B-131420, MAY 14, 1957, 36 COMP. GEN. 771

B-131420: May 14, 1957

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WHICH THE ALEXANDER HAMILTON BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED TO ACCEPT FOR A SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. ARE TRUST FUNDS WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED WHEN NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE TRUST WITHOUT REFERENCE TO GENERAL REGULATORY AND PROHIBITORY STATUTES APPLICABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS. THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM IS EXPLAINED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS: AS A PART OF ITS PROGRAM. THE COMMISSION IS CONTEMPLATING A PROGRAM FOR ALEXANDER HAMILTON COMMEMORATIVE SCHOLARSHIPS AT BOTH THE HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE LEVELS. RES. 546 WHICH WAS ENACTED AS PUBLIC LAW 1002. ALTHOUGH THE CONTESTS FOR THE SCHOLARSHIPS WILL BE HELD DURING 1957. IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT SOME OF THE WINNERS WILL NOT YET HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO THE COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY OF THEIR CHOICE OR HAVE EVEN SELECTED THE COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY BY THE END OF THE YEAR.

B-131420, MAY 14, 1957, 36 COMP. GEN. 771

PRIVATE DONATIONS - ALEXANDER HAMILTON COMMEMORATIVE SCHOLARSHIPS - TRANSFER TO PRIVATE ORGANIZATION AFTER EXPIRATION OF COMMISSION PRIVATE DONATIONS, WHICH THE ALEXANDER HAMILTON BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED TO ACCEPT FOR A SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM, ARE TRUST FUNDS WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED WHEN NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE TRUST WITHOUT REFERENCE TO GENERAL REGULATORY AND PROHIBITORY STATUTES APPLICABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS, AND SUCH FUNDS MAY BE TRANSFERRED TO A PRIVATE ORGANIZATION TO CONTINUE THE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM BEYOND THE EXPIRATION DATE OF THE COMMISSION.

TO THE CHAIRMAN, ALEXANDER HAMILTON BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION, MAY 14, 1957:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1957, ACKNOWLEDGED APRIL 8, REQUESTING TO BE ADVISED WHETHER WE WOULD OBJECT TO HAVING THE ALEXANDER HAMILTON BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION EXECUTE AN AGREEMENT WITH A NONPROFIT EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION, WHEREBY FUNDS DONATED TO THE COMMISSION AND PROGRAMMED BY IT FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS WOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO THE ORGANIZATION FOR ADMINISTRATION OF SUCH AWARDS, ON A PERCENTAGE FEE BASIS, BEYOND THE COMMISSION'S EXPIRATION DATE, NAMELY, JANUARY 11, 1958.

THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM IS EXPLAINED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

AS A PART OF ITS PROGRAM, THE COMMISSION IS CONTEMPLATING A PROGRAM FOR ALEXANDER HAMILTON COMMEMORATIVE SCHOLARSHIPS AT BOTH THE HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE LEVELS, AS SET FORTH ON PAGE 2 OF HOUSE REPORT NO. 2631, 84TH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION ON H.J. RES. 546 WHICH WAS ENACTED AS PUBLIC LAW 1002, 84TH CONGRESS. ALTHOUGH THE CONTESTS FOR THE SCHOLARSHIPS WILL BE HELD DURING 1957, THE BICENTENNIAL YEAR, IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT SOME OF THE WINNERS WILL NOT YET HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO THE COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY OF THEIR CHOICE OR HAVE EVEN SELECTED THE COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY BY THE END OF THE YEAR. AS A CONSEQUENCE, WHEN THE COMMISSION EXPIRES ON JANUARY 11, 1958, THE DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS FOR THE SCHOLARSHIPS WILL NOT HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. ACCORDINGLY, THE COMMISSION MAY WISH TO GIVE CONSIDERATION TO THE TRANSFER OF THESE FUNDS TO A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION WHICH ADMINISTERS SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT ORGANIZATIONS, SUCH AS THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SECONDARY-SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND THE AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EDUCATION, WOULD ADMINISTER THE SCHOLARSHIP FUND, AFTER THE COMMISSION HAS CHOSEN THE WINNERS, FOR A CHARGE OF 5 OR 6 PERCENT OF THE GROSS AMOUNT OF THE FUND. IT IS STATED THAT THE CHARGE IS NECESSARY TO COVER COSTS OF POSTAGE, SECRETARIAL WORK, ALL FORMS NEEDED IN ADMINISTRATION OF FUNDS, DISTRIBUTION OF RULES AND REGULATIONS REGARDING USE OF SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS BY STUDENTS AND COLLEGE, FOLLOW-UP OF ALL SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS IN COLLEGE AND ANY OTHER NECESSARY SERVICES TO ASSURE FULL AND PROPER USE OF SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS BY STUDENT AND COLLEGE.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 20, 1954, 68 STAT. 746, 18 U.S.C. PREC. 3481, ESTABLISHING THE ALEXANDER HAMILTON BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION, PROVIDES THAT IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF THE COMMISSION TO PREPARE PLANS AND A PROGRAM FOR SIGNALIZING THE TWO HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON. IN ITS REPORT TO THE CONGRESS, SENATE DOCUMENT NO. 89, 84TH CONGRESS, THE COMMISSION RECOMMENDED PLANS AND PROGRAM OF CELEBRATION WHICH INCLUDED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, ACTIVITIES IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS. APPROPRIATIONS SUBSEQUENTLY WERE MADE TO THE COMMISSION FOR ITS USE IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT.

PUBLIC LAW 1002, APPROVED AUGUST 6, 1956, 70 STAT. 1067, 19 U.S.C. 120, PAR. 1774 NOTE, WHICH AMENDING THE ENABLING ACT, AUTHORIZED THE COMMISSION TO ACCEPT DONATIONS OF MONEY AND PROPERTY AND TO UTILIZE THE SAME IN CARRYING OUT ITS PURPOSES. IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 2631, 84TH CONGRESS, ON H.J. RES. 546, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 1002, IT IS STATED THAT THE COMMISSION PLANS TO AWARD SCHOLARSHIPS TO HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS; THAT PRIVATE FUNDS ONLY WILL BE USED IN THE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM; AND THAT THE MAIN PURPOSE OF THE RESOLUTION IS TO ESTABLISH CLEAR AUTHORITY IN THE COMMISSION TO RECEIVE VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. THUS, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS WHICH IT IS PROPOSED TO MAKE ARE TO BE FUNDED WITH PRIVATE RATHER THAN PUBLIC FUNDS.

PRIVATE CONTRIBUTIONS SUCH AS THOSE HERE IN QUESTION CONSTITUTE TRUST FUNDS WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 20 OF THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, APPROVED JUNE 26, 1934, 48 STAT. 1233, 31 U.S.C. 725S, TO BE DISBURSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE TRUST. ALSO, AS STATED IN 16 COMP. GEN. 650 AT PAGE 655, WHERE THE CONGRESS AUTHORIZES FEDERAL OFFICERS TO ACCEPT PRIVATE GIFTS OR BEQUESTS FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE, AUTHORITY MUST OF NECESSITY BE REPOSED IN THE CUSTODIANS OF THE TRUST FUND TO MAKE EXPENDITURES NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE TRUST WITHOUT REFERENCE TO GENERAL REGULATORY AND PROHIBITORY STATUTES APPLICABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS. CF. 14 COMP. GEN. 490.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IF THE COMMISSION DECIDES UPON A PROGRAM FOR ALEXANDER HAMILTON COMMEMORATIVE SCHOLARSHIPS THROUGH THE USE OF DONATIONS MADE FOR THE BENEFIT OF, OR IN CONNECTION WITH, THE CARRYING OUT OF ITS FUNCTIONS, THERE WOULD BE NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE TRANSFER OF SUCH FUNDS TO A RESPONSIBLE PRIVATE ORGANIZATION PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE COMMISSION'S EXPIRATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENABLING PROPER ADMINISTRATION OF THE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS BEYOND THAT DATE.