B-117393, NOVEMBER 13, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 216

B-117393: Nov 13, 1953

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1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 14. " BUT THAT CURRENT STATISTICS PROGRAMS OF THE CENSUS BUREAU AND THE BUSINESS SERVICES FIELD PROGRAM HAVE ALREADY BEEN APPORTIONED AND APPROVED ON THE BASIS OF A PROBABLE SUPPLEMENTATION FOR PARTIAL COSTS OF PENALTY MAIL. YOUR REQUEST FOR A DECISION IS DIRECTLY CONCERNED WITH THE PROPRIETY OF A TRANSFER OF FUNDS. IS TO PROVIDE THE AUTHORITY AND MAKE AVAILABLE FOR TRANSFER APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS OF ALL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT. THE TRANSFER OF FUNDS BETWEEN APPROPRIATIONS IS NOT AUTHORIZED. " AND HAVING REGARD FOR THE FACT THAT AGENCIES GENERALLY WILL HAVE TO ABSORB THE COST OF PENALTY MAIL FROM THEIR AVAILABLE FUNDS.

B-117393, NOVEMBER 13, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 216

APPROPRIATIONS - TRANSFERS WITHIN DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS - PAYMENT OF PENALTY MAIL COSTS SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 15, 1953, WHICH ADDS TO SECTION 301 OF THE PENALTY MAIL ACT OF 1948, A PROVISION REQUIRING REIMBURSEMENT TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT MAIL AND MAKES AVAILABLE FOR TRANSFERS TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT TO COVER SUCH PENALTY MAIL COSTS "ANY APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT, AGENCIES, OR ESTABLISHMENTS CONCERNED," MAY BE CONSTRUED TO AUTHORIZE INTRA-AGENCY FUND TRANSFERS IN CONNECTION WITH PAYMENT OF PENALTY MAIL COSTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, NOVEMBER 13, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 14, 1953, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 15, 1953, PUBLIC LAW 286, 67 STAT. 614, WHICH ADDED TO SECTION 301 OF THE PENALTY MAIL ACT OF 1948, 62 STAT. 1048, A PROVISION REQUIRING REIMBURSEMENT TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT MAIL MATTER, MAY BE CONSTRUED TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSFER OF FUNDS IN ONE APPROPRIATION FOR PAYMENT OF PENALTY MAIL COSTS RELATED TO ACTIVITIES FINANCED FROM ANOTHER APPROPRIATION.

SAID SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 15, 1953, AS QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, PROVIDES:

* * * THERE SHALL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AS POSTAL REVENUE, OUT OF ANY APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENTS, AGENCIES, AND ESTABLISHMENTS CONCERNED, THE EQUIVALENT AMOUNT OF POSTAGE DUE THEREFORE * * *.

YOU STATE THAT REDUCTION OF 1954 PROGRAMS RESULTS IN A SITUATION WHERE A BUDGETARY RESERVE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE APPROPRIATION " SALARIES AND EXPENSES, CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION," BUT THAT CURRENT STATISTICS PROGRAMS OF THE CENSUS BUREAU AND THE BUSINESS SERVICES FIELD PROGRAM HAVE ALREADY BEEN APPORTIONED AND APPROVED ON THE BASIS OF A PROBABLE SUPPLEMENTATION FOR PARTIAL COSTS OF PENALTY MAIL. THUS, YOUR REQUEST FOR A DECISION IS DIRECTLY CONCERNED WITH THE PROPRIETY OF A TRANSFER OF FUNDS, ON A NON-EXPENDITURE BASIS, FROM THE BUDGETARY RESERVE UNDER THE CITED APPROPRIATION TO APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE CENSUS BUREAU AND FIELD OFFICE SERVICE ( BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC SERVICE), IN ORDER TO REFLECT PAYMENT OF PENALTY MAIL COSTS DIRECTLY FROM SUCH BUREAU APPROPRIATIONS, AND YOU POINT OUT THAT SUCH TRANSFER WOULD BE FROM A DEPARTMENT, AGENCY, OR ESTABLISHMENT AVAILABILITY AS DISTINGUISHED FROM A BUREAU OR OFFICE STANDPOINT.

THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 15, 1953, AS STATED IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 1004 AND SENATE REPORT NO. 732, REPORTING OUT THE BILL ( H.R. 6281), WHICH RESULTED IN ENACTMENT OF THE QUOTED LAW, IS TO PROVIDE THE AUTHORITY AND MAKE AVAILABLE FOR TRANSFER APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS OF ALL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS, AGENCIES, AND ESTABLISHMENTS (INCLUDING GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS), TO PAY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT THE POSTAL CHARGES FOR CARRYING THE MAIL OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY CONCERNED.

IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS PROVISION OF LAW, THE TRANSFER OF FUNDS BETWEEN APPROPRIATIONS IS NOT AUTHORIZED. SEE SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. 628, AND SECTION 1210 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1920, 64 STAT. 765. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE BROAD AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN PUBLIC LAW 286, QUOTED ABOVE, RELATIVE TO EFFECTING PAYMENT FROM "ANY APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENTS, AGENCIES, AND ESTABLISHMENTS," AND HAVING REGARD FOR THE FACT THAT AGENCIES GENERALLY WILL HAVE TO ABSORB THE COST OF PENALTY MAIL FROM THEIR AVAILABLE FUNDS--- SEE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET BULLETIN NO. 54-4, OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1953--- YOU ARE ADVISED THAT, IF THE METHOD OUTLINED IN YOUR LETTER FOR ACCOMPLISHING PAYMENT TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR PENALTY MAIL, THAT IS, THE TRANSFER OF FUNDS BETWEEN THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE TO THE BUREAUS OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, BE DETERMINED TO BE DESIRABLE FROM AN ACCOUNTING AND BUDGETING STANDPOINT, THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT THERETO.