B-177596, FEB 6, 1973, 52 COMP GEN 495

B-177596: Feb 6, 1973

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

AGENCY THE ANNUAL DUES AN EMPLOYEE IS REQUIRED TO PAY FOR MEMBERSHIP IN A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION IS NOT REIMBURSABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE. THE AGENCY IS NOT PRECLUDED BY 5 U.S.C. 5946 FROM BECOMING A MEMBER AND PAYING THE REQUIRED DUES IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY IN CARRYING OUT AUTHORIZED AGENCY ACTIVITIES. CHARLES GASKIN TO REIMBURSE HIM FOR THE ANNUAL DUES HE IS REQUIRED TO PAY FOR HIS MEMBERSHIP IN THE INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC ENGINEERS. GASKIN IS AN ELECTRONICS ENGINEER EMPLOYED BY THE BUREAU OF NARCOTICS AND DANGEROUS DRUGS (BNDD). YOU STATE THAT AS A RESULT OF THIS EMPLOYEE'S MEMBERSHIP IN IEEE THE SIX IEEE PUBLICATIONS SUBSCRIBED TO BY THE BNDD LIBRARY ARE PURCHASED AT A REDUCED RATE WITH AN ANNUAL SAVINGS OF $153(BASED ON SUBSCRIPTION COST OF $41 WITH HIS MEMBERSHIP).

B-177596, FEB 6, 1973, 52 COMP GEN 495

FEES - MEMBERSHIP - EMPLOYEE V. AGENCY THE ANNUAL DUES AN EMPLOYEE IS REQUIRED TO PAY FOR MEMBERSHIP IN A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION IS NOT REIMBURSABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE, EVEN THOUGH A SAVINGS WOULD ACCRUE TO THE GOVERNMENT FROM REDUCED SUBSCRIPTION RATES, AND NOTWITHSTANDING THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BENEFIT FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S DEVELOPMENT AS A RESULT OF THE MEMBERSHIP, SINCE 5 U.S.C. 5946 PROHIBITS THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT AS INDIVIDUALS, EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION, BY EXPRESS TERMS IN A GENERAL APPROPRIATION, OR IN CONNECTION WITH EMPLOYEE TRAINING PURSUANT TO 5 U.S.C. 4109 AND 4110. HOWEVER, THE AGENCY IS NOT PRECLUDED BY 5 U.S.C. 5946 FROM BECOMING A MEMBER AND PAYING THE REQUIRED DUES IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY IN CARRYING OUT AUTHORIZED AGENCY ACTIVITIES.

TO CARL E. FANUCCI, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FEBRUARY 6, 1973:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 1, 1972, REQUESTS IN EFFECT, OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $35 IN FAVOR OF MR. CHARLES GASKIN TO REIMBURSE HIM FOR THE ANNUAL DUES HE IS REQUIRED TO PAY FOR HIS MEMBERSHIP IN THE INSTITUTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC ENGINEERS, INC. (IEEE). MR. GASKIN IS AN ELECTRONICS ENGINEER EMPLOYED BY THE BUREAU OF NARCOTICS AND DANGEROUS DRUGS (BNDD), DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

YOU STATE THAT AS A RESULT OF THIS EMPLOYEE'S MEMBERSHIP IN IEEE THE SIX IEEE PUBLICATIONS SUBSCRIBED TO BY THE BNDD LIBRARY ARE PURCHASED AT A REDUCED RATE WITH AN ANNUAL SAVINGS OF $153(BASED ON SUBSCRIPTION COST OF $41 WITH HIS MEMBERSHIP). IF BNDD PAID THE MEMBERSHIP DUES, THE NET ANNUAL SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE $118($153 LESS $35 ANNUAL DUES). YOU ALSO STATE THAT IEEE MEMBERSHIP CONTRIBUTES TO EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT AND CONSEQUENTLY BENEFITS BNDD.

SECTION 5946, TITLE 5, U.S. CODE, PROHIBITS THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT AS INDIVIDUALS, EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION, BY EXPRESS TERMS IN A GENERAL APPROPRIATION OR, IN CONNECTION WITH EMPLOYEE TRAINING, SECTIONS 4109 AND 4110 OF TITLE 5. YOUR SUBMISSION DOES NOT INDICATE THAT ANY OF THE EXCEPTIONS APPLY IN THIS CASE. CONSEQUENTLY, SECTION 5946 PRECLUDES THE GOVERNMENT'S PAYMENT OF DUES FOR AN INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP FOR AN EMPLOYEE IN IEEE, EVEN THOUGH A SAVINGS ACCRUES TO THE GOVERNMENT FROM REDUCED SUBSCRIPTION RATES, AND NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BENEFIT FROM EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT AS A RESULT OF SUCH MEMBERSHIP. SEE 32 COMP. GEN. 15(1952).

ON THE OTHER HAND, WE HAVE HELD THAT THIS PROHIBITION DOES NOT PREVENT A FEDERAL AGENCY AS SUCH FROM BECOMING A MEMBER OF A SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION WHEN THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE MEMBERSHIP IS TO OBTAIN DIRECT BENEFITS FOR THE GOVERNMENT NECESSARY TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE FUNCTIONS OR ACTIVITIES FOR WHICH AN APPROPRIATION HAS BEEN MADE. SEE 33 COMP. GEN. 126(1953).

SINCE BNDD MAY NOT REIMBURSE THE EMPLOYEE FOR HIS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES YOU MAY NOT CERTIFY MR. GASKIN'S CLAIM FOR PAYMENT. HOWEVER, BNDD IS NOT PRECLUDED BY 5 U.S.C. 5946 FROM BECOMING A MEMBER AND PAYING THE REQUIRED DUES IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY IN CARRYING OUT AUTHORIZED AGENCY ACTIVITIES.