A-69907, MARCH 4, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 754

A-69907: Mar 4, 1936

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PURCHASE OF LAW BOOKS - OFFICE OF THE ARCHIVIST THE OFFICE OF THE ARCHIVIST IS A GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENT AT THE SEAT OF THE GOVERNMENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 15. SUCH PURCHASES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED. REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE FEDERAL REGISTER ACT (PUBLIC NO. 220. THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS ARE AVAILABLE AND ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE UNDER SECTION 10 OF THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. FOR OTHER PURPOSES" (48 STAT. 1122) ARE ENLARGED TO COVER THE ADDITIONAL DUTIES PLACED UPON THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES ESTABLISHMENT BY THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT.'. WE WILL FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PERFORM SATISFACTORILY THE DUTIES IMPOSED UPON THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES BY THE FEDERAL REGISTER ACT WITHOUT THE FACILITIES OF A LAW LIBRARY.

A-69907, MARCH 4, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 754

PURCHASE OF LAW BOOKS - OFFICE OF THE ARCHIVIST THE OFFICE OF THE ARCHIVIST IS A GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENT AT THE SEAT OF THE GOVERNMENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1898, 30 STAT. 316, PROHIBITING PURCHASE OF LAW BOOKS, ETC., UNLESS SPECIALLY PROVIDED BY LAW, AND SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION NOT HAVING BEEN GIVEN, SUCH PURCHASES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE ARCHIVIST, MARCH 4, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THE MATTER PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 9, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAS ARISEN THE QUESTION OF THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE PURCHASE OF LAW BOOKS BY THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES FOR THE USE OF THE FEDERAL REGISTER DIVISION.

IN THIS CONNECTION, REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE FEDERAL REGISTER ACT (PUBLIC NO. 220, 74TH CONGRESS) (H.R. 6323), APPROVED JULY 26, 1935. SECTION 6 OF THIS ACT IMPOSES UPON THE ARCHIVIST AND UPON THE DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL REGISTER DIVISION, AS CHAIRMAN AND SECRETARY, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE THEREIN ESTABLISHED, CERTAIN RESPONSIBILITIES WHICH CANNOT BE DISCHARGED WITHOUT CONSTANT ACCESS TO A LAW LIBRARY. SECTION 9 OF THIS ACT FURTHER PROVIDES THAT ,THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS ARE AVAILABLE AND ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE UNDER SECTION 10 OF THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES" (48 STAT. 1122) ARE ENLARGED TO COVER THE ADDITIONAL DUTIES PLACED UPON THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES ESTABLISHMENT BY THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT.' THE FIRST DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, FISCAL YEAR 1935 (PUBLIC, NO. 21, 74TH CONGRESS, H.R. 6644), APPROVED MARCH 21, 1935, READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS: "SALARIES AND EXPENSES: FOR THE ARCHIVIST AND FOR ALL OTHER AUTHORIZED EXPENDITURES OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES IN PERFORMING THE DUTIES IMPOSED BY LAW, * * * AND ALL OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES.'

UNQUESTIONABLY, WE WILL FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PERFORM SATISFACTORILY THE DUTIES IMPOSED UPON THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES BY THE FEDERAL REGISTER ACT WITHOUT THE FACILITIES OF A LAW LIBRARY. IN VIEW OF THIS IMMEDIATE AND IMPERATIVE NEED, IT IS HOPED THAT YOUR OFFICE WILL CONCUR IN OUR BELIEF THAT THE FEDERAL REGISTER ACT MAY BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORIZING THE PURCHASE OF LAW BOOKS AND THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE FIRST DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, FISCAL YEAR 1935, IS SUCH THAT THE PURCHASE OF LAW BOOKS WOULD NOT CONTRAVENE SEC. 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1898, 30 STAT. 316.

YOUR DECISION IN THE MATTER IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1898, 30 STAT. 316, PROVIDES:

THAT HEREAFTER LAW BOOKS, BOOKS OF REFERENCE, AND PERIODICALS FOR USE OF ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, OR OTHER GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENT NOT UNDER AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, SHALL NOT BE PURCHASED OR PAID FOR FROM ANY APPROPRIATION MADE FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES OR FOR ANY SPECIFIC OR GENERAL PURPOSE UNLESS SUCH PURCHASE IS AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT THEREFOR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE LAW GRANTING THE APPROPRIATION.

OBVIOUSLY, THE OFFICE OF THE ARCHIVIST IS A GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENT AT THE SEAT OF THE GOVERNMENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ABOVE ACT. THEREFORE, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY THEREFORE, NO APPROPRIATED MONEYS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF LAW BOOKS BY THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES FOR THE USE OF THE FEDERAL REGISTER DIVISION. SEE 4 COMP. GEN. 951.

NEITHER DOES IT APPEAR THERE IS ANY SUCH AUTHORITY IN THE "ACT TO ESTABLISH A NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES" (48 STAT. 1122), OR IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER ACT APPROVED JULY 26, 1935 (49 STAT. 500), OR IN THE FIRST DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, FISCAL YEAR 1935, APPROVED MARCH 21, 1935 (49 STAT. 49/--- ALL REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER--- NOR IS THERE SUCH AUTHORITY ELSEWHERE.