B-149396, JUL. 26, 1962

B-149396: Jul 26, 1962

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REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF DUES FOR MEMBERSHIP OF THE BOARD IN THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY ASSOCIATION. THE ISSA IS AFFILIATED WITH THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR OFFICE BUT OPERATES MORE OR LESS ON AN INDEPENDENT BASIS. "2. THE AIM OF THE ASSOCIATION IS "TO CO-OPERATE. THE ISSA DOES NOT ISSUE ANY DIRECTIVES TO ITS MEMBERS AND ITS RECOMMENDATIONS ARE NOT BINDING UPON THE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS. "4. AFFILIATED MEMBERSHIP IS OPEN TO "GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS. THE QUESTION OF MEMBERSHIP IN ISSA IS APPARENTLY NOT A MATTER WHICH INVOLVES NATIONAL POLICY. "7. MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES OF THE ASSOCIATION HAVE BEEN ATTENDED BY BOTH TOP ADMINISTRATORS AND TECHNICIANS.

B-149396, JUL. 26, 1962

TO HOWARD W. HABERMEYER:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 5, 1962, REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF DUES FOR MEMBERSHIP OF THE BOARD IN THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY ASSOCIATION.

YOU SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER SOME INFORMATION CONCERNING THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY ASSOCIATION AND ITS MODE OF OPERATION, AS FOLLOWS:

"1. THE ISSA IS AFFILIATED WITH THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR OFFICE BUT OPERATES MORE OR LESS ON AN INDEPENDENT BASIS.

"2. THE AIM OF THE ASSOCIATION IS "TO CO-OPERATE, AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL, IN THE PROTECTION, PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, THROUGH ITS TECHNICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE IMPROVEMENT.'

"3. THE ISSA DOES NOT ISSUE ANY DIRECTIVES TO ITS MEMBERS AND ITS RECOMMENDATIONS ARE NOT BINDING UPON THE MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS.

"4. AFFILIATED MEMBERSHIP IS OPEN TO "GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS, CENTRAL INSTITUTIONS, NATIONAL UNIONS OF INSTITUTIONS OR OF MUTUAL BENEFIT SOCIETIES ADMINISTERING SOCIAL SECURITY OR ONE OF ITS BRANCHES.'

"5. IN JANUARY 1962, THE ISSA HAD 191 AFFILIATED MEMBERS IN 81 COUNTRIES. THE UNITED STATES MEMBERSHIP CONSISTED OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION AND THE STATE SOCIAL INSURANCE FUND OF PUERTO RICO.

"6. OFFICIALLY, THE QUESTION OF MEMBERSHIP IN ISSA IS APPARENTLY NOT A MATTER WHICH INVOLVES NATIONAL POLICY.

"7. THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION JOINED ISSA IN OCTOBER 1957. MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES OF THE ASSOCIATION HAVE BEEN ATTENDED BY BOTH TOP ADMINISTRATORS AND TECHNICIANS. THE LAST GENERAL MEETING, WHICH WAS HELD IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY, IN SEPTEMBER 1961, WAS ATTENDED BY MESSRS. MITCHELL, COHEN, BALL AND MYERS AND ALSO BY MRS. MERRIAN (THREE ADMINISTRATORS AND TWO TECHNICIANS).

"8. THE BOARD WOULD BE ELIGIBLE TO APPOINT FIVE DELEGATES TO THE MEETINGS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. THIS BODY HAS BEEN MEETING ONCE EVERY THREE YEARS. THE NEXT MEETING IS SCHEDULED TO BE HELD IN WASHINGTON, D.C., IN 1964.

"9. AN ORGAN OF THE ASSOCIATION MORE DIRECTLY DEVOTED TO THE MANAGING OF THE ORGANIZATION IS THE COUNCIL. EACH COUNTRY IS REPRESENTED ON THE COUNCIL BY ONE DELEGATE WHO IS SELECTED BY ALL ASSOCIATION MEMBERS OF THAT COUNTRY. THE DELEGATIONS OF THE COUNTRY ALSO APPOINT A SUBSTITUTE DELEGATE, BUT FOR COUNTRIES WITH SEVERAL MEMBERS, A SUBSTITUTE MAY BE APPOINTED BY EACH MEMBER OF THE ASSOCIATION. THUS, THE BOARD WOULD BE ENTITLED TO DESIGNATE A SUBSTITUTE DELEGATE ON THE COUNCIL.

"10. THE FUNCTIONING ORGAN OF THE ASSOCIATION IS THE BUREAU WHICH CONSISTS OF CERTAIN OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION, THE CHAIRMEN OF THE PERMANENT TECHNICAL COMMITTEES (NINE AT PRESENT), AND FOURTEEN OTHER MEMBERS ELECTED BY THE COUNCIL. THE BUREAU MEETS AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR. THE PERMANENT COMMITTEES AND THE WORKING GROUPS ATTACHED TO THEM ALSO MEET FROM TIME TO TIME IN VARIOUS PLACES.

"AT THE LAST MEETING OF THE COUNCIL, MR. MITCHELL, THE FORMER UNITED STATES SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER, WAS ELECTED TO SERVE AS A MEMBER OF THE BUREAU.

"11. THERE ARE CERTAIN OTHER MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES SPONSORED BY THE ISSA. ONE OF THOSE IS THE PERIODIC CONFERENCE OF SOCIAL SECURITY ACTUARIES AND STATISTICIANS.

"12. RECENTLY A REGIONAL BODY OF SOCIAL SECURITY ACTUARIES WAS ORGANIZED IN THE AMERICAS. IT IS CALLED THE INTER-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY ACTUARIES. MR. ROBERT J. MYERS (CHIEF ACTUARY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION) IS NOW THE PRESIDENT OF THAT ASSOCIATION AND THE BOARD'S CHIEF ACTUARY IS A MEMBER OF ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS. THIS ORGANIZATION IS AFFILIATED WITH THE ISSA.

"13. WE ARE INFORMED THAT THE DUES FOR THE BOARD WOULD BE ABOUT $500 PER YEAR. THIS AMOUNT HAS BEEN COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF 900,000 INSURED PERSONS UNDER THE THREE PROGRAMS (SICKNESS AND MATERNITY, UNEMPLOYMENT, AND OLD-AGE AND SURVIVORS) WHICH ARE ADMINISTERED BY THE BOARD.'

ALSO, YOU STATE IT IS THE BOARD'S VIEW THAT MEMBERSHIP IN THE ASSOCIATION WOULD FACILITATE MORE FREQUENT CONTACTS AND EXCHANGES OF IDEAS WITH SOCIAL SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, AND THAT SUCH MEMBERSHIP WOULD CONTRIBUTE MATERIALLY TO THE BOARD'S CONTINUING STUDIES OF ITS OPERATIONS AND PROGRAMS.

SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, 5 U.S.C. 83, PROHIBITS THE USE OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS FOR, AMONG OTHER THINGS, PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES OR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION UNLESS AUTHORIZED BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURPOSE OR BY EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION. THE STATUTE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED IN NUMEROUS DECISIONS INVOLVING BOTH THE MEANING OF ITS TERMS AND THE SCOPE OF ITS APPLICABILITY.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE INHIBITION CONTAINED IN THAT ACT DOES NOT APPLY TO PROHIBIT A GOVERNMENT AGENCY FROM BECOMING A MEMBER WHEN THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE MEMBERSHIP IS TO OBTAIN DIRECT BENEFITS DETERMINED NECESSARY FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE FUNCTIONS OR ACTIVITIES FOR WHICH AN APPROPRIATION IS MADE. 33 COMP. GEN. 126; 24 ID. 814; 20 ID. 497; 19 ID. 937; CF. 32 ID. 15. WHILE YOU STATE THAT MEMBERSHIP IN THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY ASSOCIATION WOULD CONTRIBUTE MATERIALLY TO THE BOARD'S CONTINUING STUDIES OF ITS OPERATIONS AND PROGRAMS, IT IS NOT CLEAR TO US THAT SUCH BENEFITS HAVE BEEN DETERMINED NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE BOARD BETTER TO CARRY OUT ITS STATUTORY RESPONSIBILITIES, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM BENEFITS OF AN INCIDENTAL OR INDIRECT NATURE. WHEN THE BENEFITS TO BE DERIVED FROM AGENCY MEMBERSHIP ARE MERELY INCIDENTAL OR INDIRECT THE PAYMENT OF DUES OR FEES FOR MEMBERSHIP IN SUCH TYPE OF ASSOCIATIONS IS PROHIBITED BY THE STATUTE.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD CONTAINED IN TITLE V OF H.R. 10904 MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, AND HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE, AND RELATED AGENCIES, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1963, AND SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 87 513, APPROVED JULY 1, 1962, PROVIDES "FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY" FOR CARRYING OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THAT AGENCY. ACCORDINGLY, IF THE BOARD DETERMINES THAT MEMBERSHIP IN THE SAID ASSOCIATION IS NECESSARY FOR THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE, WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF THIS APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF FUNDS REQUIRED FOR MEMBERSHIP THEREIN.