A-61056, OCTOBER 2, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 260

A-61056: Oct 2, 1935

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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION - GOVERNMENT-OWNED EQUIPMENT ON PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY THE COST OF INSTALLATION OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED RADIO EQUIPMENT ON PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES. 1935: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 18. YOU STATE IN EFFECT THAT THE INSTALLATION OF THE METER IS PURELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF MEASURING THE FIELD INTENSITY WHICH IS OF NO INTEREST TO THE USUAL LISTENER BUT IN WHICH THE COMMISSION IS VITALLY INTERESTED IN ITS PROBLEM OF ADMINISTERING THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934. THAT THE INSTALLATION IS VERY CONVENIENT TO THE COMMISSION IN MAKING OBSERVATIONS AND MEASUREMENTS IN REMOTE LOCATIONS.

A-61056, OCTOBER 2, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 260

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION - GOVERNMENT-OWNED EQUIPMENT ON PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY THE COST OF INSTALLATION OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED RADIO EQUIPMENT ON PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, OCTOBER 2, 1935:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 18, 1935, REQUESTING FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE OF APRIL 12 AND JUNE 7, 1935, REFUSING CERTIFICATION ON COMMISSION VOUCHER NO. 2183, SCHEDULE NO. 311, IN FAVOR OF MADDEN AND KELLER FOR PAYMENT FOR THE INSTALLATION OF SPECIAL RADIO EQUIPMENT IN THE PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OF AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR COMMISSION. YOU STATE IN EFFECT THAT THE INSTALLATION OF THE METER IS PURELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF MEASURING THE FIELD INTENSITY WHICH IS OF NO INTEREST TO THE USUAL LISTENER BUT IN WHICH THE COMMISSION IS VITALLY INTERESTED IN ITS PROBLEM OF ADMINISTERING THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934; THAT THE INSTALLATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE IMPROVEMENT OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE BUT DETRACTS THEREFROM; THAT THE INSTALLATION IS VERY CONVENIENT TO THE COMMISSION IN MAKING OBSERVATIONS AND MEASUREMENTS IN REMOTE LOCATIONS; THAT BY THE INSTALLMENT OF SUCH EQUIPMENT IN PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES MANY OFF-DUTY HOURS OF THINKING ABOUT TECHNICAL PROBLEMS ON THE PART OF THE EMPLOYEES ACCRUE TO THE COMMISSION; THAT THE SPECIAL EQUIPMENT IS USED ALMOST WHOLLY IN CONJUNCTION WITH OFFICIAL DUTIES AND DEVELOPMENT WORK AND IS OF LITTLE OR NO BENEFIT IN THE PERSONAL CAR, AND FOR THESE REASONS YOU REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF THE DECISIONS IN ORDER TO ENABLE BETTER ADMINISTRATION OF THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934.

THE ARGUMENTS ADVANCED, WHILE PERSUASIVE TO SHOW THE DESIRABILITY, FROM THE COMMISSION'S STANDPOINT, OF THE INSTALLATION OF SUCH SPECIAL EQUIPMENT IN PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, ARE NOT CONCLUSIVE IN DETERMINING THE LEGALITY OF SUCH EXPENDITURES FROM PUBLIC FUNDS. THE AUTHORITY TO USE PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL DOES NOT GIVE AUTHORITY TO EQUIP SUCH AUTOMOBILES WITH GOVERNMENT-OWNED INSTRUMENTS, ACCESSORIES OR EQUIPMENT, UNLESS THE EXPENSE INCIDENT THERETO IS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW. THE REASON FOR SUCH RULE MUST BE READILY APPARENT. THE INSTALLATION OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED EQUIPMENT IN PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES NECESSARILY GIVES RISE TO A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS AND PROPERTY RIGHTS IN THAT IT PREVENTS THE UNRESTRICTED USE AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED PROPERTY, AND AT THE SAME TIME DEPRIVES THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNQUALIFIED USE OF THE EQUIPMENT AT ALL TIMES.

ACCORDINGLY, NOTWITHSTANDING THE ALLEGED ADVANTAGES ACCRUING TO THE COMMISSION, THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE TO THE EFFECT THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR YOUR COMMISSION ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY THE COST OF INSTALLING GOVERNMENT-OWNED EQUIPMENT ON PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES MUST BE AND ARE SUSTAINED.