B-4621, JULY 14, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 59

B-4621: Jul 14, 1939

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

1939: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 29M 1939. A SPECIAL FUND HAS BEEN SET UP AND IS USED FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF ADMINISTERING. IN ADMINISTERING THE GOVERNMENT'S HELIUM PROPERTIES IT HAS BEEN FOUND THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHEAD EXPENSES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR TECHNICAL SUPERVISION. CLERICAL WORK THAT ARE PROPERLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO PRODUCTION OF HELIUM FOR PRIVATE PARTIES RATHER THAN PRODUCTION FOR GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES. DEVELOPING HELIUM PROPERTIES REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH EXPENSES ARE INCURRED IN THE FIELD OR IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. WHICH ARE INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PRODUCTION. TO THE SPECIAL FUND WHICH IS SET UP UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 3C OF THE ACT.

B-4621, JULY 14, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 59

PERSONAL SERVICES - SEAT OF GOVERNMENT - AVAILABILITY OF HELIUM SALE FUNDS MONEYS RECEIVED UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED SEPTEMBER 1, 1937, 50 STAT. 885, FROM THE SALE OF HELIUM OR OTHER PRODUCTS RESULTING FROM HELIUM OPERATIONS, TO OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, MAY BE USED, UNDER THE AUTHORITY CONFERRED IN THE SAID ACT TO DRAW ON THE FUNDS SO RECEIVED "TO PAY EXPENSES OF ACQUIRING, ADMINISTERING, OPERATING, MAINTAINING, AND DEVELOPING HELIUM PROPERTIES," FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT NECESSARILY INCIDENT TO CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT, NOTWITHSTANDING THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT LIMITATIONS OF THE ACTS OF AUGUST 5, 1882, 22 STAT. 255, AND JUNE 22, 1906, 34 STAT. 449. SEE 7 COMP. DEC. 248; 15 ID. 49, AND COMPARE 20 COMP. DEC. 776; 18 COMP. GEN. 347; ID. 489.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL BROWN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 14, 1939:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 29M 1939, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED SEPTEMBER 1, 1937 (50 STAT. 885), PROVIDES IN SECTION 3C THAT---

"ALL MONEYS RECEIVED UNDER THIS ACT, INCLUDING MONEYS FROM SALE OF HELIUM OR OTHER PRODUCTS RESULTING FROM HELIUM OPERATIONS (EXCEPT MONIES RECEIVED IN PAYMENT FOR HELIUM FROM GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES UNDER SUBSECTION (A) HEREOF), SHALL BE CREDITED TO A SPECIAL HELIUM-PRODUCTION FUND FROM WHICH PURCHASERS OF HELIUM MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR PAYMENTS FOR HELIUM IN EXCESS OF DELIVERIES, AND THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR THROUGH THE BUREAU OF MINES MAY DRAW ON SAID FUND TO PAY EXPENSES OF ACQUIRING, ADMINISTERING, OPERATING, MAINTAINING, AND DEVELOPING HELIUM PROPERTIES.

UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE SECTION ABOVE QUOTED, A SPECIAL FUND HAS BEEN SET UP AND IS USED FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF ADMINISTERING, OPERATING, AND MAINTAINING HELIUM PROPERTIES OTHER THAN THE PROPORTIONATE SHARES OF EXPENSES PAID FROM FUNDS SUPPLIED BY THE ARMY AND NAVY AND OTHER BRANCHES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 A OF THE ACT. IN ADMINISTERING THE GOVERNMENT'S HELIUM PROPERTIES IT HAS BEEN FOUND THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHEAD EXPENSES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR TECHNICAL SUPERVISION, ACCOUNTING, AND CLERICAL WORK THAT ARE PROPERLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO PRODUCTION OF HELIUM FOR PRIVATE PARTIES RATHER THAN PRODUCTION FOR GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES.

THE WORDING UNDER SECTION 3C OF THE ACT WOULD SEEM TO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF ANY NECESSARY EXPENSES, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES, CONNECTED WITH ADMINISTERING, OPERATING, MAINTAINING, AND DEVELOPING HELIUM PROPERTIES REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH EXPENSES ARE INCURRED IN THE FIELD OR IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACTS OF CONGRESS APPROVED AUGUST 5, 1882 (22 STAT. 255) AND JUNE 22, 1906 (34 STAT. 449), I AM WRITING TO INQUIRE WHETHER YOUR OFFICE WOULD SANCTION THE CHARGING OF PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WHICH ARE INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PRODUCTION, DEVELOPMENT, AND SALE OF HELIUM, TO THE SPECIAL FUND WHICH IS SET UP UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 3C OF THE ACT. YOUR EARLY DECISION IN THIS MATTER WILL BE APPRECIATED.

SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 22, 1906, 34 STAT. 449, PROHIBITS DETAIL OF PERSONNEL FROM THE FIELD TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA "EXCEPT TEMPORARY DETAILS FOR DUTY CONNECTED WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES.' THE ACT OF AUGUST 5, 1882, 22 STAT. 255, PROHIBITS EMPLOYMENT IN THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT UNLESS SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR.

THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE BUREAU OF MINES, 1940, ACT OF MAY 10, 1939, PUBLIC, NO. 68, CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS:

FOR GENERAL EXPENSES, INCLUDING PAY OF THE DIRECTOR AND NECESSARY ASSISTANTS, CLERKS, AND OTHER EMPLOYEES, IN THE OFFICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND IN THE FIELD, AND EVERY OTHER EXPENSE REQUISITE FOR AND INCIDENT TO THE GENERAL WORK OF THE BUREAU IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND IN THE FIELD, TO BE EXPENDED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, $66,000, OF WHICH AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $53,440 MAY BE EXPENDED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.,

HELIUM PRODUCTION AND INVESTIGATIONS.--- THE SUMS MADE AVAILABLE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 IN THE ACTS MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF HELIUM FROM THE BUREAU OF MINES SHALL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE BUREAU OF MINES ON JULY 1, 1939, FOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PLANTS FOR THE PRODUCTION OF HELIUM FOR MILITARY AND NAVAL PURPOSES, INCLUDING LABORATORY GLOVES, GOGGLES, RUBBER BOOTS, AND APRONS; PURCHASE, NOT TO EXCEED $1,200, AND EXCHANGE A PART PAYMENT FOR, MAINTENANCE, OPERATION AND REPAIR OF MOTOR PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES FOR OFFICIAL USE IN FIELD WORK, AND ALL OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES, AND INCLUDING $11,300 FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA;

PERSONS EMPLOYED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 IN FIELD WORK OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNDER THE BUREAU OF MINES MAY BE DETAILED TEMPORARILY FOR SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR THE PURPOSE OF PREPARING RESULTS OF THEIR FIELD WORK; ALL PERSONS SO DETAILED SHALL BE PAID IN ADDITION TO THEIR REGULAR COMPENSATION ONLY TRAVELING EXPENSES IN GOING TO AND RETURNING HERE FROM: PROVIDED, THAT NOTHING HEREIN SHALL PREVENT THE PAYMENT TO EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF MINES OF THEIR NECESSARY EXPENSES, OR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, WHILE ON TEMPORARY DETAIL IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR PURPOSES ONLY OF CONSULTATION OR INVESTIGATIONS ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES. ALL DETAILS MADE HEREIN UNDER, AND THE PURPOSES OF EACH, DURING THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR SHALL BE REPORTED IN THE ANNUAL ESTIMATES OF APPROPRIATIONS TO CONGRESS AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH REGULAR SESSION THEREOF.

WITH RESPECT TO THE PRODUCTION OF HELIUM FOR SALE TO THE ARMY AND NAVY AND TO THE PUBLIC GENERALLY, SECTIONS 3 (A) AND (B) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1937, 50 STAT. 886, PROVIDED:

SEC. 3. (A) THAT THE ARMY AND NAVY AND OTHER AGENCIES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MAY REQUISITION HELIUM FROM THE BUREAU OF MINES AND MAKE PAYMENT THEREFOR FROM ANY APPLICABLE APPROPRIATIONS BY ADVANCING OR REPAYING TO AND FOR THE USE OF SAID BUREAU PROPORTIONATE SHARES OF THE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE ADMINISTRATION, OPERATION, AND MAINTENANCE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S HELIUM PLANTS AND PROPERTIES.

(B) THAT HELIUM NOT NEEDED FOR GOVERNMENT USE MAY BE PRODUCED AND SOLD UPON PAYMENT IN ADVANCE IN QUANTITIES AND UNDER REGULATIONS APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT, FOR MEDICAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND COMMERCIAL USE, EXCEPT THAT HELIUM MAY BE SOLD FOR THE INFLATION OF ONLY SUCH AIRSHIPS AS OPERATE IN OR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS, OR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OR ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS AND FOREIGN COUNTRIES: PROVIDED, THAT NO HELIUM SHALL BE SOLD FOR THE INFLATION OF ANY AIRSHIP OPERATING BETWEEN TWO FOREIGN COUNTRIES NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH AIRSHIP MAY ALSO TOUCH AT SOME POINT IN THE UNITED STATES: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT SUCH SALES OF HELIUM SHALL BE AT REASONABLE PRICES (ESTABLISHED BY SAID REGULATIONS) BASED UPON THE COST OF ACQUIRING, DEVELOPING, MAINTAINING, AND OPERATING THE GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES AND THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST AT A RATE OF NOT LESS THAN 3 1/2 PERCENTUM PER ANNUM ON CAPITAL HEREAFTER EXPENDED (EXCEPT FROM THE SPECIAL FUND ESTABLISHED IN SUBSECTION (C) OF SECTION 3 OF THIS ACT)FOR PROPERTIES, FACILITIES, AND HELIUM BEARING GAS LANDS, AS ARE USED FOR SUCH HELIUM PRODUCTION: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING PROVISION, HELIUM SHALL BE SOLD FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES AT PRICES WHICH WILL PERMIT ITS GENERAL USE THEREFORE; AND SUCH SALES OF HELIUM SHALL BE UPON CONDITION THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHALL HAVE A RIGHT TO REPURCHASE HELIUM SO SOLD THAT HAS NOT BEEN LOST OR DISSIPATED, WHEN NEEDED FOR GOVERNMENT USE, UNDER TERMS AND AT PRICES ESTABLISHED BY SAID REGULATIONS.

THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1937, SUPRA, DOES NOT LIMIT THE SALE OF HELIUM TO THE PUBLIC TO THAT PRODUCED PRIMARILY FOR THE ARMY AND NAVY AND IN EXCESS OF THEIR REQUIREMENTS, BUT AUTHORIZES THE PRODUCTION OF HELIUM OVER AND ABOVE THAT REQUIRED FOR MILITARY AND NAVAL PURPOSES FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF SALE. THE CONGRESS IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT HAS SPECIFICALLY RECOGNIZED THE NEED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR THE PRODUCTION OF HELIUM FOR ARMY AND NAVY USES. IT MAY BE ASSUMED, THEREFORE, THAT PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE A NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE PRODUCTION OF HELIUM FOR PRIVATE SALE ALSO; ACCORDINGLY, THE AUTHORIZATION IN SECTION 3 (C) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1937, AS QUOTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO DRAW ON THE FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE SALE OF HELIUM TO OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES "TO PAY EXPENSES OF ACQUIRING, ADMINISTERING, OPERATING, MAINTAINING, AND DEVELOPING HELIUM PROPERTIES" BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION AUTHORIZES THE USE THEREOF FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT NECESSARILY INCIDENT TO CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1937. 7 COMP. DEC. 258; 15 ID. 49. COMPARE 20 COMP. DEC. 776; 18 COMP. GEN. 347; ID. 489.