TESTIMONY TAKEN BEFORE A SENATE COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING THE COMMISSION IS NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION UNDER THE TARIFF COMMISSION.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, DECEMBER 31, 1926:

THE FIRM OF DAY, FENSTERMACHER AND MACPHERSON HAS FILED CLAIM, THROUGH THE UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION, FOR $1,899.75 FOR TWO COPIES OF THE DAILY TRANSCRIPT OF TESTIMONY COVERING THE PERIOD FROM MARCH 23, 1926, TO JULY 1, 1926, BEFORE THE SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE INVESTIGATING THE TARIFF COMMISSION UNDER AUTHORITY OF SENATE RESOLUTION 162 OF MARCH 11, 1926.

IT APPEARS THE COPIES WERE FURNISHED ON AN ORDER OF THE TARIFF COMMISSION DATED MARCH 25, 1926, BASED UPON WRITTEN ACCEPTANCE ON THAT DATE OF VERBAL OFFER OF THE CLAIMANTS.

IN DECISION OF JULY 3, 1926, ADVISING THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE TARIFF COMMISSION THAT HE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE CLAIM UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION, 6," ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1208, IT WAS STATED:

IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD WHETHER THE COPIES OF HEARINGS FURNISHED BY THE FIRM THUS CLAIMING WERE THE TRANSCRIBED STENOGRAPHIC REPORTS ORIGINALLY MADE AT THE INSTANCE OF THE COMMISSION, OR REPRESENT THE PURCHASE OF COPIES OF REPORTS ORIGINALLY MADE UNDER DIRECTION OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE. EITHER EVENT, HOWEVER, IT WOULD APPEAR TO BE CLEAR THAT THE HEARINGS BY THE SENATE COMMITTEE RELATED TO THE PURPOSES OF THAT COMMITTEE ALONE, AND THEREFORE THE FURNISHING OF COPIES OF THOSE HEARING WOULD APPEAR NOT TO HAVE BEEN NECESSARY IN FURTHERANCE OF ANY PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE TARIFF COMMISSION WAS CREATED. THAT IS TO SAY, IT IS NOT APPARENT THAT THE COMMISSION WAS OBLIGED TO HAVE THIS REPORT OF HEARINGS CONCERNING ITSELF IN ORDER TO PERFORM ITS AUTHORIZED DUTIES. THEREFORE THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY THE EXPENSE OF FURNISHING THE COMMISSION WITH COPIES OF SAID HEARINGS.

ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE WITH THE RECORD DISCLOSURES THAT THE COPIES OF THE HEARINGS FURNISHED REPRESENT THE PURCHASE OF COPIES OF REPORTS ORIGINALLY MADE UNDER DIRECTION OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE MATTER THE TARIFF COMMISSION BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 6, 1926, SUBMITS THE FOLLOWING:

THE TARIFF COMMISSION FELT THAT, IN ORDER THAT ITS MEMBERS MIGHT PROMPTLY AND INTELLIGENTLY ASSIST THE SENATE COMMITTEE IN ITS INVESTIGATION, IT WAS NECESSARY THAT THE COMMISSION HAVE DAILY COPIES OF THE RECORD OF THE COMMITTEE'S HEARING. THE COMMISSION AT FIRST ORDERED COPIES FOR EACH OF ITS MEMBERS, BUT REDUCED THAT NUMBER WHEN IT WAS ASCERTAINED THAT THE COST THEREOF WOULD BE VERY LARGE. THE TRANSCRIPT WAS NOT OTHERWISE AVAILABLE.

IT BECAME APPARENT FROM THE BEGINNING THAT IF THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION WHEN CALLED UPON TO TESTIFY WOULD HAVE TO RELY UPON MEMORY AND NOTES MADE BY THEMSELVES OF THE PRECEDING SESSIONS, THE WORK OF BOTH THE COMMITTEE AND THE COMMISSION WOULD BE GREATLY HAMPERED, INCREASED, AND DELAYED.

DURING CERTAIN OF THE SESSIONS OF THE COMMITTEE, MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION WERE ENGAGED IN PUBLIC HEARINGS AT THE COMMISSION'S HEARING ROOM. THEIR ONLY INFORMATION OF THE COMMITTEE PROCEEDINGS WAS THROUGH THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE RECORDS.

THE COMMISSION FOUND THAT THIS ASSISTANCE WAS NECESSARY; THAT IT WAS STRICTLY CONSISTENT WITH THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE COMMISSION TO RESPOND HELPFULLY, INTELLIGENTLY, AND PROMPTLY TO THE REQUEST OF THE SENATE THROUGH ITS SELECT COMMITTEE. THE COMMISSION WAS NOT AWARE OF OBJECTION TO SUCH A COURSE.

SENATE RESOLUTION 162 AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED THE INVESTIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES TARIFF COMMISSION BY A SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE. THE HEARING, THEREFORE, WAS AN ACTIVITY OR FUNCTION OF THE SENATE, NOT OF THE TARIFF COMMISSION. THE QUESTION WHETHER COPIES OF THE REPORT OF THE HEARINGS HAD SHOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED TO MEMBERS OF THE TARIFF COMMISSION TO FACILITATE OR FURTHER THE PURPOSES OF THE HEARINGS WAS ONE FOR THE CONSIDERATION AND DETERMINATION OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE. IF THE ADDITIONAL COPIES OF THE HEARING HAD BEEN CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL BY THE COMMITTEE, THE COST THEREOF MIGHT HAVE BEEN A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE HEARING, BUT NOT AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION PROVIDED FOR THE ACTIVITIES OF, AND UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OF THE TARIFF COMMISSION. THAT IS TO SAY, WHERE A CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO INVESTIGATE AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, THE EXPENSE OF THE HEARING, INCLUDING THE EMPLOYMENT OF STENOGRAPHIC REPORTERS AND THE FURNISHING OF NECESSARY COPIES OF THE TRANSCRIPT OF TESTIMONY, IS EXCLUSIVELY A MATTER FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF THE COMMITTEE AND, THEREFORE, IS A CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION, IF ANY, AVAILABLE FOR THE COMMITTEE'S EXPENSES, AND DOES NOT DIRECTLY INVOLVE ANY ADMINISTRATIVE APPROPRIATION UNDER THE OFFICE WHICH IS BEING INVESTIGATED, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPRESS STATUTORY PROVISION TO THAT EFFECT. NO SUCH EXPRESS PROVISION APPEARS IN THE PRESENT CASE. THEREFORE, THE TARIFF COMMISSION EXCEEDED ITS AUTHORITY IN ATTEMPTING TO OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COPIES IN QUESTION.