B-41454, MAY 8, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 859

B-41454: May 8, 1944

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PROVIDED THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE IN GENERAL TERMS. 1944: THERE WAS RECEIVED APRIL 15. AS FOLLOWS: YOUR OPINION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THIS ADMINISTRATION ARE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE FOR RENTAL OF HOTEL SPACE FOR CONFERENCES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN VIEW OF THE RESTRICTION IMPOSED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3. THE ADMINISTRATOR WAS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE SUCH EXPENDITURES FOR RENT AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT AND ELSEWHERE AS HE MAY DEEM NECESSARY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF SUCH ACT. WHILE THE ABOVE ACT CONSTITUTES THE BASIC LEGISLATION BY WHICH THE OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION WAS ESTABLISHED. NO FUNDS WERE APPROPRIATED AT THAT TIME. NO SPECIFIC PROVISIONS WERE MADE FOR PAYMENT OF RENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNDER THE THIRD SUPPLEMENTAL NATIONAL DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1942.

B-41454, MAY 8, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 859

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - RENTAL OF SPACE IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN VIEW OF THE PROVISION OF THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1919, AS AMENDED, AND REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER, GRANTING, WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS, ABSOLUTE CONTROL OF AND THE ALLOTMENT OF ALL SPACE IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS OWNED OR LEASED BY THE UNITED STATES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ADMINISTRATION, THIS OFFICE MAY NOT APPROVE PAYMENT FOR THE RENTAL OF PRIVATELY OWNED SPACE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR OFFICIAL CONFERENCE PURPOSES UNLESS AND UNTIL IT BE SHOWN THAT AN APPROPRIATE CLEARANCE HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ADMINISTRATION. THE SPECIFIED AUTHORITY OF LAW REQUIRED BY REASON OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, BEFORE APPROPRIATIONS MAY BE USED FOR THE RENTAL OF ANY BUILDING, OR PART OF ANY BUILDING, IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NEED NOT BE CONTAINED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT ITSELF BUT MAY APPEAR ELSEWHERE IF CLEARLY APPLICABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED, PROVIDED THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE IN GENERAL TERMS, AND, THEREFORE, AS THE EMERGENCY PRICE CONTROL ACT OF 1942, AS AMENDED, SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES "RENT AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT"--- ALTHOUGH IT APPROPRIATES NO FUNDS THEREFOR--- THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION PROVIDING FUNDS FOR ALL NECESSARY EXPENSES IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF SAID ACT MAY BE CONSIDERED AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL OF SPACE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRICE ADMINISTRATOR, OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION, MAY 8, 1944:

THERE WAS RECEIVED APRIL 15, YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1944, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR OPINION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THIS ADMINISTRATION ARE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURE FOR RENTAL OF HOTEL SPACE FOR CONFERENCES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN VIEW OF THE RESTRICTION IMPOSED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877 (19 STAT. 370R)

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 201 (C) OF THE EMERGENCY PRICE CONTROL ACT OF 1942, PUBLIC LAW, 421, 77TH CONGRESS, APPROVED JANUARY 30, 1942, THE ADMINISTRATOR WAS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE SUCH EXPENDITURES FOR RENT AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT AND ELSEWHERE AS HE MAY DEEM NECESSARY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF SUCH ACT.

WHILE THE ABOVE ACT CONSTITUTES THE BASIC LEGISLATION BY WHICH THE OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION WAS ESTABLISHED, NO FUNDS WERE APPROPRIATED AT THAT TIME. NO SPECIFIC PROVISIONS WERE MADE FOR PAYMENT OF RENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNDER THE THIRD SUPPLEMENTAL NATIONAL DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1942, PUBLIC LAW 353, APPROVED DECEMBER 17, 1941; THE FIRST SUPPLEMENTAL NATIONAL DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1943, PUBLIC LAW 678, APPROVED JULY 25, 1942; OR THE NATIONAL WAR AGENCIES APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1944, PUBLIC LAW 139, APPROVED JULY 12, 1943, BUT THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED WERE PROVIDED FOR THE PURPOSE OF CARRYING OUT THE POWERS, DUTIES, AND FUNCTIONS DELEGATED TO THIS ADMINISTRATION UNDER THE EMERGENCY PRICE CONTROL ACT OF 1942, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 2, 1942 (50 U.S.C. APP. 901); THE ACT OF MAY 31, 1941 (55 STAT. 36); AND THE SECOND WAR POWERS ACT OF 1942 (50 U.S.C. APP. 622).

IF IT IS DETERMINED THAT THIS AGENCY HAS AUTHORITY TO RENT SPACE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, TO WHAT EXTENT ARE WE REQUIRED TO UTILIZE SPACE IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS, PARTICULARLY WHEN SUCH SPACE IS OFTEN UNSUITABLE FOR OUR PURPOSES? THE OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION CONDUCTS AN UNUSUALLY LARGE NUMBER OF CONFERENCES WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE VARIOUS INDUSTRIES AFFECTED BY THE PRICE, RATIONING AND RENT REGULATIONS. THESE MEETINGS OFTEN BEGIN AND EXTEND BEYOND REGULAR OFFICE HOURS AND REQUIRE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SERVING MEALS WHICH PRACTICE IS NOT PERMISSIBLE IN GOVERNMENT OWNED AND LEASED BUILDINGS.

YOUR EARLY DECISION WILL BE APPRECIATED.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, 19 STAT. 370, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * HEREAFTER NO CONTRACT SHALL BE MADE FOR THE RENT OF ANY BUILDING, OR PART OF ANY BUILDING, TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY CONGRESS, AND THAT THIS CLAUSE BE REGARDED AS NOTICE TO ALL CONTRACTORS OR LESSORS OF ANY SUCH BUILDING OR ANY PART OF BUILDING.

IN 16 COMP. GEN. 773, WITH RESPECT TO A STATUTORY INHIBITION IN SIMILAR TERMS, IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THE SPECIFIC AUTHORITY OF LAW REQUIRED BY REASON OF THE PROHIBITION OF SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, BEFORE APPROPRIATIONS MAY BE USED FOR THE PURCHASE, OPERATION OR MAINTENANCE OF PASSENGER- CARRYING VEHICLES NEED NOT BE CONTAINED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT ITSELF BUT MAY APPEAR ELSEWHERE IF CLEARLY APPLICABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED, PROVIDED THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE IN GENERAL TERMS, BUT IF THERE IS DETAILED IN THE APPROPRIATION PARTICULAR PURPOSES FOR WHICH IT MAY BE USED, OTHERWISE PROHIBITED BYLAW, THE COMMISSION OF THE PASSENGER- CARRYING VEHICLE AUTHORIZATION WOULD PRECLUDE THE USE OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR THAT PURPOSE.

SECTION 201 (C) OF THE EMERGENCY PRICE CONTROL ACT, APPROVED JANUARY 30, 1942, 56 STAT. 29, PROVIDES:

(C) THE ADMINISTRATOR SHALL HAVE AUTHORITY TO MAKE SUCH EXPENDITURES (INCLUDING EXPENDITURES FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND RENT AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT AND ELSEWHERE; FOR LAW BOOKS AND BOOKS OF REFERENCE; AND FOR PAPER, PRINTING, AND BINDING) AS HE MAY DEEM NECESSARY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THIS ACT. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3709 OF THE REVISED STATUTES SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE PURCHASE OF SUPPLIES AND SERVICES BY THE ADMINISTRATOR WHERE THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT INVOLVED DOES NOT EXCEED $250. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

AS THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES, OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION, FOUND IN THE ACT OF JULY 12, 1943, 57 STAT. 524, PUBLIC LAW 139, PROVIDES " FOR ALL NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE EMERGENCY PRICE CONTROL ACT OF 1942, AS AMENDED," IT FOLLOWS FROM THE RULE STATED IN 16 COMP. GEN. 773, SUPRA, THAT, IN AN OTHERWISE PROPER CASE, SAID APPROPRIATION MAY BE CONSIDERED AVAILABLE FOR THE RENT OF SPACE IN BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR INQUIRY REGARDING THE EXTENT TO WHICH YOU MAY BE REQUIRED TO UTILIZE SPACE IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS INSTEAD OF RENTING OTHER SPACE, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1919, 40 STAT. 1269, AS AMENDED (40 U.S.C. 1), AS FOLLOWS:

THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ADMINISTRATION IN THE FEDERAL WORKS AGENCY SHALL HAVE THE ABSOLUTE CONTROL OF AND THE ALLOTMENT OF ALL SPACE IN THE SEVERAL PUBLIC BUILDINGS OWNED OR BUILDINGS LEASED BY THE UNITED STATES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE EXECUTIVE MANSION AND OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, CAPITOL BUILDING, THE SENATE AND HOUSE OFFICE BUILDINGS, THE CAPITOL POWER PLANT, THE BUILDINGS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE REGENTS OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, AND THE CONGRESSIONAL LIBRARY BUILDING, AND SHALL FROM TIME TO TIME ASSIGN AND ALLOT, FOR THE USE OF THE SEVERAL ACTIVITIES OF THE GOVERNMENT, ALL SUCH SPACE.

PARAGRAPH 4 OF THE CIRCULAR ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FEBRUARY 14, 1934, UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ABOVE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1919, ROVIDES:

4. APPLICATIONS FOR ALL SPACE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA NEEDED BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, WHETHER IN GOVERNMENT-OWNED OR LEASED BUILDINGS, OR TO BE LEASED, OR TO BE PROVIDED IN A GOVERNMENT-OWNED BUILDING TO BE CONSTRUCTED, OR IN AN EXTENSION OF A GOVERNMENT-OWNED BUILDING, SHALL BE MADE TO THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL PARKS, BUILDINGS, AND RESERVATIONS. THE FUNCTIONS OF THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL PARKS, BUILDINGS, AND RESERVATIONS (AS WELL AS ITS SUCCESSOR, THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE) IN CONNECTION WITH SPACE CONTROL AND RENTAL AND LEASE OF BUILDINGS IN ACCORDANCE WITH 40 U.S.C. 1, SUPRA, WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ADMINISTRATION OF THE FEDERAL WORKS AGENCY BY SECTIONS 301 AND 303, PART 3, REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. I, 53 STAT. 1426 AND 1427.

ACCORDINGLY, THIS OFFICE COULD NOT APPROVE PAYMENT FOR THE RENTAL OF PRIVATELY-OWNED SPACE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR OFFICIAL CONFERENCE PURPOSES UNLESS AND UNTIL IT BE SHOWN THAT AN APPROPRIATE CLEARANCE HAD BEEN OBTAINED FROM THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ADMINISTRATION.