B-57941, JULY 23, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 53

B-57941: Jul 23, 1946

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TRAVEL EXPENSES - REGISTRATION FEES FOR ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY THE ATTENDANCE OF SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEES AT MEETINGS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACQUAINTING THE PUBLIC WITH THE PROGRAM AND FUNCTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH ITS AUTHORIZED OBJECTIVES IS NOT WITHIN THE PROHIBITIONS IN SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISIONS 24 COMPTROLLER GENERAL 86. OR EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUCH PURPOSES OR ARE PROVIDED FOR IN EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION.'. IT IS INTENDED THAT THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION. COPY OF WHICH IS ATTACHED. THE COST OF RESEARCH BULLETINS AND OTHER LITERATURE DISTRIBUTED AND OTHER INCIDENTAL COSTS ARE DEFRAYED THROUGH A REGISTRATION FEE.

B-57941, JULY 23, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 53

TRAVEL EXPENSES - REGISTRATION FEES FOR ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY THE ATTENDANCE OF SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEES AT MEETINGS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACQUAINTING THE PUBLIC WITH THE PROGRAM AND FUNCTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH ITS AUTHORIZED OBJECTIVES IS NOT WITHIN THE PROHIBITIONS IN SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, AND THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, AGAINST THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS, AND, THEREFORE, REGISTRATION FEES EXACTED FROM PERSONS PARTICIPATING IN SUCH MEETINGS MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A REIMBURSABLE TRAVELING EXPENSE, IF DETERMINED NECESSARY TO FURTHER THE ,MARKETING OF ELECTRIC POWER AND ENERGY" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR ,OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE.'

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 23, 1946:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 15, 1946, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISIONS 24 COMPTROLLER GENERAL 86, 16 ID 839, 17 ID 838 AND 5 ID 834; AND TO SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, WHICH PROVIDES:

"NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE EXPENDED FOR MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES OR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION OR FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE OF ANY PERSON AT ANY MEETING OR CONVENTION OF MEMBERS OF ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION, UNLESS SUCH FEES, DUES, OR EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUCH PURPOSES OR ARE PROVIDED FOR IN EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION.'

AND TO JOINT RESOLUTION DATED FEBRUARY 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 19, PROVIDING IN PERTINENT PART---

"THAT, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED BY LAW, NO MONEYS FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR ANY PURPOSE SHALL BE USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF LODGING, FEEDING, CONVEYING, OR FURNISHING TRANSPORTATION TO, ANY CONVENTIONS OR OTHER FORM OF ASSEMBLAGE OR GATHERING TO BE HELD IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OR ELSEWHERE. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES.' ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IT IS INTENDED THAT THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION, AN ADMINISTRATION UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ESTABLISHED BY ORDER NO. 1865, COPY OF WHICH IS ATTACHED, SHALL ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN WITHIN THE FISCAL YEAR 1947 AN INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT AND PUBLIC RELATIONS SECTION. IT SHALL BE THE DUTY OF THIS SECTION TO TO DIRECT, SUPERVISE AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL ACTIVITIES OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION, IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROMOTION OF INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, TO THE END OF GREATER EMPLOYMENT, MORE RAPID RECONVERSION AND, THE BETTER UTILIZATION OF THE ELECTRIC POWER RESOURCES OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION. THE CHIEF OF THIS SECTION, AND PROBABLY OTHERS OF THE SECTION, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AND AS A PART OF HIS REGULAR DUTIES, MUST MAKE CONTACTS WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS, ATTEND CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS OF BUSINESS GROUPS, AND ASSIST AND ADVISE IN WORKING OUT PLANS FOR THE PLACEMENT OF POWER LOADS AND INDUSTRIAL PROJECTS.

IN MANY OF THE CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS, SUCH AS THOSE REFERRED TO ABOVE, THE COST OF THE ROOM IN WHICH TO HOLD THE MEETING, THE COST OF REPORTING THE MEETING, THE COST OF RESEARCH BULLETINS AND OTHER LITERATURE DISTRIBUTED AND OTHER INCIDENTAL COSTS ARE DEFRAYED THROUGH A REGISTRATION FEE, CHARGED TO THOSE IN ATTENDANCE.

I SHOULD LIKE TO BE ADVISED IF THESE FEES MAY BE ALLOWED AS TRAVEL EXPENSE, AND BE CLAIMED AND RECOVERED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN HIS REGULAR TRAVEL VOUCHER. IF IT IS HELD THAT THEY ARE NOT ALLOWABLE AS TRAVEL EXPENSE, I SHOULD LIKE TO BE ADVISED IF THERE IS ANY OTHER METHOD BY WHICH THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THESE NECESSARY OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES.

IT APPEARS THAT THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION WAS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO EXECUTIVE ORDERS 9353, 9366 AND 9373, THE LATTER PROVIDING, INTER ALIA, THAT:

THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, ACTING FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES, THROUGH SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED, TO SUCH EXTENT AND IN SUCH MANNER AS IN HIS JUDGMENT THE PUBLIC INTEREST MAY REQUIRE, (A) TO INTEGRATE THE POWER FACILITIES OF THE GRAND RIVER ( PENSACOLA), NORFORK, AND DENISON PROJECTS (INCLUDING THE APPURTENANT TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION, MARKETING, AND OTHER FACILITIES); (B) TO INTERCONNECT THE PROJECTS WITH OTHER UTILITY SYSTEMS IN THE AREA AND TO INTERCHANGE ELECTRIC ENERGY WITH AND PURCHASE ELECTRIC ENERGY FROM SUCH SYSTEMS; AND (C) TO SELL AND DISPOSE OF ELECTRIC ENERGY TO WAR PLANTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS, PUBLIC BODIES AND COOPERATIVES, AND OTHER PERSONS, IN THAT ORDER OF PREFERENCE, AT SUCH RATES AS MAY BE APPROVED BY THE FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION. * * * (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION--- CONTAINED IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947, PUBLIC LAW 478, APPROVED JULY 1, 1946, 60 STAT. 384--- PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE: FOR OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER TRANSMISSION SYSTEM, MARKETING OF ELECTRIC POWER AND ENERGY, AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES CONNECTED THEREWITH; INCLUDING HIRE, MAINTENANCE, REPAIR AND OPERATION OF PASSENGER AUTOMOBILES, AND PRINTING AND BINDING; $100,000.

SINCE NOTHING APPEARS IN THE FOREGOING APPROPRIATION, OR OTHERWISE IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR YOUR DEPARTMENT, SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF EXPENSES INCURRED BY EMPLOYEES OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION IN ATTENDING MEETINGS OF SOCIETIES OR ASSOCIATIONS, IT FOLLOWS THAT THE PROPOSED REIMBURSEMENT OF THE REGISTRATION FEES TO BE PAID BY THE EMPLOYEES WOULD BE PROHIBITED IF THE MEETINGS TO WHICH YOU REFER ARE WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE STATUTES QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER. SUCH, HOWEVER, DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE THE CASE FOR THE REASONS HEREINAFTER DISCUSSED.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, AGAINST THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS OR CONVENTIONS DOES NOT APPLY UNLESS THE MEETING OR CONVENTION IS OF MEMBERS OF A SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION, 17 COMP. GEN. 838; 5 ID. 834; AND, AS YOU POINT OUT, THE JOINT RESOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 19, SPECIFICALLY EXEMPTS FROM ITS TERMS "THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES.' SEE, GENERALLY, 16 COMP. GEN. 839; ID. 850. WHILE YOUR LETTER WOULD SEEM TO INDICATE THAT THE MEETINGS HERE INVOLVED ARE OF ORGANIZED GROUPS WHICH MIGHT BE REGARDED AS SOCIETIES OR ASSOCIATIONS, YET, THE RATIONALE OF THE DECISIONS JUST REFERRED TO WOULD APPEAR TO PERMIT OF AN EXAMINATION INTO THE NATURE OF THE MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION AND THE PURPOSE TO BE SERVED BY THE EMPLOYEE'S ATTENDANCE AT SAID MEETINGS IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER THE PAYMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF EXPENSES INCIDENTAL TO SUCH ATTENDANCE IS IN DEROGATION OF THE 1912 STATUTE OR THE JOINT RESOLUTION OF FEBRUARY 2, 1935.

I THINK THERE CAN BE LITTLE OR NO DOUBT THAT, IN THE ENACTMENT OF THE STATUTES IN QUESTION, THE CONGRESS' PRIMARY OBJECTIVE WAS TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS WHERE THE MEETING OR CONFERENCE IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSACTING THE BUSINESS OR AFFAIRS OF THE ASSOCIATION, THE OFFICER OR THE EMPLOYEE--- RATHER THAN THE AGENCY UNDER WHICH HE IS EMPLOYED--- BEING THE PRINCIPAL RECIPIENT OF THE BENEFITS ACCRUING FROM SUCH ATTENDANCE. HOWEVER, IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE EMPLOYEES OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION WILL NOT BE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE MEETINGS OR CONFERENCES IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCEEDINGS OR ACTIVITIES OF ANY ASSOCIATION--- AND THUS DERIVE A PERSONAL BENEFIT THEREFROM--- BUT THAT SUCH ATTENDANCE IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACQUAINTING THE PUBLIC WITH THE PROGRAM AND FUNCTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH ITS AUTHORIZED OBJECTIVES. THEREFORE, IF IT BE A FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEES WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE CONFERENCES OR MEETINGS DIRECTLY IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES PERTAINING TO THE ACTIVITIES OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION AS PRESCRIBED BY THE EXECUTIVE ORDERS ABOVE CITED, IT MAY BE HELD THAT SUCH ATTENDANCE, STRICTLY ON THE BUSINESS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT WITHIN THE PROHIBITION OF THE STATUTES HERE INVOLVED. SEE OFFICE DECISION OF JULY 3, 1922, TO THE SECRETARY OF LABOR.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT IF--- AS IS NORMALLY THE CASE--- THE REGISTRATION FEES REFERRED TO MERELY ARE ADMITTANCE OR ATTENDANCE FEES EXACTED FROM PERSONS PARTICIPATING IN THE MEETING OR CONFERENCE, AND IF IT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH ATTENDANCE AT SUCH MEETINGS OR CONFERENCES ARE NECESSARY TO FURTHER THE "MARKETING OF ELECTRIC POWER AND ENERGY" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE APPROPRIATION ABOVE QUOTED, SUCH FEES MAY BE PAID FROM SAID APPROPRIATION AS A PROPER ITEM OF TRAVEL EXPENSE TO BE CLAIMED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN HIS REGULAR TRAVEL VOUCHER. CF. B-20325, JANUARY 27, 1942; B-57788, JULY 3, 1946; B-46050, DECEMBER 20, 1944; B 34462, MAY 22, 1943.