A-93867, APRIL 13, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 838

A-93867: Apr 13, 1938

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OR OTHER SIMILAR ORGANIZATIONS WHERE CONSIDERATION OR DISCUSSION IS GIVEN TO SUBJECT MATTERS WITHIN THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THE NATIONAL HOUSING ACT. THE LIMITATION IS NOT APPLICABLE TO EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH CONFERENCES BETWEEN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE ADMINISTRATION OR BETWEEN SUCH PERSONNEL AND REPRESENTATIVES OF LENDING INSTITUTIONS. OTHERS CONNECTED WITH REAL ESTATE OPERATIONS ENGAGED IN ACTIVITIES IN WHICH BOTH THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE PARTICIPATING CONCERNS ARE INTERESTED. IS AS FOLLOWS: THE APPROPRIATION ACT. IT IS NECESSARY IN THE OPERATIONS OF THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION TO HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE ATTEND NATIONAL. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT SUCH CONVENTIONS COME CLEARLY WITHIN THE PROVISION OF THE ACT ABOVE QUOTED.

A-93867, APRIL 13, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 838

TRAVELING EXPENSES - CONVENTIONS, CONFERENCES, ETC. - DEFINITION OF "MEETINGS" IN FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATION LIMITATION THE PHRASE "MEETINGS CONCERNED WITH THE WORK OF THE ADMINISTRATION" APPEARING IN THE LIMITATION IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT OF JUNE 28, 1937, 50 STAT. 350, ON THE AMOUNT AUTHORIZED TO BE EXPENDED BY THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION FOR ATTENDANCE THEREAT, MEANS CONVENTIONS, GATHERINGS, MEETINGS, OR OTHER FORMS OF ASSEMBLAGE UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PRIVATE OR NON-FEDERAL SOCIETIES, ASSOCIATIONS, OR OTHER SIMILAR ORGANIZATIONS WHERE CONSIDERATION OR DISCUSSION IS GIVEN TO SUBJECT MATTERS WITHIN THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THE NATIONAL HOUSING ACT, AS AMENDED, THE EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD BE PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, OR JOINT RESOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 19, BUT THE LIMITATION IS NOT APPLICABLE TO EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH CONFERENCES BETWEEN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE ADMINISTRATION OR BETWEEN SUCH PERSONNEL AND REPRESENTATIVES OF LENDING INSTITUTIONS, ARCHITECTS, APPRAISERS, AND OTHERS CONNECTED WITH REAL ESTATE OPERATIONS ENGAGED IN ACTIVITIES IN WHICH BOTH THE ADMINISTRATION AND THE PARTICIPATING CONCERNS ARE INTERESTED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION, APRIL 13, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 28, 1938, IS AS FOLLOWS:

THE APPROPRIATION ACT, MAKING FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION, CONTAINS A PROVISION:

"NOT TO EXCEED $2,000 FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE, WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR, AT MEETINGS CONCERNED WITH THE WORK OF THE ADMINISTRATION.'

A QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO THE INTERPRETATION OF THE MEANING OF THE WORD "MEETING" AS CONTAINED IN THE ACT.

IT IS NECESSARY IN THE OPERATIONS OF THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION TO HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE ATTEND NATIONAL, STATE, AND LOCAL CONVENTIONS, SUCH AS AMERICAN BANKERS' ASSOCIATION, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE BOARDS, NATIONAL LUMBER MANUFACTURERS' ASSOCIATION, AND OTHERS. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT SUCH CONVENTIONS COME CLEARLY WITHIN THE PROVISION OF THE ACT ABOVE QUOTED.

HOWEVER, IN ADDITION TO ATTENDANCE AT THESE CONVENTIONS IT HAS BEEN FOUND NECESSARY TO HAVE REPRESENTATIVES CONTACT LOCAL GROUPS OF OFFICERS OF LENDING INSTITUTIONS, ARCHITECTS, APPRAISERS, AND OTHERS CONNECTED WITH REAL ESTATE OPERATIONS. THESE GATHERINGS MAY BE CALLED BY THIS ADMINISTRATION OR A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION MAY BE REQUESTED BY ONE OF THESE GROUPS TO APPEAR. THE GATHERING MAY CONSIST OF ONLY A FEW PERSONS OR MAY CONSIST OF A LARGE NUMBER AND MAY INCLUDE REPRESENTATIVES OF OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.

AT TIMES IT IS ALSO NECESSARY TO CALL ZONE MEETINGS OF THE DIRECTORS AND CHIEF UNDERWRITERS OF OUR FIELD OFFICES. THESE MEETINGS USUALLY TAKE PLACE AT SOME CENTRAL CITY WITHIN A PARTICULAR ZONE AND ARE USUALLY CONDUCTED BY ONE OR MORE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE WASHINGTON OFFICE.

WHENEVER POSSIBLE A REPRESENTATIVE IS SELECTED FROM ONE OF OUR FIELD OFFICES AT OR NEAR THE PLACE THE CONVENTION OR MEETING IS BEING CONDUCTED.

IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROVISION IS TO MODIFY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT.184:

"NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE EXPENDED FOR MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES OR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION OR FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE OF ANY PERSON AT ANY MEETING OR CONVENTION OF MEMBERS OF ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION, UNLESS SUCH FEES, DUES, OR EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUCH PURPOSES OR ARE PROVIDED FOR IN EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION.'

IN ORDER TO CLARIFY THE WORD "MEETING," AS USED IN THE APPROPRIATION LANGUAGE, WILL YOU PLEASE GIVE US A RULING AS TO THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION OF THIS WORD?

THE APPROPRIATION LIMITATION OF $2,000 TO WHICH YOU REFER APPEARS IN THE ACT OF JUNE 28, 1937, 50 STAT. 350, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1938.

IN ADDITION TO SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, THERE ALSO IS FOR CONSIDERATION JOINT RESOLUTION DATED FEBRUARY 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 19, PROVIDING 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.

THE PRESIDENT IS HEREBY REQUESTED TO SEND A COPY OF THIS RESOLUTION TO THE HEADS OF ALL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES WHICH HAVE BEEN GRANTED LUMP-SUM APPROPRIATIONS.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN THE 1912 STATUTE AGAINST THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS OR CONVENTIONS DOES NOT APPLY UNLESS THE MEETING OR CONVENTION IS OF MEMBERS OF A SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION. 5 COMP. GEN. 834. THE 1935 STATUTE, SUPRA, IS SPECIFICALLY NOT APPLICABLE TO PROHIBIT "THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES.' SEE GENERALLY 16 COMP. GEN. 839; ID. 850.

HENCE, THE PHRASE "MEETINGS CONCERNED WITH THE WORK OF THE ADMINISTRATION" APPEARING IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT WHICH THE ADMINISTRATION IS LIMITED TO $2,000 PER ANNUM, MEANS CONVENTIONS, GATHERINGS, MEETINGS, OR OTHER FORMS OF ASSEMBLAGE UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PRIVATE OR NON-FEDERAL SOCIETIES, ASSOCIATIONS, OR OTHER SIMILAR ORGANIZATIONS WHERE CONSIDERATION OR DISCUSSION IS GIVEN TO SUBJECT MATTERS WITHIN THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THE NATIONAL HOUSING ACT, AS AMENDED, THE EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD BE PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, OR JOINT RESOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 19, AND NOT CONFERENCES BETWEEN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION OR BETWEEN THE PERSONNEL OF THE ADMINISTRATION AND REPRESENTATIVES OF LENDING INSTITUTIONS, ARCHITECTS, APPRAISERS, AND OTHERS CONNECTED WITH REAL ESTATE OPERATIONS ENGAGED IN ACTIVITIES IN WHICH BOTH THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION AND THE PARTICIPATING CONCERNS ARE INTERESTED.