B-113228, JANUARY 30, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 345

B-113228: Jan 30, 1953

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IS APPLICABLE TO SUCH PURCHASE. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED DECEMBER 16. THESE RESTRICTIONS AND CONTROLS WERE CONSOLIDATED AND CLARIFIED BY SECTION 16 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE ACT OF AUGUST 2. EXCEPT WHERE THE AUTO IS FOR THE USE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. SINCE THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IS ONE OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS ENUMERATED IN 5 U.S.C. 1. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS ITS HEAD. QUESTION 1 IS ACCORDINGLY ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. A MAXIMUM PRICE "IN NO EVENT MORE THAN SUCH AMOUNT AS MAY BE SPECIFIED IN AN APPROPRIATION OR OTHER ACT" AND IN EFFECT PROVIDES A CEILING WHEREVER ONE IS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED. THERE IS NOTHING IN SUCH SECTION WHICH WOULD PERMIT PURCHASE OF SUCH AUTOMOBILES FROM DEPARTMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS WITHOUT REGARD TO THE MAXIMUM PRICE.

B-113228, JANUARY 30, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 345

VEHICLES - PURCHASES - COST AND OTHER LIMITATIONS WHILE 5 U.S.C. 78 (A) PROHIBITS THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY IT SPECIFICALLY EXEMPTS FROM SUCH PROHIBITION THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES FOR THE USE OF HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, SO THAT A PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE MAY BE PURCHASED FOR THE USE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WITHOUT SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION OR APPROPRIATION HOWEVER, THE MAXIMUM PRICE LIMITATION OF $1400 ESTABLISHED BY SECTION 1401 OF THE ACT OF JULY 15, 1952, IS APPLICABLE TO SUCH PURCHASE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JANUARY 30, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED DECEMBER 16, 1952, FILE A3-5, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER (1) IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROPRIATION ITEM THEREFOR, A NEW PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE MAY BE PURCHASED, ON A REPLACEMENT BASIS, FOR THE USE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND (2) IF SO, WHETHER SUCH PURCHASE WOULD BE SUBJECT TO THE MAXIMUM PURCHASE PRICE LIMITATION OF $1,400 ESTABLISHED BY SECTION 1401 OF THE ACT OF JULY 15, 1952, 66 STAT. 659.

IT LONG HAS BEEN THE POLICY OF THE CONGRESS TO RESTRICT AND RETAIN LEGISLATIVE CONTROL OVER THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES BY THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT. THESE RESTRICTIONS AND CONTROLS WERE CONSOLIDATED AND CLARIFIED BY SECTION 16 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 810, WHICH AMENDED SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 5 U.S.C. 78, SO AS TO PROVIDE, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

UNLESS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW, NO APPROPRIATION SHALL BE EXPENDED TO PURCHASE OR HIRE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLES FOR ANY BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT OTHER THAN THOSE FOR THE USE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THE SECRETARIES TO THE PRESIDENT, OR THE HEADS OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS ENUMERATED IN 5 U.S.C. 1. (5 U.S.C. 78 (A) ( * * * * * * * *

UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED, NO APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR ANY DEPARTMENT SHALL BE EXPENDED---

(1) TO PURCHASE ANY PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE (EXCLUSIVE OF BUSSES, AMBULANCES, AND STATION WAGONS), AT A COST, COMPLETELY EQUIPPED FOR OPERATION, AND INCLUDING THE VALUE OF ANY VEHICLE EXCHANGED, IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM PRICE THEREFOR, IF ANY, ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO LAW BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY AND IN NO EVENT MORE THAN SUCH AMOUNT AS MAY BE SPECIFIED IN AN APPROPRIATION OR OTHER ACT, WHICH SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO THE AMOUNT REQUIRED FOR TRANSPORTATION; (5 U.S.C. 78 (C)

SECTION 78 (A) OF TITLE 5 OF THE U.S.C. SUPRA, CLEARLY PROHIBITS THE USE OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS FOR THE PURCHASE OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION THEREFOR, EXCEPT WHERE THE AUTO IS FOR THE USE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THE SECRETARIES TO THE PRESIDENT OR THE HEADS OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS ENUMERATED IN 5 U.S.C. 1. SINCE THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IS ONE OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS ENUMERATED IN 5 U.S.C. 1, AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS ITS HEAD, IT APPEARS CLEAR THAT APPROPRIATED MONEYS, OTHERWISE AVAILABLE, MAY BE USED FOR THE PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FOR THE USE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WITHOUT A SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION THEREFOR IN THE APPROPRIATION OR OTHER LAW. QUESTION 1 IS ACCORDINGLY ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

THE PROHIBITION, OF EXPENDITURE OF MONEYS AVAILABLE TO ANY DEPARTMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF A PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE IN EXCESS OF AMOUNTS SPECIFIED IN THE APPROPRIATION OR OTHER ACT--- ESTABLISHED BY SECTION 78 (C) OF TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE--- PRESCRIBES, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED, A MAXIMUM PRICE "IN NO EVENT MORE THAN SUCH AMOUNT AS MAY BE SPECIFIED IN AN APPROPRIATION OR OTHER ACT" AND IN EFFECT PROVIDES A CEILING WHEREVER ONE IS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED. THERE IS NOTHING IN SUCH SECTION WHICH WOULD PERMIT PURCHASE OF SUCH AUTOMOBILES FROM DEPARTMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS WITHOUT REGARD TO THE MAXIMUM PRICE, WHETHER THE VEHICLE IS PURCHASED UNDER A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION AUTHORIZATION THEREFOR WHICH PROVIDES NO CEILING (FOR INSTANCE, THE SEVERAL ITEMS FOR PURCHASE OF AUTOMOBILES CONTAINED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, 66 STAT. 556-560) OR UNDER THE EXCEPTION PROVIDED IN 5 U.S.C. 78 (A), SUPRA. THIS INTERPRETATION APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN GENERALLY ACCEPTED BY THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR THE PURCHASE OF MORE EXPENSIVE AUTOMOBILES WHERE DESIRED FOR USE BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN NUMEROUS ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS. IN THIS CONNECTION, SEE THE GENERAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1951, 64 STAT. 595-769 WHEREIN THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WAS AUTHORIZED TO PURCHASE "ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE AT NOT TO EXCEED $4,000 FOR REPLACEMENT ONLY" (64 STAT. 616); THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR WAS AUTHORIZED TO PURCHASE "ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE FOR REPLACEMENT ONLY AT NOT TO EXCEED $4,500" (64 STAT. 680); AND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE WAS AUTHORIZED TO PURCHASE PASSENGER VEHICLES "INCLUDING ONE AT NOT TO EXCEED $3,000" (64 STAT. 731). SEE ALSO THE LABOR-FEDERAL SECURITY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, WHEREIN THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WAS AUTHORIZED TO TO PURCHASE "NOT TO EXCEED ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE (AT NOT TO EXCEED $3,000) FOR REPLACEMENT ONLY" (66 STAT. 358); AND THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, AUTHORIZING THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO PURCHASE "ONE PASSENGER MOTOR VEHICLE FOR REPLACEMENT OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE USED BY THE SECRETARY WITH A COMPARABLE NEW MODEL" (66 STAT. 351).

ACCORDINGLY, IT MUST BE HELD THAT, WHILE A PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE FOR THE USE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MAY BE PURCHASED UNDER THE EXCEPTION PROVIDED BY 5 U.S.C. 78 (A) WITHOUT A SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROPRIATION ITEM THEREFOR, THE MAXIMUM PRICE OF $1,400 ESTABLISHED BY SECTION 1401 OF THE ACT OF JULY 15, 1952, 66 STAT. 659, PURSUANT TO 5 U.S.C. 78 (C) WOULD BE APPLICABLE TO SUCH PURCHASE IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION OR APPROPRIATION ITEM THEREFOR.