B-125641, OCTOBER 11, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 201

B-125641: Oct 11, 1955

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1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 27. IT IS EXPLAINED THAT A CENTRAL CLEARING HOUSE FOR THE COLLECTION. DISSEMINATION OF TECHNICAL INFORMATION WAS ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 9. ONE OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL IS TO ENCOURAGE AND SCREEN IDEAS AND INVENTIONS WHICH MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE IN THE FIELDS OF INDUSTRY AND ALSO VITAL IN THE FIELD OF NATIONAL DEFENSE. AT THE PRESENT TIME IT IS STATED THAT IT IS IN THE INTERESTS OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNICAL. IT IS TO CARRY OUT THESE FUNCTIONS IN THE MANNER AND SCOPE WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE BELIEVES NECESSARY BECAUSE OF THEIR IMPORTANCE TO THE NATIONAL DEFENSE THAT THE TRANSFER OF FUNDS NOW HAS BEEN PROPOSED.

B-125641, OCTOBER 11, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 201

APPROPRIATIONS - TRANSFERS - BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS - NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL FUNDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MAY BE TRANSFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE FOR THE NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL, AN INTERAGENCY BOARD ENGAGED IN AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES OF COMMON INTEREST TO THE MEMBER AGENCIES, UNDER 31 U.S.C. 691 WHICH AUTHORIZES APPROPRIATIONS FOR INTERAGENCY BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS, AND THE TRANSACTION MAY BE ACCOMPLISHED AS AN ACCOUNTING EXPEDIENCY BY A WORKING FUND ARRANGEMENT.

TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, OCTOBER 11, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 27, 1955, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, REQUESTING OUR DECISION ON A MATTER INVOLVING A PROPOSED TRANSFER OF FUNDS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE TO FURTHER THE ACTIVITIES OF THE NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL.

IT IS EXPLAINED THAT A CENTRAL CLEARING HOUSE FOR THE COLLECTION, INTEGRATION, RECORDING, AND DISSEMINATION OF TECHNICAL INFORMATION WAS ESTABLISHED WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1950, 64 STAT. 823. ALSO, IT APPEARS THAT THE NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL--- AN INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED IN AUGUST 1940 ( UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION MANUAL, 1955-1956, PAGE 261) AND COMPOSED OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, AND LEADING SCIENTISTS IN VARIOUS FIELDS--- HAS BEEN ASSIGNED THE DUTY OF CARRYING OUT CERTAIN RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1950, PARTICULARLY WHERE THE INFORMATION WOULD BE OF BENEFIT TO COMMERCE AND NATIONAL DEFENSE.

ONE OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL IS TO ENCOURAGE AND SCREEN IDEAS AND INVENTIONS WHICH MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE IN THE FIELDS OF INDUSTRY AND ALSO VITAL IN THE FIELD OF NATIONAL DEFENSE. AT THE PRESENT TIME IT IS STATED THAT IT IS IN THE INTERESTS OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND ENGINEERING INFORMATION, PARTICULARLY IN THE FIELDS OF DEFENSE ACTIVITIES, TO ENCOURAGE THE PRESENTATION TO THE NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW IDEAS BY PROSPECTIVE INVENTORS. IT IS TO CARRY OUT THESE FUNCTIONS IN THE MANNER AND SCOPE WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE BELIEVES NECESSARY BECAUSE OF THEIR IMPORTANCE TO THE NATIONAL DEFENSE THAT THE TRANSFER OF FUNDS NOW HAS BEEN PROPOSED. THE NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL IS REPORTED TO POSSESS SPECIAL FACILITIES FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS FUNCTION AND IT APPEARS THAT SUCH PERFORMANCE WOULD AVOID UNNECESSARY DUPLICATION OF EFFORT AND ORGANIZATION AND IN A GREATER SENSE UTILIZE THE ACTIVITIES OF THE COUNCIL. IT IS STATED THAT, AS A MATTER OF FACT, THE SERVICES OF THE COUNCIL COULD NOT BE DUPLICATED BECAUSE OF THE EMINENCE OF ITS MEMBERS.

OUR OPINION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH, THE PROPOSED TRANSFER OF FUNDS MAY BE REGARDED AS A TRANSFER OF FUNDS UNDER SECTION 601 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 417, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 686, AND, IF NOT, WHETHER THE TRANSFER OF FUNDS COMES WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 214 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, 59 STAT. 134, 31 U.S.C. 691, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

APPROPRIATIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE EXPENSES OF COMMITTEES, BOARDS, OR OTHER INTERAGENCY GROUPS ENGAGED IN AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES OF COMMON INTEREST TO SUCH DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS AND COMPOSED IN WHOLE OR IN PART OF REPRESENTATIVES THEREOF WHO RECEIVE NO ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION BY VIRTUE OF SUCH MEMBERSHIP: PROVIDED, THAT EMPLOYEES OF SUCH DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS RENDERING SERVICE FOR SUCH COMMITTEES, BOARDS, OR OTHER GROUPS, OTHER THAN AS REPRESENTATIVES, SHALL RECEIVE NO ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION BY VIRTUE OF SUCH SERVICE.

WHILE IT IS DOUBTFUL WHETHER SECTION 601 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, PROPERLY COULD BE CONSIDERED AS AUTHORIZING A TRANSFER OF FUNDS TO FINANCE THE WORK OF AN INTERAGENCY BOARD, SUCH AS INVOLVED HEREIN, WE HAVE SANCTIONED, IN OTHERWISE PROPER CASES, THE USE OF A WORKING FUND ARRANGEMENT AS A FEASIBLE AND EXPEDIENT ACCOUNTING METHOD FOR HANDLING THE FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS OF SUCH BOARDS OR COMMISSIONS UNDER 31 U.S.C. 691. SEE 28 COMP. GEN. 365.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE STATED FUNCTIONS OF THE NATIONAL INVENTORS COUNCIL, IT APPEARS THAT IT PRESENTLY IS ENGAGED IN AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES OF COMMON INTEREST TO THE AGENCIES REPRESENTED THEREON, AND IT ALSO APPEARS THAT THE FUNDS THAT WOULD BE ADVANCED FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE WOULD BE USED MERELY TO EXPAND OR ACCELERATE THE COUNCIL'S PROGRAM. THUS, AND PROVIDED THAT THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH THE FUNDS ARE PROPOSED TO BE TRANSFERRED OTHERWISE IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSES OUTLINED HEREIN, WE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE PROPOSED TRANSFER OF FUNDS.