B-129390, NOV. 28, 1956

B-129390: Nov 28, 1956

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

THE SUBSCRIPTIONS WERE ORDERED ON JUNE 27. THE AMOUNT OF THE PURCHASE ORDER WAS REDUCED FROM $103 TO $51.50 BY THE CONTRACTOR BECAUSE THE SHEPARD'S PAPERBACK ISSUES. WHICH ARE PUBLISHED QUARTERLY. ARE CUMULATIVE AND CHARGE WAS MADE FOR ONE HALF YEAR ONLY (JULY THROUGH DECEMBER 1956). THE JULY ISSUE WAS PRINTED IN JUNE. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER IS WHETHER THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT FROM THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 APPROPRIATION. SINCE THE ISSUES TO BE RECEIVED WILL COVER JULY THROUGH DECEMBER 1956. THERE IS INVOLVED ALSO THE QUESTION WHETHER THE PAYMENT WOULD CONSTITUTE AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3648 REVISED STATUTES. OR OF THE ARTICLES DELIVERED PREVIOUSLY TO SUCH PAYMENT. * * *" AN EXCEPTION TO THE PROHIBITION OF SUCH ADVANCED PAYMENTS IS PROVIDED FOR IN 31 U.S.C. 530.

B-129390, NOV. 28, 1956

TO MISS ELLEN G. JENKINS, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1956, FILE EGJ, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE VOUCHER ENCLOSED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF SHEPARD'S CITATIONS, INC., MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE VOUCHER COVERS THE COST OF SUBSCRIPTIONS TO SHEPARD'S CITATIONS (FEDERAL REPORTER, SOUTHERN REPORTER, AND UNITED STATES CITATIONS). THE SUBSCRIPTIONS WERE ORDERED ON JUNE 27, 1956, TO RUN FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR JANUARY 1 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 1956, UNDER CONTRACT OS 02S 10231 AT A COST OF $103 PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION SALARIES AND EXPENSES, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1956. THE AMOUNT OF THE PURCHASE ORDER WAS REDUCED FROM $103 TO $51.50 BY THE CONTRACTOR BECAUSE THE SHEPARD'S PAPERBACK ISSUES, WHICH ARE PUBLISHED QUARTERLY, ARE CUMULATIVE AND CHARGE WAS MADE FOR ONE HALF YEAR ONLY (JULY THROUGH DECEMBER 1956). THE JULY ISSUE WAS PRINTED IN JUNE.

YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER IS WHETHER THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT FROM THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 APPROPRIATION, SINCE THE ISSUES TO BE RECEIVED WILL COVER JULY THROUGH DECEMBER 1956. SINCE DELIVERY OF ALL OF THE ISSUES BILLED FOR PRESUMABLY HAS NOT YET BEEN COMPLETED, THERE IS INVOLVED ALSO THE QUESTION WHETHER THE PAYMENT WOULD CONSTITUTE AN ADVANCE OF FUNDS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3648 REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. 529, WHICH READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"NO ADVANCE OF PUBLIC MONEY SHALL BE MADE IN ANY CASE UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED OR OTHER LAW. AND IN ALL CASES OF CONTRACTS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF ANY SERVICE, OR THE DELIVERY OF ARTICLES OF ANY DESCRIPTION, FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED STATES, PAYMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE VALUE OF THE SERVICE RENDERED, OR OF THE ARTICLES DELIVERED PREVIOUSLY TO SUCH PAYMENT. * * *"

AN EXCEPTION TO THE PROHIBITION OF SUCH ADVANCED PAYMENTS IS PROVIDED FOR IN 31 U.S.C. 530, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR PUBLICATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, TO BE PAID FOR BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE; SUBSCRIPTIONS TO NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, PERIODICALS, AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS, PURCHASED FROM FUNDS OF THE BRANCH, OFFICE, OR OFFICERS OF THE ARMY THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY MAY FROM TIME TO TIME DESIGNATE; SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR PUBLICATIONS FOR THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, TO BE PAID FOR BY THE DIRECTOR; SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS FOR THE NAVAL SERVICE, SUBSCRIPTIONS CHARGES FOR NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, AND OTHER PERIODICALS FOR OFFICIAL USE OF ANY OFFICE UNDER THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OR THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, TO BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE THEREFOR, MAY BE PAID IN ADVANCE.'

WEBSTER'S NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY, SECOND EDITION, DEFINES A "PERIODICAL" AS "A MAGAZINE OR OTHER PUBLICATION WHICH APPEARS AT STATED OR REGULAR INTERVALS.' THE PUBLICATIONS INVOLVED ON THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER ARE PAPERBACKED PAMPHLETS PURCHASED QUARTERLY. THEY SHOW THAT THEY ARE ENTITLED TO THE MAILS AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER, PERIODICAL PUBLICATIONS, UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1879, 20 STAT. 358, AS AMENDED, 39 U.S.C. 221. ACCORDINGLY, THE PUBLICATIONS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS WITHIN THE EXCEPTION TO ADVANCE PAYMENTS QUOTED ABOVE. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 459.

CONCERNING THE QUESTION WHETHER THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT FROM THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 APPROPRIATION, THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT THE COST OF PUBLICATIONS MAY BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT WHEN THE SUBSCRIPTION IS ORDERED. 2 COMP. GEN. 451; 23 ID. 326. IN THE PRESENT CASE THE PURCHASE ORDER AS ORIGINALLY ISSUED IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 COVERED A PART OF TWO FISCAL YEARS (JANUARY THROUGH DECEMBER 1956). WHILE THE PERIOD OF THE SUBSCRIPTIONS AS REDUCED BY THE CONTRACTOR RUNS FROM JULY THROUGH DECEMBER 1956 THE JULY ISSUE WAS PRINTED IN JUNE. ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT A NEED EXISTED FOR THE SUBSCRIPTIONS IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 AND THE PURCHASE ORDER WAS ISSUED IN THAT YEAR, THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT FROM THE 1956 APPROPRIATION SHOWN THEREON.