Election Assistance Commission--Obligation of Requirements Payments
B-316915, Sep 25, 2008
The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Inspector General (IG) has requested a decision regarding EAC's obligation of certain payments made under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). Letter from Curtis W. Crider, IG, EAC, to Gary L. Kepplinger, General Counsel, GAO, July 23, 2008 (Crider Letter). HAVA authorizes EAC to make payments to states, under a formula, for certain enumerated purposes, including meeting the requirements of Title III of HAVA. HAVA refers to these payments as "requirements payments" that a state may receive if it certifies that it has met certain preconditions under the statute including inter alia that it has filed a state plan, filed an administrative complaint procedure plan, and appropriated matching funds. At issue in this decision is whether HAVA's preconditions on a state's receipt of the requirements payments affect when EAC incurs an obligation of its requirements payments appropriation.
We conclude that despite the preconditions, the requirements payments are "required to be paid" within the meaning of 31 U.S.C. 1501(a)(5)(A) and are thus obligated by operation of law.