A-18499, MAY 18, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 748

A-18499: May 18, 1927

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ESTABLISHING A FOREIGN COMMERCE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE AND MAY NOT BE COMBINED INTO ONE FUND. IT IS THE PRACTICE AT THE PRESENT TIME. PROVIDES FOR THE VARIOUS CLASSES AND SALARIES OF THE CLASSES OF OFFICERS MENTIONED THEREIN AND YOUR DECISION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE APPROPRIATIONS MENTIONED ABOVE. ARE INTERCHANGEABLE. IF THESE APPROPRIATIONS WERE INTERCHANGEABLE. IT WOULD SIMPLIFY THE BUDGET OPERATION IN THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE IN THAT IT WOULD BE ABLE TO PAY FOR THE ENTIRE ACTIVITIES OF A FOREIGN OFFICE OUT OF ONE APPROPRIATION INSTEAD OF BEING COMPELLED TO DISTRIBUTE IT OVER TWO OR THREE APPROPRIATIONS AS IS THE PRESENT PRACTICE.

A-18499, MAY 18, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 748

APPROPRIATIONS - FOREIGN COMMERCE SERVICE THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE AVAILABLE TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1927, 44 STAT. 1394, ESTABLISHING A FOREIGN COMMERCE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE AND MAY NOT BE COMBINED INTO ONE FUND, BUT MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR SEPARATELY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, MAY 18, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MAY 9, 1927, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 7 OF THE ACT CREATING IN THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE A FOREIGN COMMERCE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, APPROVED MARCH 3, 1927 (PUB.NO. 768, 69TH CONG.), PROVIDES THAT FROM AND AFTER JUNE 30, 1926, ANY APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR COMMERCIAL ATTACHES, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, PROMOTING COMMERCE IN EUROPE AND OTHER AREAS, PROMOTING COMMERCE IN SOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA, AND PROMOTING COMMERCE IN THE FAR EAST, SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT, INCLUDING THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES.

IT IS THE PRACTICE AT THE PRESENT TIME, IN THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE, TO PAY ALL COMMERCIAL ATTACHES FROM THE COMMERCIAL ATTACHE APPROPRIATION, AND ALL TRADE COMMISSIONERS AND ASSISTANT TRADE COMMISSIONERS FROM THE THREE LAST-NAMED APPROPRIATIONS.

SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1927, SUPRA, PROVIDES FOR THE VARIOUS CLASSES AND SALARIES OF THE CLASSES OF OFFICERS MENTIONED THEREIN AND YOUR DECISION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE APPROPRIATIONS MENTIONED ABOVE, AS MADE AVAILABLE BY THIS ACT, ARE INTERCHANGEABLE. OTHER WORDS, CAN A COMMERCIAL ATTACHE OR ASSISTANT COMMERCIAL ATTACHE BE PAID FROM ONE TO THE "PROMOTING COMMERCE" APPROPRIATIONS, OR CAN A TRADE COMMISSIONER OR ASSISTANT TRADE COMMISSIONER BE PAID FROM THE COMMERCIAL ATTACHE APPROPRIATION? IF THESE APPROPRIATIONS WERE INTERCHANGEABLE, IT WOULD SIMPLIFY THE BUDGET OPERATION IN THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE IN THAT IT WOULD BE ABLE TO PAY FOR THE ENTIRE ACTIVITIES OF A FOREIGN OFFICE OUT OF ONE APPROPRIATION INSTEAD OF BEING COMPELLED TO DISTRIBUTE IT OVER TWO OR THREE APPROPRIATIONS AS IS THE PRESENT PRACTICE.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1927, 44 STAT. 1394, AFTER DECLARING THE DUTIES AND FIXING THE RATES OF COMPENSATION OF THE SEVERAL GRADES OF OFFICERS IN THE FOREIGN COMMERCE SERVICE ESTABLISHED BY THE ACT AND PROVIDING THE METHOD OF APPOINTMENTS AND FOR CERTAIN OTHER MATTERS CONNECTED WITH THE PERSONNEL OF THE SERVICE, PROVIDES IN SECTION 7 AS FOLLOWS:

ANY APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1926, AND THEREAFTER FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR COMMERCIAL ATTACHES, OR FOR PROMOTING COMMERCE IN EUROPE AND OTHER AREAS, SOUTH OR CENTRAL AMERICA, OR THE FAR EAST, SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT, INCLUDING THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES AND COMPENSATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES, IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR ELSEWHERE, * * *.

THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1927 AND 1928, ACTS OF APRIL 29, 1926, 44 STAT. 350, AND FEBRUARY 24, 1927, 44 STAT. 1200 1202, PROVIDE FOR THE FOLLOWING SUBHEADINGS HERE INVOLVED UNDER THE GENERAL HEADING "BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE.'

COMMERCIAL ATTACHES.

PROMOTING COMMERCE, EUROPE AND OTHER AREAS.

PROMOTING COMMERCE, SOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA.

PROMOTING COMMERCE IN THE FAR EAST.

THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN THE QUOTED PROVISION FROM THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1927, OR OTHERWISE IN THAT STATUTE OR IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS, OR IN THE REPORT ON THE BILL WHICH BECAME THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1927, SHOWING ANY INTENT TO SUSPEND OR RENDER INOPERATIVE THE PLAIN PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES, AS FOLLOWS:

ALL SUMS APPROPRIATED FOR THE VARIOUS BRANCHES OF EXPENDITURE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE SHALL BE APPLIED SOLELY TO THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPECTIVELY MADE, AND FOR NO OTHERS.

WHILE IT IS READILY APPARENT THAT AN ADVANTAGE FROM AN ACCOUNTING STANDPOINT WOULD RESULT FROM THE PROCEDURE SUGGESTED WHEREBY THE SEVERAL APPROPRIATION ITEMS MADE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF THE PERSONNEL OF THE FOREIGN COMMERCE SERVICE MIGHT BE CONSIDERED AS ONE FUND, I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY PROVISION TO THAT EFFECT, SUCH PROCEDURE WOULD BE IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES. IN THIS CONNECTION YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING QUOTATION FROM DECISION OF FEBRUARY 16, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 703, 705, ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE:

IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER YOUR REQUEST TO CONSOLIDATE THE APPROPRIATION ITEMS PROVIDED UNDER THE BUREAU HEADING INTO ONE FUND IS DESIRED IN ORDER TO LESSEN THE ACCOUNTING RESULTING FROM TRANSFER OF PERSONNEL BETWEEN THE APPROPRIATION ITEMS OR WHETHER IT IS MERELY THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE INCIDENT THERETO THAT YOU DESIRE TO CURTAIL. IF THE DESIRE TO LESSEN THE ACCOUNTING CONTROLS YOUR REQUEST, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY, THE SEVERAL AMOUNTS PROVIDED UNDER THE INDIVIDUAL APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE BUREAU HEADING MAY NOT BE COMBINED AND INCLUDED IN ONE GENERAL FUND FOR THE BUREAU AND COST OF PERSONAL SERVICES CHARGED TO SUCH GENERAL FUND RATHER THAN TO THE INDIVIDUAL APPROPRIATION ITEMS. THE SEVERAL APPROPRIATION ITEMS UNDER THE SEVERAL BUREAUS APPEAR ON THE BOOKS OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER SEPARATE HEADINGS, ON WHICH THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DRAWS HIS REQUISITION FOR FUNDS. WHILE THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNTS ON THE BOOKS OF THE GOVERNMENT DO NOT REFLECT THE TRANSFER OF PERSONNEL COSTS BETWEEN APPROPRIATION ITEMS, THE AUDIT REQUIRES THAT THE PAY-ROLL ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER INDICATE THE PARTICULAR APPROPRIATION TO WHICH THE COMPENSATION OF EACH EMPLOYEE IS CHARGED, IN ORDER THAT IT MAY BE PROPERLY DETERMINED WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN A COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES.

ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION SUBMITTED MUST BE AND IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.