A-20552, NOVEMBER 28, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 357

A-20552: Nov 28, 1927

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FAIRS AND EXHIBITS - PARTICIPATION IN BY BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS THE APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDED FOR CARRYING INTO EFFECT THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY STATUTES ARE AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PARTICIPATION IN FAIRS AND EXHIBITS BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS TO DIFFUSE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES USEFUL INFORMATION ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH THE LAWFUL WORK OF THE BUREAU. SETTLEMENT WAS MADE IN THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF YOUR OFFICE OF TWO CLAIMS. THE APPROPRIATION DESIGNATED FOR CHARGE WAS THAT FOR "FEDERAL HIGHWAY SYSTEM. ASKING WHAT PROVISION OF THE ACT WAS IN MIND AS AUTHORITY FOR THE EXPENDITURE. SECTION 21 OF THE ACT WAS QUOTED IN ART. THAT IS. IT WAS SUBMITTED THAT AN EXHIBITION AND DEMONSTRATION OF DEPARTMENT EQUIPMENT AND PROCESSES BEFORE A LARGE GROUP OF ROAD BUILDERS REPRESENTING THE INDUSTRY THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES WAS A "PUBLICATION" OF RESULTS WITHIN THE FAIR INTENDMENT OF THE TERM.

A-20552, NOVEMBER 28, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 357

FAIRS AND EXHIBITS - PARTICIPATION IN BY BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS THE APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDED FOR CARRYING INTO EFFECT THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY STATUTES ARE AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PARTICIPATION IN FAIRS AND EXHIBITS BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS TO DIFFUSE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES USEFUL INFORMATION ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH THE LAWFUL WORK OF THE BUREAU.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, NOVEMBER 28, 1927:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 10, 1927, AS FOLLOWS:

ON JULY 27, 1927, SETTLEMENT WAS MADE IN THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF YOUR OFFICE OF TWO CLAIMS. EXHIBITORS SERVICE COMPANY, NO. 0175942, $224.50, AND TAFT CARTAGE COMPANY, NO. 0176324, $180, FOR SERVICES RENDERED THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS OF THIS DEPARTMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE BUREAU'S EXHIBIT AT THE CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN ROAD BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION AT CHICAGO IN JANUARY, 1927. THE FIRST CLAIM HAD TO DO WITH THE INSTALLATION, THE SECOND WITH THE TRANSPORTATION, OF THE EXHIBIT. THE APPROPRIATION DESIGNATED FOR CHARGE WAS THAT FOR "FEDERAL HIGHWAY SYSTEM," ACT OF NOVEMBER 9, 1921, 42 STAT. 212. DURING THE PENDENCY OF THE CLAIMS THE CLAIMS DIVISION WROTE THE DEPARTMENT AS TO THE TAFT COMPANY ACCOUNT, ASKING WHAT PROVISION OF THE ACT WAS IN MIND AS AUTHORITY FOR THE EXPENDITURE. IN REPLY OF JUNE 1, 1927, SECTION 21 OF THE ACT WAS QUOTED IN ART; THAT IS, SO MUCH AS CARRIES THE PROVISION FOR SUCH EXPENDITURES "AS THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE MAY DEEM NECESSARY * * * FOR CARRYING ON NECESSARY HIGHWAY RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATIONAL STUDIES INDEPENDENTLY OR IN COOPERATION WITH THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENTS AND OTHER RESEARCH AGENCIES AND FOR PUBLISHING THE RESULTS THEREOF.' IT WAS SUBMITTED THAT AN EXHIBITION AND DEMONSTRATION OF DEPARTMENT EQUIPMENT AND PROCESSES BEFORE A LARGE GROUP OF ROAD BUILDERS REPRESENTING THE INDUSTRY THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES WAS A "PUBLICATION" OF RESULTS WITHIN THE FAIR INTENDMENT OF THE TERM. BOTH CLAIMS WERE NEVERTHELESS DISALLOWED WITH A BRIEF STATEMENT THAT THE APPROPRIATION SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED MADE NO PROVISION FOR EXPENDITURES OF THIS CHARACTER.

IN VIEW OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RULING, THE DEPARTMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN GLAD TO HAVE A MORE SPECIFIC STATEMENT. AS IT IS, TWO PRESUMPTIONS ARE OPEN AS TO THE GROUNDS OF ACTION; FIRST, THAT THE TERM "PUBLICATION" IS NOT BROAD ENOUGH TO INCLUDE AN EXHIBIT, AND SECOND, THAT THE APPROPRIATION IN THE AGRICULTURAL ACT FOR THE CURRENT AND SEVERAL PRIOR FISCAL YEARS FOR AGRICULTURAL EXHIBITS AT STATE, INTERSTATE, AND INTERNATIONAL FAIRS IS NOT ONLY EXCLUSIVE AS TO THE CLASSES OF FAIRS SPECIFIED--- THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE DEPARTMENT'S VIEW--- BUT ALSO OPERATES TO EXCLUDE USE OF ANY DEPARTMENTAL FUND FOR EXHIBITS AT FAIRS OUTSIDE THE DESIGNATED GROUP. THE EXPOSITION IN QUESTION AT CHICAGO WAS NOT A STATE, INTERSTATE, OR INTERNATIONAL FAIR.

NEITHER CONCLUSION SEEMS WARRANTED TO THE DEPARTMENT, AND BOTH--- THE LATTER MORE PARTICULARLY, BECAUSE IT AFFECTS NOT ONE BUREAU ALONE BUT OUR ENTIRE ORGANIZATION--- GRAVELY RESTRICT AND IMPEDE ONE OF OUR IMPORTANT AND WELL-ESTABLISHED FUNCTIONS. BEHIND THE QUESTION, AND BEHIND ANY QUESTION WHICH HAS TO DO WITH SUCH METHODS OF PUBLICITY AS THE DEPARTMENT MAY SEEK TO ADOPT, IS THE PRIMARY STATUTORY MANDATE IN OUR ORGANIC ACT--- "THERE SHALL BE AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT A DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, THE GENERAL DESIGNS AND DUTIES OF WHICH SHALL BE TO ACQUIRE AND DIFFUSE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES USEFUL INFORMATION ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH AGRICULTURE IN THE MOST GENERAL AND COMPREHENSIVE SENSE OF THAT WORD * * *.' (ACT OF MAY 15, 1862, 12 STAT., 387.) NOTHING MORE SIGNIFICANT HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN ANY FEDERAL LEGISLATION RELATING TO AGRICULTURE. "ACQUIRE AND DIFFUSE" ARE COORDINATED. TO OBTAIN INFORMATION ALONE IS BUT HALF THE TASK. THUS THE DEPARTMENT'S WORK HAS BEEN ORGANIZED UPON THE PRINCIPLE THAT THE OBLIGATION AND WITH IT THE AUTHORITY TO "DIFFUSE" IS INHERENT IN ALL APPROPRIATIONS WHICH CONGRESS HAS GRANTED FOR AGRICULTURAL INVESTIGATION, RESEARCH, AND EXPERIMENT.

IT IS, OF COURSE, UNNECESSARY TO DWELL ON THE IMPORTANCE OF EXHIBITS AND DEMONSTRATIONS AT FAIRS AND EXPOSITIONS, AGRICULTURAL AND OTHERWISE, AS A MEANS OF SPREADING INFORMATION ABOUT AGRICULTURE. IT IS A MEANS WHICH FROM THE BEGINNING THE DEPARTMENT HAS LARGELY AND CONSISTENTLY EMPLOYED. AT FIRST AND DURING A LONG PERIOD THE EXPENSES WERE IN ALL CASES BORNE FROM THE GENERAL BUREAU APPROPRIATION APPLICABLE. WITH GROWTH OF THE WORK, THE NEED FOR A COORDINATING AGENCY WAS RECOGNIZED BY THE PROVISION, AGRICULTURAL APPROPRIATION ACT OF MARCH 4, 1913, 37 STAT. 828, FOR A SPECIAL AGENT ON EXHIBITS WITH LATER (1919) AN ASSISTANT. THIS IMPOSED NO RESTRICTION ON THE APPROPRIATIONS APPLICABLE OR ON THE CLASSES OF FAIRS. BUT FOR SEVERAL YEARS PRECEDING 1920 STATE AND INTERSTATE FAIR ASSOCIATIONS HAD BEEN VIGOROUSLY ADVOCATING A LARGER AND MORE SYSTEMATIC PARTICIPATION BY THE DEPARTMENT IN THEIR EXHIBITIONS; AND THEIR EFFORTS BORE FRUIT IN THE PROVISION IN THE AGRICULTURAL APPROPRIATION ACT OF MAY 31, 1920, 41 STAT. 718, WHICH HAS BEEN REPEATED IN THE SUBSEQUENT ANNUAL ACTS:

TO ENABLE THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO MAKE SUITABLE AGRICULTURAL EXHIBITS AT STATE, INTERSTATE, AND INTERNATIONAL FAIRS HELD WITHIN THE UNITED STATES; FOR THE PURCHASE OF NECESSARY SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT; FOR TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH SERVICE, FREIGHT AND EXPRESS CHARGES; FOR TRAVEL; AND FOR EVERY OTHER EXPENSE NECESSARY, INCLUDING THE EMPLOYMENT OF ASSISTANCE IN OR OUTSIDE THE CITY OF WASHINGTON.

NEITHER THE INTERESTS WHICH PROMOTED THIS LEGISLATION NOR THE DEPARTMENT IN PRESENTING IT TO CONGRESS HAD ANY PURPOSE OR THOUGHT OF SETTING UP AN EXCLUSIVE CLASSIFICATION. THERE WAS NO PROPOSAL THAT CONGRESS SHOULD CONSIDER THE WHOLE SUBJECT OF FAIRS, SELECT THE CLASSES AT WHICH THE DEPARTMENT MIGHT EXHIBIT, AND ELIMINATE ALL OTHERS. THE OBJECT SOUGHT WAS TO ORGANIZE THE WORK OF EXHIBITS FOR A SPECIAL CLASS OF FAIRS WHOSE SIMILARITY OF CHARACTER MADE IT ADVANTAGEOUS TO PREPARE AND CIRCULATE THE DEPARTMENT'S SHOWINGS UNDER SEPARATE ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION. AS TO OTHER FAIRS AND EXPOSITIONS OF MORE MISCELLANEOUS CHARACTER THE FORMER DEPARTMENTAL PRACTICE WAS NOT TO BE DISTURBED. THIS WAS THE CONSTRUCTION PLACED UPON THE NEW PROVISION BY THE DEPARTMENT AT THE ORGANIZATION OF THE OFFICE OF EXHIBITS IN 1920, AND FOLLOWED DOWN TO THE PRESENT TIME. AS A CONSEQUENCE, BUREAU FUNDS HAVE BEEN FREELY USED TO MEET THE COST OF EXHIBITS AT FAIRS OUTSIDE THE CLASSES SERVED BY THE OFFICE OF EXHIBITS. IT IS THE CONSTRUCTION SUPPORTED BY THE ABSENCE OF DISCUSSION AS TO CLASSES OF FAIRS AT THE HEARINGS ON THE NEW EXHIBIT ITEM IN 1920. HAD THE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEES OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE ASSUMED THAT THE PROVISION WAS INTENDED TO ESTABLISH AN EXCLUSIVE CLASS, IT MUST BE SUPPOSED THAT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN SOME DISCUSSION OF THE SUBJECT. AND IT IS THE ONLY CONSTRUCTION CONSISTENT WITH THE BACKGROUND OF FACTS. THE STATE, INTERSTATE, AND INTERNATIONAL FAIRS ARE ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE EXPOSITIONS WHICH AFFORD THE DEPARTMENT OPPORTUNITY TO IMPART AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION AND PUBLISH THE RESULTS OF ITS INVESTIGATIONS THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF EXHIBITS. THESE OUTSIDE OCCASIONS, TO MENTION ONLY A FEW OF THE MORE PROMINENT, INCLUDE CONVENTIONS OF AGRICULTURAL OR ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES SUCH AS THE AMERICAN ROAD BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION, THE NATIONAL CANNERS' ASSOCIATION, THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, THE GENERAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS, THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION, AND THE NATIONAL GRANGE WEEK. ANOTHER IMPORTANT GROUP IS THE FARMERS' WEEKS MEETINGS, SHORT COURSES HELD ANNUALLY BY MANY COLLEGES OF AGRICULTURE. ADDITION THERE ARE THE COMMUNITY, COUNTY, AND DISTRICT FAIRS, OUTNUMBERING ALL OTHER CLASSES OF AGRICULTURAL EXPOSITIONS. OCCASIONS ARE NOT INFREQUENT--- FOR INSTANCE, CAMPAIGNS FOR THE ERADICATION OF BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS, CATTLE TICKS, WHITE PINE BLISTER RUST, AND THE LIKE--- WHEN EXHIBITS AND DEMONSTRATIONS AT THESE COUNTY AND DISTRICT GATHERINGS ARE A PECULIARLY EFFECTIVE CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT AND THE PORTIONS OF THE COMMUNITY IT DESIRES TO REACH.

WITH RESPECT TO THE TWO DISALLOWED CLAIMS ABOVE MENTIONED, THE AMERICAN ROAD BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION WAS ABLE TO SUPPLY FUNDS FOR MEETING THE OBLIGATIONS INCURRED BY THE DEPARTMENT. IT IS NOT MY PURPOSE, THEREFORE, TO REQUEST REVISION OF THESE SPECIFIC CASES. THE DEPARTMENT FEELS, HOWEVER, THAT THE IMPORTANT QUESTION INVOLVED SHOULD NOT REST UPON THESE SETTLEMENTS. IT HAPPENS THAT THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS HAS RECENTLY RECEIVED AND DESIRES TO ACCEPT AN INVITATION TO EXHIBIT AT THE FORTHCOMING EXPOSITION OF THE AMERICAN ROAD BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION AT CHICAGO. YOUR DECISION IS THEREFORE REQUESTED WHETHER THE COST OF PREPARING, TRANSPORTING, AND INSTALLING THE EXHIBIT MAY BE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION PROVIDED BY SECTION 21 OF THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ACT OF NOVEMBER 9, 1921, ABOVE CITED. SINCE CONSTRUCTION MUST BE STARTED IN THE NEAR FUTURE IF THE EXHIBIT IS TO BE COMPLETED IN TIME FOR THE SHOWING, THE FAVOR OF AN EARLY DECISION IS REQUESTED.

WHILE THE TERM "PUBLICATION" IN ITS USUAL AND ORDINARY SENSE MEANS DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF PRINTED MATTER, THE PHRASE "PUBLISHING THE RESULTS THEREOF" AS APPEARING IN THE ACT OF NOVEMBER 9, 1921, SUPRA, REASONABLY MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING A BROADER MEANING IN VIEW OF THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE BASIC STATUTE OF MAY 15, 1862, SUPRA, CREATING THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WHICH PROVIDES IN SECTION 1, AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THERE IS HEREBY ESTABLISHED AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES A DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, THE GENERAL DESIGNS AND DUTIES OF WHICH SHALL BE TO ACQUIRE AND TO DIFFUSE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES USEFUL INFORMATION ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH AGRICULTURE IN THE MOST GENERAL AND COMPREHENSIVE SENSE OF THAT WORD, AND TO PROCURE, PROPAGATE, AND DISTRIBUTE AMONG THE PEOPLE NEW AND VALUABLE SEEDS AND PLANTS.

PARTICIPATION IN FAIRS AND EXHIBITS BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS HAS NOT BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE CONGRESS IN THE FEDERAL AID HIGHWAY STATUTES, NOR IN THE APPROPRIATION ACTS PROVIDED TO CARRY INTO EFFECT THOSE STATUTES. THE SAME IS PROBABLY TRUE OF THE WORK UNDER OTHER BUREAUS OF THE DEPARTMENT. BUT UNDER THE TERMS OF THE BASIC STATUTE ABOVE QUOTED, SUCH PARTICIPATION BY THE BUREAUS OF THE DEPARTMENT, THE DUTY OF WHICH IT IS TO DISSEMINATE USEFUL INFORMATION, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A LAWFUL PART OF THE WORK OF THE BUREAU. AND AS TO THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, THIS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS TRUE IRRESPECTIVE OF THE EXACT MEANING TO BE GIVEN TO THE TERM "PUBLISHING" APPEARING IN THE FEDERAL AID HIGHWAY STATUTE OF NOVEMBER 9, 1921, SUPRA.

IN THE DECISION OF NOVEMBER 17, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 457, 458, WHEREIN WAS CONSIDERED THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENTS FOR PURCHASE OF SIGNS AND PICTURES BY THE BUREAU OF MINES FOR USE IN EXHIBITS TO DEPICT THE VARIOUS PHASES OF THE MINING INDUSTRY, IT WAS HELD:

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1913, 37 STAT. 681, ESTABLISHED THE BUREAU OF MINES IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT AND PROVIDED THAT IT SHOULD, SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS CONCERNING MINING WITH A VIEW TO IMPROVING HEALTH CONDITIONS AND INCREASING SAFETY, EFFICIENCY, ETC., IN THE VARIOUS MINERAL INDUSTRIES AND TO DISSEMINATE INFORMATION CONCERNING THE SUBJECTS INVESTIGATED IN SUCH MANNER AS WILL BEST CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE ACT.

THE APPROPRIATIONS FROM WHICH THE DISALLOWED PAYMENTS WERE MADE WERE FOR PURPOSES SET OUT IN THE ACT ESTABLISHING THE BUREAU OF MINES, AND WHILE SAID APPROPRIATIONS DO NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION, THE PURPOSES OF THE APPROPRIATIONS ARE SUCH THAT THE DISSEMINATION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION WOULD BE REGARDED AS PROPERLY WITHIN THE SCOPE THEREOF. * * *

THE SITUATION IN THE PRESENT CASE IS SIMILAR.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDING FOR CARRYING INTO EFFECT THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY STATUTES ARE AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PARTICIPATION IN FAIRS AND EXHIBITS BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS TO DIFFUSE AMONG THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES USEFUL INFORMATION ON SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH THE LAWFUL WORK OF THE BUREAU.