A-86832, JUNE 17, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 1081

A-86832: Jun 17, 1937

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WHERE THE BOOKS ARE FOR USE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES BY LAW CLERKS. IS AS FOLLOWS: THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION IS ESTABLISHED UNDER THE BITUMINOUS COAL ACT OF 1937 (PUBLIC. SECTION 20 (B) OF WHICH STATUTE PROVIDES: "* * * ALL SUMS HERETOFORE OR HEREAFTER APPROPRIATED OR MADE AVAILABLE TO THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION AND TO THE CONSUMERS' COUNSEL OF THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION ESTABLISHED UNDER THE BITUMINOUS COAL CONSERVATION ACT OF 1935 ARE HEREBY TRANSFERRED AND MADE AVAILABLE FOR THE USES AND DURING THE PERIODS FOR WHICH APPROPRIATED. THERE IS ATTACHED HERETO A LIST OF BOOKS WHICH THIS COMMISSION DESIRES TO PURCHASE FOR ITS LIBRARY AND CHARGE AGAINST THE ABOVE APPROPRIATION.

A-86832, JUNE 17, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 1081

LAW BOOKS - PURCHASES UNDER APPROPRIATIONS AUTHORIZING PROCUREMENT OF REFERENCE BOOKS A BOOK OF REFERENCE DEPENDING NOT SO MUCH UPON THE SUBJECT MATTER TREATED AS THE METHOD OF TREATMENT AND THE USES TO WHICH PUT BY ITS USERS, LAW BOOKS, ALTHOUGH OF THE TEXT BOOK TYPE IF USED FOR INSTRUCTION OR STUDY, MAY NEVERTHELESS BE PURCHASED UNDER AN APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR REFERENCE BOOKS, BUT NOT PROVIDING SPECIFICALLY FOR LAW BOOKS, WHERE THE BOOKS ARE FOR USE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES BY LAW CLERKS, ATTORNEYS, ETC.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION, JUNE 17, 1937:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1937, IS AS FOLLOWS:

THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION IS ESTABLISHED UNDER THE BITUMINOUS COAL ACT OF 1937 (PUBLIC, NO. 48, 75TH CONGRESS, 1ST SESSION), SECTION 20 (B) OF WHICH STATUTE PROVIDES:

"* * * ALL SUMS HERETOFORE OR HEREAFTER APPROPRIATED OR MADE AVAILABLE TO THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION AND TO THE CONSUMERS' COUNSEL OF THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION ESTABLISHED UNDER THE BITUMINOUS COAL CONSERVATION ACT OF 1935 ARE HEREBY TRANSFERRED AND MADE AVAILABLE FOR THE USES AND DURING THE PERIODS FOR WHICH APPROPRIATED, IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THIS ACT BY THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION AND THE OFFICE OF THE CONSUMERS' COUNSEL HEREIN CREATED.'

THE ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1937 (PUBLIC, NO. 741, 74TH CONG.) PROVIDES FOR THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION ESTABLISHED UNDER THE ACT OF 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

"SALARIES AND EXPENSES: FOR ALL NECESSARY EXPENDITURES OF THE NATIONAL BITUMINOUS COAL COMMISSION IN PERFORMING THE DUTIES IMPOSED UPON SAID COMMISSION BY THE BITUMINOUS COAL CONSERVATION ACT OF 1935, APPROVED AUGUST 30, 1935 (39 STAT., P. 991), INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES AND RENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ELSEWHERE, TRAVELING EXPENSES, CONTRACT STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICES, STATIONERY AND OFFICE SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT, PRINTING AND BINDING, AND NOT TO EXCEED $2,500 FOR NEWSPAPERS, REFERENCE BOOKS, AND PERIODICALS, $900,000.'

THERE IS ATTACHED HERETO A LIST OF BOOKS WHICH THIS COMMISSION DESIRES TO PURCHASE FOR ITS LIBRARY AND CHARGE AGAINST THE ABOVE APPROPRIATION. RESPECTFULLY REQUEST ADVICE AS TO WHETHER SUCH ACTION MAY BE TAKEN AS TO ALL BOOKS LISTED, AND IF NOT AS TO ALL, WHICH PARTICULAR VOLUMES MAY BE PURCHASED.

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.

AS THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE EXPENSES OF YOUR COMMISSION DOES NOT PROVIDE SPECIFICALLY FOR LAW BOOKS AND MOST, IF NOT ALL, OF THE BOOKS LISTED BY YOU ARE LAW BOOKS, THEIR PURCHASE WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED UNLESS THEY CAN ALSO BE CLASSED AS REFERENCE BOOKS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR IN THE APPROPRIATION.

IN DECISION OF THE FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, 6 COMP. DEC. 311, IT WAS STATED ON PAGE 312 THAT---

* * * LAW BOOKS ARE SUCH BECAUSE OF THE SUBJECT-MATTER TREATED. PERIODICALS ARE SUCH BECAUSE OF THE METHOD OF THEIR PUBLICATION AND MANNER OF DISTRIBUTION TO SUBSCRIBERS AND PURCHASERS, THEIR SUBJECT MATTER EMBRACING A GREAT VARIETY OF SUBJECTS. A BOOK OF REFERENCE IS ONE NOT DEPENDING SO MUCH ON THE SUBJECT-MATTER TREATED AS THE METHOD OF TREATMENT AND THE USES TO WHICH IT IS PUT BY THE USERS. IF THE SUBJECT-MATTER OF THE BOOK IS ARRANGED IN A WAY FOR READY REFERENCE, AND THE BOOK IS USED AS A BOOK OF REFERENCE ONLY BY THE MAJORITY OF ITS USERS, AS TO THEM IT WOULD BE NONSENSICAL TO AFFIRM OF SUCH A BOOK THAT IT IS NOT A BOOK OF REFERENCE. A CITY DIRECTORY IS PREEMINENTLY A BOOK OF REFERENCE, AND IS SO REGARDED BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC. IT WOULD BE AN EXTRAORDINARY FACT TO FIND SUCH A BOOK ON THE CIRCULATING SIDE OF ANY LIBRARY.

AS THE BOOKS LISTED PRESUMABLY ARE NOT FOR USE AS TEXTBOOKS AS USED BY INSTRUCTORS FOR TEACHING PURPOSES OR BY STUDENTS ENGAGED IN THE STUDY OF LAW, BUT FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES QUALIFIED AS LAW CLERKS, ATTORNEYS, ETC., THEY MAY BE DESIGNATED AS REFERENCE BOOKS NOTWITHSTANDING THEY MAY ALSO BE LAW BOOKS. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE USE OF YOUR APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE BOOKS IN QUESTION.