A-81019, NOVEMBER 3, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 462

A-81019: Nov 3, 1936

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IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF A MOTION-PICTURE CAMERA FOR USE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE. IT WAS INTENDED TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR THIS EQUIPMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES. " BUT BEFORE MAKING AWARD YOUR OPINION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THIS APPROPRIATION WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE EQUIPMENT REFERRED TO. THE CAMERA EQUIPMENT WHICH IT IS PROPOSED TO PURCHASE WILL BE USED OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON IN THE VARIOUS LIGHTHOUSE DISTRICTS. - THAT IS. IT IS PROPOSED TO HOLD THE EQUIPMENT IN THE LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON AND TO MAKE THE SAME AVAILABLE TO THE DISTRICTS WHEN REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH PARTICULAR OCCURRENCES OR OPERATIONS OF WHICH IT IS DESIRED TO OBTAIN SUCH A PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD.

A-81019, NOVEMBER 3, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 462

APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY - PURCHASES OF MOTION-PICTURE CAMERAS - COMMERCE DEPARTMENT NEITHER THE APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE, 1937," NOR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF A MOTION-PICTURE CAMERA FOR USE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISION IN THE APPROPRIATION ,GENERAL EXPENSES, LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE" FOR "ALL OTHER CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF DISTRICT OFFICES AND DEPOTS.'

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, NOVEMBER 3, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 9, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS DEPARTMENT HAS RECEIVED BIDS FOR ONE MOTION-PICTURE CAMERA WITH METER AND TRIPOD FOR THE USE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE. IT WAS INTENDED TO MAKE PAYMENT FOR THIS EQUIPMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE, 1937," BUT BEFORE MAKING AWARD YOUR OPINION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THIS APPROPRIATION WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE EQUIPMENT REFERRED TO.

THE CAMERA EQUIPMENT WHICH IT IS PROPOSED TO PURCHASE WILL BE USED OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON IN THE VARIOUS LIGHTHOUSE DISTRICTS--- THAT IS, FOR FIELD SERVICE. IT IS PROPOSED TO HOLD THE EQUIPMENT IN THE LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON AND TO MAKE THE SAME AVAILABLE TO THE DISTRICTS WHEN REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH PARTICULAR OCCURRENCES OR OPERATIONS OF WHICH IT IS DESIRED TO OBTAIN SUCH A PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD. TYPICAL OF THE USAGE CONTEMPLATED FOR THIS EQUIPMENT WOULD BE THE OBTAINING OF VIEWS SHOWING THE BEHAVIOR OF BUOYS IN SEAWAY, LAUNCHING OF VESSELS, UNUSUAL ICE OR SEA CONDITIONS OF VALUE BOTH FROM THE HISTORICAL AND PRACTICAL STANDPOINT, OPERATIONS OF VALUE TO RECORD FROM THE STANDPOINT OF INSTRUCTION TO SERVICE PERSONNEL, AND OTHER MATTERS OF GENERAL PUBLIC INTEREST AND HISTORICAL VALUE AS DEPICTING THE WORK OF THE LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE. IT IS THE OPINION OF THIS DEPARTMENT THAT THE PURCHASE OF THIS EQUIPMENT WOULD COME WITHIN THE PROVISION IN THE APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE" FOR "ALL OTHER CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF DISTRICT OFFICES AND DEPOTS.'

THE ONLY TWO BIDS RECEIVED ON THIS PROPOSAL ARE ENCLOSED, AND YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FACT THAT THE LOW BID OF HERMAN A. DEVRY, INC., IN THE AMOUNT OF $345.00, SPECIFIES THE WEIGHT OF THE CAMERA TO BE 11 POUNDS, WHEREAS THE PROPOSAL PROVIDED THAT THE WEIGHT WAS NOT TO EXCEED 10 POUNDS. APPARENTLY THIS BID MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SPECIFICATIONS IN ALL OTHER RESPECTS, AND YOUR OPINION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THIS BID MAY BE ACCEPTED SHOULD IT BE DECIDED THAT THE APPROPRIATION REFERRED TO IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF THIS EQUIPMENT. IT MIGHT BE STATED THAT THIS DEPARTMENT HAS NO OBJECTION TO WAIVING THIS DEPARTURE FROM THE SPECIFICATIONS.

THE ACT OF MAY 15, 1936, 49 STAT. 1339, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, AND CERTAIN OTHER DEPARTMENTS, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1937, PROVIDES IN MATERIAL ART:

GENERAL EXPENSES: FOR SUPPLIES, INCLUDING REPLACEMENT OF AND NECESSARY ADDITIONS TO EXISTING EQUIPMENT, REPAIRS, MAINTENANCE, AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSES OF LIGHTHOUSES AND OTHER LIGHTS, BEACONS, BUOYAGE, FOG SIGNALS, LIGHTING OF RIVERS HERETOFORE AUTHORIZED TO BE LIGHTED, LIGHT VESSELS, OTHER AIDS TO NAVIGATION, AND LIGHTHOUSE TENDERS, INCLUDING THE ESTABLISHMENT, REPAIR, AND IMPROVEMENT OF BEACONS AND DAY MARKS, AND PURCHASE OF LAND FOR SAME; ESTABLISHMENT OF POST LIGHTS, BUOYS, SUBMARINE SIGNALS, AND FOG SIGNALS; NOT TO EXCEED $10,000 FOR THE PURCHASE AND PLACEMENT OF BUOYS TO MARK SUBMARINE OBSTRUCTIONS OFF THE MOUTH OF THE CAPE FEAR RIVER; ESTABLISHMENT OF OIL OR CARBIDE HOUSES, NOT TO EXCEED $10,000: * * * FUEL, LIGHT, AND RENT OF QUARTERS WHERE NECESSARY FOR KEEPERS OF LIGHTHOUSES; PURCHASE OF LAND SITES FOR FOG SIGNALS; * * * RENT OF OFFICES, DEPOTS, AND WHARVES; * * * ALL OTHER CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF DISTRICT OFFICES AND DEPOTS, INCLUDING THE PURCHASE OF PROVISIONS FOR SALE TO LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS AT ISOLATED STATIONS, AND THE APPROPRIATION REIMBURSED; * * *

THE ABOVE ACT DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE FOR MOTION-PICTURE EQUIPMENT OF ANY CHARACTER, NOR DOES IT EXCEPT THE EXPENDITURES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FROM GENERAL RESTRICTIONS APPLICABLE TO APPROPRIATED FUNDS. SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES FOR NUMEROUS ITEMS OF EXPENDITURE AND "ALL OTHER CONTINGENT EXPENSES OF DISTRICT OFFICES AND DEPOTS.' THE QUOTED LANGUAGE FOLLOWING THE VARIOUS ITEMS FOR WHICH SPECIFIC PROVISION IS MADE MAY NOT BE CONSTRUED TO MEAN THAT THE APPROPRIATION CONTAINED IN SAID ACT IS AVAILABLE FOR WHATEVER THE DEPARTMENT MAY SEE FIT TO EXPEND IT IRRESPECTIVE OF THE GENERAL RULES GOVERNING THE USES OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS. THE APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE ONLY FOR EXPENSES GENERALLY PERMITTED BY ACCEPTED PRACTICE. 12 COMP. GEN. 565. IT WAS STATED IN DUNWOODY V. UNITED STATES, 22 CT.CLS. 269, 280:

* * * THE ADJECTIVES CONTINGENT, INCIDENTAL, AND MISCELLANEOUS, AS USED IN APPROPRIATION BILLS TO QUALIFY THE WORD EXPENSES, HAVE A TECHNICAL AND WELL-UNDERSTOOD MEANING; IT IS USUAL FOR CONGRESS TO NAME THE PRINCIPAL CLASSES OF EXPENDITURE WHICH THEY AUTHORIZE, SUCH AS CLERK HIRE, FUEL, LIGHT, POSTAGE, TELEGRAMS, ETC., AND THEN TO MAKE A SMALL APPROPRIATION FOR THE MINOR AND UNIMPORTANT DISBURSEMENTS INCIDENTAL TO ANY GREAT BUSINESS, WHICH CANNOT WELL BE FORESEEN AND WHICH IT WOULD BE USELESS TO SPECIFY MORE ACCURATELY. FOR SUCH DISBURSEMENTS A ROUND SUM IS APPROPRIATED UNDER THE HEAD OF "CONTINGENT EXPENSES," OR "INCIDENTAL EXPENSES," OR "MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES.' * * *

THE PRESENT NEED OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR A MOTION-PICTURE CAMERA CANNOT BE CLASSIFIED AS AN UNFORESEEN NEED WHICH REASONABLY COULD NOT HAVE BEEN REQUESTED OF AND SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED OR REJECTED BY THE CONGRESS AS IN ITS JUDGMENT IT SAW FIT. WHILE SUCH EQUIPMENT MAY BE DESIRABLE, THE EXPENSE INCIDENT THERETO IS OF SUCH CHARACTER THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR ITS PROCUREMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED. SEE A-73229, SEPTEMBER 30, 1936.

I HAVE TO ADVISE, THEREFORE, THAT NEITHER THE APPROPRIATION PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED NOR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION UNDER YOUR CONTROL IS AVAILABLE FOR THE CONTEMPLATED PURCHASE.