B-107678, FEBRUARY 18, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 398

B-107678: Feb 18, 1952

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AGAINST PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS DOES NOT PROHIBIT THE USE OF THE ECONOMIC STABILIZATION AGENCY'S SALARIES AND EXPENSES APPROPRIATION FOR PAYMENT OF A FEE FOR MEMBERSHIP OF AN OFFICE OF THAT AGENCY IN A CREDIT ASSOCIATION WHERE THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE MEMBERSHIP IS TO FACILITATE THE PROCUREMENT AND REDUCE THE COST OF CREDIT REPORTS NECESSARY TO THE ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONS OF THE AGENCY UNDER THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT OF 1950. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 17. IS AUTHORIZED TO BECOME A MEMBER OF A CREDIT ASSOCIATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF FACILITATING THE PROCUREMENT OF CREDIT REPORTS NECESSARY TO THE ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONS OF THAT OFFICE UNDER THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT OF 1950.

B-107678, FEBRUARY 18, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 398

FEES - MEMBERSHIP OF GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN PRIVATE ASSOCIATION THE INHIBITION IN SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, AGAINST PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS DOES NOT PROHIBIT THE USE OF THE ECONOMIC STABILIZATION AGENCY'S SALARIES AND EXPENSES APPROPRIATION FOR PAYMENT OF A FEE FOR MEMBERSHIP OF AN OFFICE OF THAT AGENCY IN A CREDIT ASSOCIATION WHERE THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE MEMBERSHIP IS TO FACILITATE THE PROCUREMENT AND REDUCE THE COST OF CREDIT REPORTS NECESSARY TO THE ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONS OF THE AGENCY UNDER THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT OF 1950.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, ECONOMIC STABILIZATION AGENCY, FEBRUARY 18, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 17, 1952, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE OFFICE OF PRICE STABILIZATION, ECONOMIC STABILIZATION AGENCY, IS AUTHORIZED TO BECOME A MEMBER OF A CREDIT ASSOCIATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF FACILITATING THE PROCUREMENT OF CREDIT REPORTS NECESSARY TO THE ENFORCEMENT FUNCTIONS OF THAT OFFICE UNDER THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT OF 1950, PUBLIC LAW 774, APPROVED SEPTEMBER 8, 1950, 64 STAT. 798, AS AMENDED, AND TO USE FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH FUNCTIONS FOR THAT PURPOSE.

YOUR LETTER STATES THAT THE PROCUREMENT OF CREDIT REPORTS IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY IN THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT, AND THAT SUCH REPORTS MAY BE PURCHASED FROM CREDIT ASSOCIATIONS BY MEMBERS THEREOF AT A SUBSTANTIALLY LESSER COST THAN THE CHARGE TO NON-MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATIONS. ALSO, IT APPEARS FROM INFORMATION INFORMALLY RECEIVED THAT IN AT LEAST ONE INSTANCE THE CREDIT ASSOCIATION WILL WAIVE PAYMENT OF THE CUSTOMARY MEMBERSHIP FEE BY THE OFFICE OF PRICE STABILIZATION.

SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, 5 U.S.C. 83, AS AMENDED, PROVIDES:

NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY ANY 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. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE SO CONSTRUED AS TO PROHIBIT THE PAYMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OF EXPENSES INCIDENTAL TO THE DELIVERY OF LECTURES, THE GIVING OF INSTRUCTION, OR THE ACQUIRING OF INFORMATION AT MEETINGS BY ITS EMPLOYEES ON SUBJECTS RELATING TO THE WORK OF THE DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZED BY LAW.

GENERALLY, THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISION IS AGAINST THE PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT AS INDIVIDUALS AND DOES NOT APPLY SO AS TO PREVENT A FEDERAL AGENCY AS SUCH FROM BECOMING A MEMBER OF AN ASSOCIATION IN CARRYING OUT AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES OF THE AGENCY. 24 COMP. GEN. 814.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE ECONOMIC STABILIZATION AGENCY, CONTAINED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, PUBLIC LAW 253, APPROVED NOVEMBER 1, 1951, 65 STAT. 752, PROVIDES " FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY" FOR CARRYING OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THAT AGENCY. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THE PROCUREMENT OF CREDIT REPORTS IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY TO THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT, AND AS IT APPEARS THAT MEMBERSHIP IN CREDIT ASSOCIATIONS WILL MATERIALLY REDUCE THE COST OF SUCH REPORTS TO THE UNITED STATES, THE INVOLVED APPROPRIATION MAY BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH CREDIT REPORTS AND FOR MEMBERSHIP FEES IN CREDIT ASSOCIATIONS WHEN REQUIRED BY THEM. CF. 19 COMP. GEN. 937; 20 ID. 497; 24 ID. 814. IN THE LATTER CONNECTION, THERE WOULD BE NO OBJECTION TO THE ACCEPTANCE BY A FEDERAL AGENCY OF GRATUITOUS MEMBERSHIP IN CREDIT ASSOCIATIONS. 27 COMP. DEC. 131; 7 COMP. GEN. 810.