A-64300, OCTOBER 10, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 293

A-64300: Oct 10, 1935

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1935: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 30. ACQUIRED AND WILL ACQUIRE IN THE FUTURE CERTAIN PROPERTIES ON WHICH THERE ARE BUILDINGS OF VARIOUS KINDS. IT IS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN AND PROVIDE SOME FORM OF INSURANCE. DOES THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAVE A CONTRACT WITH ANY INSURANCE COMPANY OR COMPANIES FOR THE FURNISHING OF INSURANCE PROTECTION AGAINST FIRE. THAT ANY EXPENDITURE THEREUNDER IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA "SHALL BE MADE WITH A VIEW TO CARING FOR THE ALLEY POPULATION OF THE DISTRICT WHEN THE WAR IS OVER. SPECIFIED "SUCH CORPORATION OR CORPORATIONS TO HAVE OR OBTAIN ALL POWERS NECESSARY OR APPROPRIATE THEREFOR.'. THERE WERE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF JULY 19. THE POLICY OF CONGRESS NOT TO HAVE PUBLIC MONEYS USED IN THE PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS ON FIRE INSURANCE IS WELL ESTABLISHED.

A-64300, OCTOBER 10, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 293

INSURANCE OF PROPERTY - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, 48 STAT. 930, MAY NOT BE USED FOR THE INSURANCE OF PROPERTY AGAINST ANY FORM OF LOSS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY, OCTOBER 10, 1935:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 30, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY, CREATED PURSUANT TO AN ACT OF CONGRESS, APPROVED JUNE 12, 1934, IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF SAID ACT, ACQUIRED AND WILL ACQUIRE IN THE FUTURE CERTAIN PROPERTIES ON WHICH THERE ARE BUILDINGS OF VARIOUS KINDS. IN ORDER TO FURTHER CARRY OUT PROVISIONS OF SAID ACT, THE ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY IN THE FUTURE MAY ERECT BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES OF VARIOUS KINDS AND CHARACTER.

IN ORDER THAT THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE PROPERLY PROTECTED, AND TO SAFEGUARD THE PROPERTY FROM FIRE, THEFT, AND OTHER DESTRUCTIVE ELEMENTS, IT IS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN AND PROVIDE SOME FORM OF INSURANCE.

DOES THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING ACT CONTEMPLATE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED UNDER THE TERMS OF SAID ACT FOR THE PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS ON INSURANCE POLICIES FOR THE PROPER PROTECTION OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT?

DOES THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAVE A CONTRACT WITH ANY INSURANCE COMPANY OR COMPANIES FOR THE FURNISHING OF INSURANCE PROTECTION AGAINST FIRE, THEFT, AND OTHER ELEMENTS?

THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, 48 STAT. 930, SUPRA, AUTHORIZES THE PRESIDENT TO PROVIDE FOR THE DISCONTINUANCE OF THE USE AS DWELLINGS OF BUILDINGS LOCATED IN ALLEYS AND TO ELIMINATE THE HIDDEN COMMUNITIES IN INHABITED ALLEYS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,"AND TO CARRY OUT THE POLICY DECLARED IN THE ACT APPROVED MAY 16, 1918, AS AMENDED.' ALSO, IT CONFERRED UPON THE PRESIDENT CERTAIN SPECIFIED POWERS AND DISCRETION IN CARRYING OUT THE POLICY OF THE ACT.

THE ACT OF MAY 16, 1918 (40 STAT. 550), WHICH AUTHORIZED THE PRESIDENT TO PROVIDE HOUSING FOR WAR NEEDS, PROVIDED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THAT ANY EXPENDITURE THEREUNDER IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA "SHALL BE MADE WITH A VIEW TO CARING FOR THE ALLEY POPULATION OF THE DISTRICT WHEN THE WAR IS OVER, SO FAR AS IT CAN BE DONE WITHOUT INTERFERING WITH WAR HOUSING PURPOSES.' THIS ACT CONTAINED NO SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS ON FIRE INSURANCE FOR THE PROPERTY ACQUIRED THEREUNDER. THE AMENDMENT OF JUNE 4, 1918 (40 STAT. 595), AUTHORIZING THE CREATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF A CORPORATION TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE BASIC ACT, SPECIFIED "SUCH CORPORATION OR CORPORATIONS TO HAVE OR OBTAIN ALL POWERS NECESSARY OR APPROPRIATE THEREFOR.' IN APPROPRIATING FOR THE NEEDS OF SAID CORPORATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1920, THERE WERE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF JULY 19, 1919 (41 STAT. 223), AMOUNTS FOR "THE COST OF PREMIUMS ON FIRE-INSURANCE POLICIES.'

THE POLICY OF CONGRESS NOT TO HAVE PUBLIC MONEYS USED IN THE PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS ON FIRE INSURANCE IS WELL ESTABLISHED. SEE 7 COMP. GEN. 105; SEE ALSO, 13 COMP. DEC. 781, IN WHICH IT WAS SAID: "THE FACT THAT CONGRESS DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATE FOR INSURANCE PREMIUMS EVIDENCES THE GOVERNMENTAL POLICY OF CARRYING ITS OWN RISKS, WHICH POLICY SEEMS REASONABLE IN VIEW OF THE IMMENSE VALUE OF ITS PROPERTY AND ITS LOCATION IN ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD.' WHILE AN EXCEPTION WAS MADE TO THIS POLICY, DURING THE EMERGENCY CREATED BY THE WORLD WAR, IN CONNECTION WITH THE ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSING CORPORATION, IT IS TO BE OBSERVED THAT THESE EXCEPTIONS WERE NOT BASED ON GENERAL TERMS OR IMPLIED AUTHORITY BUT WERE SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE CONGRESS. THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT SEEN FIT TO ALTER THIS POLICY IS EVIDENT FROM THE FACT THAT IT HAS BEEN EXTENDED AND IS APPLIED YEARLY TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATIONS. IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1935 (48 STAT. 851), IT IS SPECIFICALLY STATED THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE THEREIN SHALL NOT BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS OR OTHER COST OF FIRE INSURANCE.

THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN THE BASIC ACT OF MAY 16, 1918, SUPRA, AS AMENDED, OR IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ALLEY DWELLING ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, SUPRA, WHICH PROVIDES EITHER IN SPECIFIC OR GENERAL TERMS FOR THE INSURANCE OF PROPERTY AGAINST ANY FORM OF LOSS. AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS ON FIRE INSURANCE MADE UNDER THE BASIC ACT, AS AMENDED, BY THE UNITED STATES HOUSING CORPORATION DID NOT REST UPON THE BROAD GENERAL DELEGATION OF POWERS CONTAINED THEREIN, BUT WAS BASED UPON SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION LATER OBTAINED FROM THE CONGRESS.

IT IS A RULE OF LONG STANDING IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF APPROPRIATION ACTS TO DETERMINE THEIR AVAILABILITY FOR PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS ON FIRE INSURANCE, THAT SUCH USAGE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS MUST BE SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED IN THE WORDING OF THE ACT. IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT THAT THERE IS NO LAW SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING THAT THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT INSURE ITS PROPERTY AGAINST LOSS (23 COMP. DEC. 297).

THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED IN YOUR ABOVE-QUOTED SUBMISSION ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.