A-61214, MAY 23, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 851

A-61214: May 23, 1935

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS NOT APPLICABLE FOR SUCH ITEMS OF EXPENDITURE AS "TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM MONUMENT SITES" AND "LIGHT REFRESHMENTS.'. AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE APPROPRIATION OF THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION. IS AFFECTED BY PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 2. THE COMMISSION WAS CREATED BY CONGRESS FOR THE PURPOSE. WE HAVE ERECTED A MEMORIAL CHAPEL IN EACH OF THE EIGHT AMERICAN CEMETERIES IN EUROPE. THESE MEMORIALS ARE LOCATED IN ENGLAND. IT WAS FOR THEIR DEDICATION THAT THE APPROPRIATION ABOVE QUOTED WAS MADE. - WAS INTENDED TO ACHIEVE THIS END AND TO MAKE THE FUNDS SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR WHATEVER TYPES OF EXPENSES THE COMMISSION DEEMED NECESSARY.

A-61214, MAY 23, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 851

CONVENTIONS AND GATHERINGS - LODGING, FEEDING, AND TRANSPORTING TO AUTHORIZE AN EXPENDITURE FOR ITEMS OF "LODGING, FEEDING, CONVEYING, OR FURNISHING TRANSPORTATION TO, ANY CONVENTIONS OR OTHER FORM OF ASSEMBLAGE OR GATHERING TO BE HELD IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR ELSEWHERE," THE JOINT RESOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, REQUIRES THAT THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED MUST PROVIDE SPECIFICALLY FOR SUCH ITEMS, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION, IN GENERAL TERMS, IS NOT APPLICABLE FOR SUCH ITEMS OF EXPENDITURE AS "TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM MONUMENT SITES" AND "LIGHT REFRESHMENTS.'

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE CHAIRMAN, THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION, MAY 23, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 1, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE APPROPRIATION OF THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION, QUOTED BELOW, IS AFFECTED BY PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 2, 74TH CONGRESS (COPY HEREWITH):

"FOR EVERY EXPENDITURE REQUISITE FOR OR INCIDENT TO THE WORK OF THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION * * * INCLUDING NOT TO EXCEED $20,000 FOR SUCH EXPENSES AS THE COMMISSION, IN ITS DISCRETION, MAY DECIDE TO BE NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE DEDICATION OF THE MEMORIALS * * * TO BE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE AND TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED * * *" (ACT OF FEB. 23, 1931, 46 STAT. 1355 AND 1356).

AS YOU KNOW, THE COMMISSION WAS CREATED BY CONGRESS FOR THE PURPOSE, AMONG OTHER THINGS, OF ERECTING MEMORIALS TO COMMEMORATE THE SERVICES OF THE AMERICAN FORCES IN EUROPE DURING THE WORLD WAR. IN PURSUANCE OF THIS PURPOSE, WE HAVE ERECTED A MEMORIAL CHAPEL IN EACH OF THE EIGHT AMERICAN CEMETERIES IN EUROPE, ELEVEN MONUMENTS AT PLACES OUTSIDE THE CEMETERIES, AND TWO COMMEMORATIVE TABLETS. THESE MEMORIALS ARE LOCATED IN ENGLAND, FRANCE, BELGIUM, AND GIBRALTAR, AND IT WAS FOR THEIR DEDICATION THAT THE APPROPRIATION ABOVE QUOTED WAS MADE.

INASMUCH AS THESE DEDICATIONS WOULD INVOLVE EXPENDITURES FOR SUCH ITEMS AS INVITATIONS, CONSTRUCTION AND DECORATION OF TEMPORARY STANDS, FLOWERS, HIRE OF CHAIRS, EMPLOYMENT OF SPECIAL TEMPORARY ATTENDANTS, PURCHASE OF GLOVES AND BADGES FOR USHERS TEMPORARILY EMPLOYED, OFFERING MOTOR TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM MONUMENT SITES TO SPEAKERS AND OTHER ESPECIALLY INVITED OFFICIAL GUESTS, PROVIDING LIGHT REFRESHMENTS WHERE LOCAL CONDITIONS AND CUSTOMS MAKE SUCH COURTESY INCUMBENT, ETC., AS WELL AS FOR OTHER ITEMS WHOSE NATURE COULD NOT BE FORESEEN, THE COMMISSION REQUESTED THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE APPROPRIATION BE SUCH AS TO COVER "EXPENSES OF EVERY KIND.' THE LANGUAGE ADOPTED BY CONGRESS--- "FOR SUCH EXPENSES AS THE COMMISSION, IN ITS DISCRETION, MAY DECIDE TO BE NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE DEDICATION OF THE MEMORIALS"--- WAS INTENDED TO ACHIEVE THIS END AND TO MAKE THE FUNDS SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR WHATEVER TYPES OF EXPENSES THE COMMISSION DEEMED NECESSARY.

IN VIEW OF THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE AND LANGUAGE OF THE ACT ABOVE QUOTED, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE APPROPRIATION MADE THEREBY IS AFFECTED BY PUBLIC RESOLUTION NO. 2, BUT YOUR DECISION ON THE POINT IS REQUESTED IN ORDER TO REMOVE THE SLIGHTEST DOUBT.

THE JOINT RESOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THAT, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED BY LAW, NO MONEYS FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR ANY PURPOSE SHALL BE USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF LODGING, FEEDING, CONVEYING, OR FURNISHING TRANSPORTATION TO, ANY CONVENTIONS OR OTHER FORM OF ASSEMBLAGE OR GATHERING TO BE HELD IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR ELSEWHERE. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES.

IN DECISION OF FEBRUARY 25, 1935, A-60134, 14 COMP. GEN. 638, IT WAS HELD, WITH REFERENCE TO THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISION, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE SEEMS VERY LITTLE IF ANY ROOM FOR DOUBT AS TO THE REASONABLE MEANING AND LEGAL EFFECT OF SUCH LANGUAGE. SIMPLY STATED, IT IS THAT NO CONVENTION OR OTHER FORM OF ASSEMBLAGE OR GATHERING MAY BE LODGED, FED, CONVEYED, OR FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNLESS AUTHORITY THEREFOR IS SPECIFICALLY GRANTED BY LAW.

HENCE, TO AUTHORIZE AN EXPENDITURE FOR ITEMS OF "LODGING, FEEDING, CONVEYING, OR FURNISHING TRANSPORTATION TO, ANY CONVENTIONS OR OTHER FORM OF ASSEMBLAGE OR GATHERING TO BE HELD IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR ELSEWHERE," THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED MUST PROVIDE SPECIFICALLY FOR SUCH ITEMS. GENERAL TERMS SUCH AS QUOTED BY YOU FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO MAKE AN APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSES. IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS NOTED THAT, NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH GENERAL LANGUAGE, THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION (ACT OF JUNE 16, 1933, 48 STAT. 284, AND ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 6) SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE EXPENDITURES WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD BE PROHIBITED BY LAWS CONTROLLING OR LIMITING EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS; THUS INDICATING THE BROAD, GENERAL TERMS OF THE APPROPRIATION WERE NOT INTENDED TO RENDER INAPPLICABLE THERETO SPECIFIC STATUTORY PROHIBITIONS OR INHIBITIONS.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE PUBLIC RESOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, IS APPLICABLE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION AND THAT SAID APPROPRIATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR SUCH ITEMS OF EXPENDITURE AS "TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM MONUMENT SITES" AND ,LIGHT REFRESHMENTS.'