B-31656, JANUARY 19, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 673

B-31656: Jan 19, 1943

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

1943: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER NO. 5590 OF DECEMBER 10. SECTION 6 OF THE SAME ACT PROVIDES THAT "WHERE APPROPRIATIONS IN THIS ACT ARE EXPENDABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND NO SPECIFIC LIMITATION HAS BEEN PLACED THEREON. WE DO NOT CONCUR IN THE INTERPRETATION PLACED ON THE ACT BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE BUT ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THE PHRASE APPEARING IN THE ACT BETWEEN SEMI-COLONS ". THE LEGISLATURE INTENDED AND SOUGHT TO PLACE A LIMIT ON THE MONIES WHICH COULD LEGALLY BE EXPENDED FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THE PHRASE AUTHORIZING THE BANK TO EXPEND FUNDS IN THIS INSTANCE EFFECTIVELY DOES SO.

B-31656, JANUARY 19, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 673

APPROPRIATION LIMITATION ON AMOUNT EXPENDABLE FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS THE PROVISION IN THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1943, AUTHORIZING THE USE OF NOT TO EXCEED $500 OF THE FUNDS OF THE EXPORT IMPORT BANK OF WASHINGTON "FOR PERIODICALS, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAPS" DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A "SPECIFIC LIMITATION" ON "NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6 OF THE ACT THAT, WHERE NO SPECIFIC LIMITATION HAS BEEN PLACED THEREON, NOT TO EXCEED $50 OF AN AGENCY'S FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE ACT MAY BE EXPENDED FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS OTHER THAN NECESSARY SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, TRADE, OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS, AND, THEREFORE, NOT TO EXCEED $50 OF THE $500 SUM MAY BE EXPENDED FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS OTHER THAN NECESSARY SCIENTIFIC, ETC., PERIODICALS SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRESIDENT, EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF WASHINGTON, JANUARY 19, 1943:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 6, 1943, RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE JANUARY 11, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER NO. 5590 OF DECEMBER 10, 1942, WRITTEN BY MR. J. D. DENIT, CHIEF, ACCOUNTING AND BOOKKEEPING DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1943, PUBLIC LAW 630, APPROVED JUNE 27, 1942, ALLOCATES FROM EXPORT-IMPORT BANK'S OWN FUNDS, RATHER THAN THROUGH AN APPROPRIATION, A CERTAIN AMOUNT TO MEET ITS ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES, INCLUDING A SUM "NOT TO EXCEED $500 FOR PERIODICALS, NEWSPAPERS AND MAPS.' SECTION 6 OF THE SAME ACT PROVIDES THAT "WHERE APPROPRIATIONS IN THIS ACT ARE EXPENDABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND NO SPECIFIC LIMITATION HAS BEEN PLACED THEREON, THE EXPENDITURES THEREFOR UNDER EACH SUCH APPROPRIATION MAY NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF $50, *

ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER NO. 5590 PURPORTS TO INTERPRET THE ABOVE QUOTED PORTIONS OF THE ACT IN THE SENSE THAT EXPORT-IMPORT BANK MAY NOT PURCHASE PERIODICALS AND NEWSPAPERS COSTING IN EXCESS OF $50 DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR, LEAVING $450 AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF MAPS. SEE LIMITATIONS 1338082.002 AND 1338082.005.

WE DO NOT CONCUR IN THE INTERPRETATION PLACED ON THE ACT BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE BUT ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THE PHRASE APPEARING IN THE ACT BETWEEN SEMI-COLONS "; NOT TO EXCEED $500 FOR PERIODICALS, NEWSPAPERS AND MAPS; " CONSTITUTES A SPECIFIC LIMITATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT. THE LEGISLATURE INTENDED AND SOUGHT TO PLACE A LIMIT ON THE MONIES WHICH COULD LEGALLY BE EXPENDED FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THE PHRASE AUTHORIZING THE BANK TO EXPEND FUNDS IN THIS INSTANCE EFFECTIVELY DOES SO. THE INCLUSION OF THE WORD "MAPS" SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED IN SUCH A MANNER AS TO DENY THAT THE ACT PLACES A LIMITATION UPON THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS, THUS DEFEATING THE CLEAR LANGUAGE EMPLOYED BY THE CONGRESS IN THE BANK'S ALLOCATION.

CONSISTENT WITH ESTABLISHED RULES OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, SUCH INTERPRETATION SHOULD BE ADOPTED AS WILL GIVE EFFECT TO ALL LANGUAGE EMPLOYED BY THE LEGISLATIVE BODY. SECTION 6 IS CLEARLY APPLICABLE TO APPROPRIATIONS SUCH AS THOSE IN FAVOR OF NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND NATIONAL RESOURCES PLANNING BOARD, WHICH SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS BUT INDICATE NO LIMITATION ON THE AMOUNT AVAILABLE THEREFOR. TO APPLY IT TO THE ALLOCATION IN FAVOR OF EXPORT-IMPORT BANK RENDERS USELESS THE UNAMBIGUOUS EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT AND RESULTS IN AN ABSURD CONCLUSION THAT THE CONGRESS HAS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED THE BANK TO SPEND UP TO $450 FOR MAPS.

EXPORT-IMPORT BANK CONTENDS THAT THE WORDS "NOT TO EXCEED $500 FOR PERIODICALS, NEWSPAPERS AND MAPS" CONSTITUTES A SPECIFIC LIMITATION WITHIN THE MEANING AND INTENT OF SECTION 6 OF PUBLIC LAW 630, AND THAT THE INCLUSION OF THE WORD "MAPS" DOES NOT VITIATE OR NULLIFY THAT LIMITATION IN SO FAR AS NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS ARE CONCERNED.

BECAUSE OF EXPORT-IMPORT BANK'S IMPORTANT OPERATIONS IN THE FIELD OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCE AND ITS MANIFOLD ACTIVITIES THROUGHOUT LATIN AMERICA AND THE WORLD, IT IS INCUMBENT UPON IT AND ITS STAFF TO KEEP FULLY INFORMED AND ABREAST OF FINANCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS NOT ONLY IN THE UNITED STATES BUT ALSO ABROAD. TO DISCHARGE EFFICIENTLY THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES WITH WHICH THE BANK IS CHARGED BY LAW IT MUST NECESSARILY SUBSCRIBE TO OR PURCHASE NEWSPAPERS, FINANCIAL JOURNALS, FOREIGN PERIODICALS AND PROFESSIONAL TRADE MAGAZINES. THESE PUBLICATIONS CONSTITUTE ONE OF MANY INDISPENSABLE TOOLS WHICH THE BANK'S STAFF REQUIRES IN ORDER TO DO ITS WORK PROPERLY. FOR YOUR INFORMATION, EXPORT-IMPORT BANK HAS IN PREVIOUS YEARS SUBSCRIBED TO NEWSPAPERS, FINANCIAL JOURNALS AND FOREIGN PERIODICALS REQUIRED BY THE BANK FOR ITS EFFICIENT OPERATION, COSTING IN EXCESS OF $50 PER YEAR.

IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE RECONSIDER ITS INTERPRETATION OF PUBLIC LAW 630, IN SO FAR AS THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THIS LETTER IS CONCERNED, AND, IF IT AGREES, TAKE SUCH ACTION AS MAY BE REQUIRED TO REVERSE THE RULING SET FORTH IN ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER NO. 5590 OF DECEMBER 10, 1942.

ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER NO. 5590, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, SETS UP LIMITATIONS UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "1338082 ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES, EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF WASHINGTON, COMMERCE, 1943," IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

1338082.002 PERIODICALS AND NEWSPAPERS, NOT TO EXCEED $50

1338082.005 MAPS, NOT TO EXCEED $450 (PLUS AMOUNT NOT EXPENDED UNDER LIMITATION 1338082.002").

THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1943, 56 STAT. 392, 400, CONTAINS A PROVISION, PARTIALLY QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, AUTHORIZING THE USE OF FUNDS OF THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF WASHINGTON, FOR ITS ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES INCLUDING SUCH AUTHORIZATION OF "NOT TO EXCEED $500 FOR PERIODICALS, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAPS.' ALSO, SECTION 6 OF THE SAID ACT, 56 STAT. 422, PROVIDES:

WHERE APPROPRIATIONS IN THIS ACT ARE EXPENDABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND NO SPECIFIC LIMITATION HAS BEEN PLACED THEREON, THE EXPENDITURES THEREFOR UNDER EACH SUCH APPROPRIATION MAY NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF $50, BUT THIS LIMITATION SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS AND THE SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM:PROVIDED, THAT THIS LIMITATION SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE PURCHASE OF SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, TRADE, OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AUTHORIZED FUNCTIONS OF THE AGENCIES FOR WHICH FUNDS ARE HEREIN PROVIDED.

IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT THE WORDS "NOT TO EXCEED $500 FOR PERIODICALS, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAPS" CONSTITUTE A LIMITATION ON THE ENTIRE GROUP OF THREE ARTICLES NAMED THEREIN AND NOT A SPECIFIC LIMITATION ON "NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS," WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 6 OF THE SAID ACT. THIS INTERPRETATION IS SUPPORTED BY LANGUAGE APPEARING ON PAGE 3994 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD FOR MAY 1, 1942, WHERE, IN DISCUSSING THE AMENDMENT WHICH BECAME, IN LARGE PART, THE SAID SECTION 6 OF THE ACT, SENATOR TYDINGS, AUTHOR OF THE AMENDMENT, SAID, IN PERTINENT PART:

* * * THERE ARE ABOUT 30 OR 40 DIFFERENT AGENCIES WHICH ARE AUTHORIZED BY THE LANGUAGE OF THE BILL TO BUY NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS. THE FUNDS PROVIDED FOR LAW BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS, AND PERIODICALS RUN AS HIGH, I BELIEVE, AS $10,000 IN ONE CASE, $6,000 IN ANOTHER CASE, $5,000 IN ANOTHER CASE, $7,500 IN ANOTHER, AND $6,000 IN ANOTHER. OF COURSE, ALL THIS MONEY WOULD NOT BE SPENT FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS. SOME OF IT WOULD BE SPENT FOR LAW BOOKS AND REFERENCE BOOKS. BUT THE NEWSPAPER AND PERIODICAL ITEMS ARE INCORPORATED INTO THE NET SUM, SO THERE IS NO LIMITATION AT ALL ON THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS. I THEREFORE HAVE PUT THE AMENDMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $50 * * *

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE PROVISO IN SECTION 6, QUOTED ABOVE, EXCEPTS FROM THE LIMITATION OF $50 IN THAT SECTION THE PURCHASE OF "SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, TRADE, OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AUTHORIZED FUNCTIONS OF THE AGENCIES FOR WHICH FUNDS ARE HEREIN PROVIDED," WHILE LEAVING THE PURCHASE OF OTHER PERIODICALS AND NEWSPAPERS SUBJECT TO THE SAID LIMITATION OF $50. IT WOULD SEEM CLEAR, THEREFORE, THAT THE ABOVE QUOTED PORTIONS OF THE ACT, CONSIDERED TOGETHER, LIMIT EXPENDITURES FOR ALL KINDS OF PERIODICALS, NEWSPAPERS AND MAPS TO A MAXIMUM OF $500, WHILE ALSO LIMITING TO A MAXIMUM OF $50 EXPENDITURES FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS OTHER THAN SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, TRADE, OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AUTHORIZED FUNCTIONS OF THE EXPORT-IMPORT BANK OF WASHINGTON. CONSEQUENTLY, I AM TODAY ISSUING INSTRUCTIONS FOR REVISION OF ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER NO. 5590 ACCORDINGLY. MORE EXPLICITLY, THE SAID ACCOUNTS AND PROCEDURES LETTER WILL BE REVISED SO AS TO PERMIT, UNDER LIMITATION 1338082.002, THE EXPENDITURE OF NOT TO EXCEED $50 FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS OTHER THAN SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, TRADE, OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS AND TO PERMIT THE EXPENDITURE OF NOT TO EXCEED $450 (PLUS THE AMOUNT NOT EXPENDED UNDER LIMITATION 1338082.002) FOR MAPS AND SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, TRADE, OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AUTHORIZED FUNCTIONS OF THE EXPORT- IMPORT BANK OF WASHINGTON.