B-217626, FEB 14, 1985, 64 COMP.GEN. 263

B-217626: Feb 14, 1985

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

000 WAS AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTING FEES AND NO SUCH FEES COULD BE PAID AFTER JANUARY 1. IF DIRECTOR'S POSITION WAS VACANT. THE PHRASE "NOT TO EXCEED" SETS MAXIMUM AMOUNT THAT CAN BE EXPENDED IN FISCAL YEAR 1985 WHETHER OR NOT DIRECTOR'S POSITION IS FILLED. 1985: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR JOINT LETTER WITH SENATOR ERNEST F. 1985 AT ANY TIME THE BOARD'S DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING POSITION IS VACANT. 98 STAT. 1568. IT IS THE COMMITTEE'S POSITION THAT UNDER NO CONDITIONS MAY THE BOARD EXPEND MORE THAN $15. WILL THEN BE LEGALLY ABLE TO SPEND IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT. THE SENATE REPORT PREPARED BY THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS REFLECTS THAT THE LANGUAGE REGARDING CONSULTING FEES FOR ENGINEERING SERVICES WAS ADDED BECAUSE THE COMMITTEE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE EXPENDITURES MADE BY THE BOARD FOR CONSULTING FEES SINCE AUGUST 1980.

B-217626, FEB 14, 1985, 64 COMP.GEN. 263

APPROPRIATIONS - RESTRICTIONS - PROHIBITION CLAUSE FISCAL YEAR 1985 APPROPRIATION TO BOARD OF INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING PROVIDED THAT NOT TO EXCEED $15,000 WAS AVAILABLE FOR CONSULTING FEES AND NO SUCH FEES COULD BE PAID AFTER JANUARY 1, 1985, IF DIRECTOR'S POSITION WAS VACANT. THE PHRASE "NOT TO EXCEED" SETS MAXIMUM AMOUNT THAT CAN BE EXPENDED IN FISCAL YEAR 1985 WHETHER OR NOT DIRECTOR'S POSITION IS FILLED.

TO THE CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, JUSTICE, STATE, AND THE JUDICIARY, COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, UNITED STATES SENATE, FEBRUARY 14, 1985:

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR JOINT LETTER WITH SENATOR ERNEST F. HOLLINGS DATED JANUARY 18, 1985, ASKING US TO REVIEW A LETTER TO YOU DATED DECEMBER 18, 1984, FROM MR. FRANK SHAKESPEARE, CHAIRMAN, BOARD OF INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING. MR. SHAKESPEARE CONCLUDES THAT THE BOARD'S APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 1985 DOES NOT NECESSARILY RESTRICT THE BOARD TO A MAXIMUM EXPENDITURE OF $15,000 FOR ENGINEERING CONSULTING FEES. WE DISAGREE AND CONCLUDE THAT THE APPROPRIATION LANGUAGE DOES RESTRICT EXPENDITURES TO A MAXIMUM OF $15,000 DURING FISCAL YEAR 1985.

UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1985, PUB.L. NO. 98-411, 98 STAT. 1564 (1984), THE BOARD RECEIVED ITS ANNUAL APPROPRIATION. THE ACT STATES:

FOR EXPENSES OF THE BOARD FOR INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING, INCLUDING GRANTS TO RFE/RL, INC., $97,498,000, *** PROVIDED THAT NOT TO EXCEED $15,000 SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR ENGINEERING CONSULTANT FEES, AND NO SUCH FEES SHALL BE PAID AFTER JANUARY 1, 1985 AT ANY TIME THE BOARD'S DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING POSITION IS VACANT. 98 STAT. 1568.

AS YOU INDICATE, IT IS THE COMMITTEE'S POSITION THAT UNDER NO CONDITIONS MAY THE BOARD EXPEND MORE THAN $15,000 FOR ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS IN FISCAL YEAR 1985.

THE BOARD INTERPRETS THE PROVISION AS LIMITING IT TO A MAXIMUM EXPENDITURE OF $15,000 ONLY UNTIL THE DIRECTOR HAS BEEN APPOINTED. SPECIFICALLY, THE BOARD STATES:

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE $15,000 MAXIMUM FOR "ENGINEERING CONSULTANT FEES" SPECIFIED IN THE 1985 APPROPRIATIONS MEASURE RESTRICTS OUR ABILITY TO MAKE EXPENDITURES IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT ONLY FOR AS LONG AS THE DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING POSITION REMAINS VACANT. WE FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN THE POSITION HAS BEEN DULY FILLED BY EITHER A REGULAR OR ACTING APPOINTEE, THE BIB (BOARD) AND THE RADIOS (RFE/RL, INC.) WILL THEN BE LEGALLY ABLE TO SPEND IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT.

THE SENATE REPORT PREPARED BY THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS REFLECTS THAT THE LANGUAGE REGARDING CONSULTING FEES FOR ENGINEERING SERVICES WAS ADDED BECAUSE THE COMMITTEE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE EXPENDITURES MADE BY THE BOARD FOR CONSULTING FEES SINCE AUGUST 1980, THE DATE THE POSITION OF DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING BECAME VACANT. S. REPT. NO. 514, 98TH CONG. 2D SESS. 73 (1984). THE COMMITTEE, THEREFORE, "INCLUDED BILL LANGUAGE TO LIMIT EXPENDITURES BY BIB FOR ENGINEERING CONSULTANT FEES CONTINGENT UPON FILLING THE POSITION OF DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING BY JANUARY 1, 1985," ID. THE COMMITTEE RECOGNIZED THAT THE BOARD MIGHT DESIRE TO ABOLISH THE POSITION OF DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING AND SO STATED. THE COMMITTEE, HOWEVER, STRESSED THAT IT "WOULD NOT ALLOW MORE THAN $15,000 TO BE SPENT IN 1985 FOR ENGINEERING CONSULTANT FEES," ID.

WE CONSIDER THE LANGUAGE OF THE APPROPRIATION AS CLEARLY AND CONCISELY ACCOMPLISHING WHAT THE COMMITTEE INTENDED. SPECIFICALLY, THE LIMITING LANGUAGE, "NOT TO EXCEED $15,000," IS SUSCEPTIBLE OF BUT ONE MEANING WHICH IS THAT THE BOARD MAY NOT EXPEND MORE THAN $15,000 FOR ENGINEERING CONSULTANT FEES DURING FISCAL YEAR 1985 AND ANY EXPENDITURES IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT WOULD BE UNLAWFUL. SEE A-79741, AUGUST 17, 1936; CF. 36 COMP.GEN. 526, 528 (1957) (AN EARMARK OF $18 MILLION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SHIP SETS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT WHICH IS AVAILABLE FOR THE SHIP).

THE LANGUAGE IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE BOARD PROVIDING THAT NO ENGINEERING CONSULTING FEES SHOULD BE PAID AFTER JANUARY 1, 1985, IF THE DIRECTOR'S POSITION IS VACANT IS MERELY A CONDITION WHICH MUST BE MET IF THE $15,000 IS TO BE SPENT AFTER JANUARY 1, 1985. THAT IS, FROM OCTOBER 1, 1984 TO DECEMBER 31, 1984. THE BOARD COULD EXPEND FUNDS FOR ENGINEERING CONSULTANT SERVICES WHETHER OR NOT THE DIRECTOR'S POSITION WAS FILLED; BUT, AFTER JANUARY 1, 1985, THE BOARD MAY NOT EXPEND ANY FUNDS FOR ENGINEERING CONSULTANT SERVICES UNLESS THE DIRECTOR'S POSITION IS FILLED. LT IS TO BE EMPHASIZED, HOWEVER, THAT THE TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR THE ENTIRE FISCAL YEAR, WHETHER OR NOT THE DIRECTOR'S POSITION IS FILLED, IS LIMITED TO $15,000.

UNLESS REQUESTED OTHERWISE BY YOUR OFFICE, WE WILL MAKE THIS LETTER AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC 30 DAYS FROM TODAY.