B-110516, JULY 23, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 45

B-110516: Jul 23, 1952

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THE COMMISSION MAY OBTAIN AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS FROM AN AGENCY FOR WHICH INVESTIGATION SERVICES ARE TO BE RENDERED IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY CASH TO OPERATE THE PROGRAM. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 27. THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM IS EXPLAINED AS FOLLOWS: INASMUCH AS THE CONGRESS REDUCED THE AMOUNT OF THE REVOLVING FUND FROM THAT REQUESTED. THE COMMISSION WILL NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT CASH IN THE FIRST SIX OR EIGHT MONTHS OF OPERATION TO ADEQUATELY HANDLE THE PROGRAM. IT IS THEREFORE CONSIDERED DESIRABLE TO OBTAIN AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS FROM THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION. ONE OF THE AGENCIES FOR WHICH INVESTIGATIONS WILL BE PERFORMED. TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY CASH NEEDED UNTIL INITIAL ORGANIZATION AND TRAINING COSTS HAVE BEEN RECOVERED AND REIMBURSEMENTS ARE FLOWING INTO THE FUND AT A RATE COMPARABLE TO CASH OUTLAY.

B-110516, JULY 23, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 45

CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION LOYALTY INVESTIGATIONS FOR GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ADVANCE PAYMENTS UNDER THE ACT OF APRIL 5, 1952, WHICH PLACES IN THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAKING SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH THE EMPLOYMENT OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL, AND THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1952, WHICH ESTABLISHES A REVOLVING FUND TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSES OF SUCH INVESTIGATIONS FROM AVAILABLE FUNDS OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, THE COMMISSION MAY OBTAIN AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS FROM AN AGENCY FOR WHICH INVESTIGATION SERVICES ARE TO BE RENDERED IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY CASH TO OPERATE THE PROGRAM.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, JULY 23, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 27, 1952, BF:WBU:DBS, FROM L. A. MOYER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REQUESTING THE OPINION OF THIS OFFICE AS TO WHETHER THE COMMISSION, IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE INVESTIGATIVE FUNCTIONS TRANSFERRED TO IT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 298, APPROVED APRIL 5, 1952, 66 STAT. 43, MAY OBTAIN AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS FROM THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION FOR USE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE REVOLVING FUND PROVIDED FOR FINANCING SUCH INVESTIGATIONS IN THE THIRD SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, PUBLIC LAW 375, APPROVED JUNE 5, 1952, 66 STAT. 107. THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM IS EXPLAINED AS FOLLOWS:

INASMUCH AS THE CONGRESS REDUCED THE AMOUNT OF THE REVOLVING FUND FROM THAT REQUESTED, THE COMMISSION WILL NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT CASH IN THE FIRST SIX OR EIGHT MONTHS OF OPERATION TO ADEQUATELY HANDLE THE PROGRAM. IT IS THEREFORE CONSIDERED DESIRABLE TO OBTAIN AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS FROM THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, ONE OF THE AGENCIES FOR WHICH INVESTIGATIONS WILL BE PERFORMED, TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY CASH NEEDED UNTIL INITIAL ORGANIZATION AND TRAINING COSTS HAVE BEEN RECOVERED AND REIMBURSEMENTS ARE FLOWING INTO THE FUND AT A RATE COMPARABLE TO CASH OUTLAY.

IT IS INDICATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE PROPOSED ADVANCE IS TO BE CREDITED TO THE REVOLVING FUND, AND THAT THE COMMISSION CONTEMPLATES DISCHARGING ITS LIABILITY TO THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION ON ACCOUNT THEREOF AS INVESTIGATIONS MADE ON BEHALF OF THE LATTER ARE COMPLETED.

SECTION 4 OF PUBLIC LAW 298, 66 STAT. 44, SUPRA, READS AS FOLLOWS:

IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS AND PURPOSES OF THIS ACT, APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES, ON WHOSE ACCOUNT INVESTIGATIONS ARE MADE PURSUANT TO THE STATUTES AMENDED BY SECTION 1 OF THIS ACT, SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR ADVANCES OR REIMBURSEMENTS DIRECTLY TO THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, OR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, FOR THE COST OF INVESTIGATIONS MADE FOR SUCH DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE COMMISSION FOR " INVESTIGATIONS" CONTAINED IN THE THIRD SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, PROVIDES:

INVESTIGATIONS: FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A REVOLVING FUND WHICH SHALL BE AVAILABLE TO THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION WITHOUT FISCAL YEAR LIMITATION FOR FINANCING INVESTIGATIONS, THE COSTS OF WHICH ARE REQUIRED OR AUTHORIZED BY PUBLIC LAW 298, EIGHTY-SECOND CONGRESS, OR ANY OTHER LAW TO BE BORNE BY APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS OF OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES, $4,000,000: PROVIDED, THAT SAID FUND SHALL BE REIMBURSED FROM AVAILABLE FUNDS OF SUCH DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES FOR INVESTIGATIONS MADE FOR THEM AT RATES ESTIMATED BY THE COMMISSION TO BE ADEQUATE TO RECOVER EXPENSES OF OPERATION, INCLUDING PROVISION FOR ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE AND DEPRECIATION OF EQUIPMENT PURCHASED BY THE FUND: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT ANY SURPLUS ACCRUING TO THE FUND IN ANY FISCAL YEAR SHALL BE PAID INTO THE GENERAL FUND OF THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS DURING THE ENSUING FISCAL YEAR: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT ANY SUCH SURPLUS MAY BE APPLIED FIRST TO RESTORE ANY IMPAIRMENT OF THE CAPITAL OF THE FUND BY REASON OF VARIATIONS BETWEEN THE RATE CHARGED FOR WORK OR SERVICES AND THE AMOUNT SUBSEQUENTLY DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSION TO BE THE COST OF PERFORMING SUCH WORK OR SERVICES.

PURSUANT TO THE CITED STATUTE, THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IS RESPONSIBLE, WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS NOT HERE MATERIAL, FOR MAKING SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS IN CONNECTION WITH THE EMPLOYMENT OF FEDERAL PERSONNEL, AND THE DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES, ON WHOSE ACCOUNT SUCH INVESTIGATIONS ARE MADE, ARE REQUIRED TO DEFRAY THE COSTS THEREOF FROM APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS OTHERWISE AVAILABLE THEREFOR. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER APPARENTLY STEMS FROM THE FACT THAT WHILE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4 OF PUBLIC LAW 298, SUPRA, PAYMENTS BY GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES TO THE COMMISSION, ON ACCOUNT OF INVESTIGATIONS, ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE EITHER IN ADVANCE OF THE RENDITION OF SUCH SERVICES OR UPON A REIMBURSEMENT BASIS AND CREDITED DIRECTLY TO THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE COMMISSION, THE FIRST PROVISO OF THE THIRD SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, WHICH ESTABLISHED THE REVOLVING FUND, PROVIDES ONLY THAT SUCH FUND BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COSTS OF INVESTIGATIONS.

THE WORD "REIMBURSED," IN ITS USUAL AND ORDINARY SENSE, MEANS REPAID OR MADE WHOLE. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 875, 877. HOWEVER, IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE CONGRESS INTENDED TO ATTRIBUTE TO SUCH WORD A SPECIAL OR TECHNICAL MEANING, IN CONSIDERATION OF THE PARTICULAR FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED, RESORT MAY BE HAD TO ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY.

THE RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROPRIATION FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF REVOLVING FUND IN THE AMOUNT OF $6,500,000 WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE SENATE BY THE PRESIDENT ( SENATE DOCUMENT NO. 114, 82D CONGRESS, 2D SESSION), AND INCLUDED IN THE THIRD SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, AS A RESULT OF A SENATE FLOOR AMENDMENT BY SENATOR JOHNSTON. SEE PAGE 4247, CONGRESSIONAL RECORD-SENATE FOR APRIL 22, 1952. IN THE DISCUSSIONS THEREON AT PAGES 4248, 4249, SENATOR CORDON EXPLAINED THAT " MONEY TO DO THE INVESTIGATING WORK WILL BE AVAILABLE IN EXCESS OF SIX AND ONE-HALF MILLION DOLLARS. IT WILL BE APPROPRIATED TO THE FBI AND BY THE FBI TRANSFERRED TO THE AGENCIES FOR WHOM THE INVESTIGATIONS WILL BE MADE, AND THOSE AGENCIES ARE AUTHORIZED EITHER TO ADVANCE THE MONEY FOR THE INVESTIGATIONS PRIOR TO THEIR BEING MADE, ON AN ESTIMATE, OR TO PAY THE COSTS AFTER THE COSTS ARE KNOWN. THE SUM OF $6,500,000 IS NEEDED, HOWEVER, TO PURCHASE NECESSARY FACILITIES, THE FURNITURE, THE EQUIPMENT, AND ALL THE THINGS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH THE AGENCY, AND TO FURNISH THE FIRST MONEY FOR THE INVESTIGATIONS CONDUCTED UNTIL SUCH TIME AS PAYMENTS COME IN FROM THE AGENCIES SERVED.'

THUS, THE LEGISLATIVE PROCEEDINGS ATTENDANT UPON THE ENACTMENT OF THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED DISCLOSE NOTHING THEREIN WHICH WOULD FURNISH A REASONABLE BASIS THAT THE WORD "REIMBURSED" WAS USED IN OTHER THAN THE SENSE THAT THE REVOLVING FUND WAS TO BE MADE WHOLE WITH RESPECT TO THE COSTS OF INVESTIGATIONS, AND THAT IT WAS NOT INTENDED TO LIMIT OR RESTRICT THE METHOD OF MAKING OR HANDLING PAYMENTS ON ACCOUNT OF INVESTIGATIONS AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 4, OF PUBLIC LAW 298.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE IT APPEARS THAT CURRENT FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE TO THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION FOR PERSONNEL INVESTIGATIONS, IF IT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE TO OBTAIN AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS FROM THAT COMMISSION, IN ORDER TO FACILITATE CARRYING OUT THE SECURITY-INVESTIGATION PROGRAM, AND IF SUCH ADVANCE PAYMENT BE EXPRESSLY CONDITIONED UPON ITS BEING FOR AUTHORIZED SERVICES TO BE RENDERED, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO SUCH ADVANCE AS OUTLINED IN THE LETTER.