B-73738, MARCH 12, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 516

B-73738: Mar 12, 1948

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1948: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 16. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD IS AUTHORIZED TO EXPEND CURRENT FUNDS FOR THE PURCHASE OF AIR TRANSPORTATION TICKETS TO BE USED AS EVIDENCE OF VIOLATIONS OF THE TARIFF PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938. THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM IS EXPLAINED AS FOLLOWS: MANY INSTANCES COME TO THE BOARD'S ATTENTION OF ADVERTISEMENTS IN NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND OF WINDOW DISPLAYS OFFERING AIR TRANSPORTATION AT LESS THAN CURRENTLY EFFECTIVE TARIFF RATES. ENOUGH HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED TO INFORM THE BOARD THAT ACTUALLY THERE IS A WIDE SPREAD SALE OF TICKETS AT LESS THAN EFFECTIVE TARIFF RATES IN THE NEW YORK AREA.

B-73738, MARCH 12, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 516

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - PURCHASE OF AIR TRANSPORTATION TICKETS FOR EVIDENTIAL PURPOSES THE PURCHASE BY THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD OF AIR TRANSPORTATION TICKETS FOR USE AS EVIDENCE OF VIOLATIONS OF THE TARIFF PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938, AS AMENDED, BEING A PROPER INCIDENT OF THE BOARD'S FUNCTIONS OF ADMINISTERING AND ENFORCING SAID ACT, THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE BOARD MAY BE REGARDED AS AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ACTING CHAIRMAN, CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, MARCH 12, 1948:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 16, 1948, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD IS AUTHORIZED TO EXPEND CURRENT FUNDS FOR THE PURCHASE OF AIR TRANSPORTATION TICKETS TO BE USED AS EVIDENCE OF VIOLATIONS OF THE TARIFF PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938, AS AMENDED, 49 U.S.C. 401, ET SEQ. THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM IS EXPLAINED AS FOLLOWS:

MANY INSTANCES COME TO THE BOARD'S ATTENTION OF ADVERTISEMENTS IN NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND OF WINDOW DISPLAYS OFFERING AIR TRANSPORTATION AT LESS THAN CURRENTLY EFFECTIVE TARIFF RATES. BECAUSE OF THE LIMITATIONS OF THE BOARD'S STAFF IT HAS BEEN A PRACTICAL IMPOSSIBILITY TO MAKE A THOROUGH AND COMPLETE INVESTIGATION OF EACH SUCH INSTANCE. ENOUGH HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED TO INFORM THE BOARD THAT ACTUALLY THERE IS A WIDE SPREAD SALE OF TICKETS AT LESS THAN EFFECTIVE TARIFF RATES IN THE NEW YORK AREA. PROOF OF THESE SALES IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN. ENFORCEMENT OF THE TARIFF PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938, AS AMENDED, WOULD BE RENDERED MUCH SPEEDIER AND MORE EFFECTIVE IF THE BOARD WERE AUTHORIZED TO EXPEND FUNDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PURCHASING TICKETS TO BE USED AS EVIDENCE OF TARIFF VIOLATIONS. PURCHASES BY INVESTIGATORS AT PRICES LESS THAN OR MORE THAN THE EFFECTIVE TARIFF RATES WOULD CONSTITUTE CLEAR EVIDENCE OF CRIME.

YOUR LETTER INVITES ATTENTION TO SECTION 403 (A), 403 (B) AND 902 (D) OF THE SAID ACT, 49 U.S.C. 483, 622, (1) REQUIRING EVERY AIR CARRIER TO PUBLISH COMPLETE TARIFFS FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION, (2) PROHIBITING CARRIERS FROM COLLECTING OR RECEIVING A GREATER OR LESS OR DIFFERENT COMPENSATION FOR AIR TRANSPORTATION THAN THE RATES CONTAINED IN ITS TARIFFS AND FROM REFUNDING, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ANY PORTIONS OF RATES OR CHARGES SO SPECIFIED, AND (3) PROVIDING CRIMINAL PENALTIES IN CASE OF VIOLATIONS. ALSO, REFERENCE IS MADE TO SECTION 205 (A) OF THE ACT, 49 U.S.C. 425, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

THE AUTHORITY IS EMPOWERED TO PERFORM SUCH ACTS, TO CONDUCT SUCH INVESTIGATIONS, TO ISSUE AND AMEND SUCH ORDERS, AND TO MAKE AND AMEND SUCH GENERAL OR SPECIAL RULES, REGULATIONS, AND PROCEDURE, PURSUANT TO AND CONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT, AS IT SHALL DEEM NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT SUCH PROVISIONS AND TO EXERCISE AND PERFORM ITS POWERS AND DUTIES UNDER THIS ACT. FURTHERMORE, THE LETTER SETS FORTH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1007 (B) OF THE ACT, 49 U.S.C. 647, AUTHORIZING THE BOARD TO PROCEED IN THE DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF ITS PROVISIONS.

THE PROCUREMENT OF EVIDENCE IS A USUAL INCIDENT TO INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION; AND IT HAS BEEN HELD BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT SPECIFIC AUTHORITY TO MAKE PURCHASES OF GOODS IN ORDER TO PROCURE EVIDENCE OF VIOLATIONS OF LAW IS NOT NECESSARILY REQUIRED, IF GENERAL PROVISION HAS BEEN MADE IN AN APPROPRIATION FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY TO THE ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF SUCH LAW. 26 COMP. DEC. 780. SUCH CONNECTION, THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR, PUBLIC LAW 166, APPROVED JULY 9, 1947, 61 STAT. 297, IS AVAILABLE FOR "NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD.'

SINCE THE PURCHASE OF AIR TRANSPORTATION TICKETS FOR USE AS EVIDENCE OF TARIFF VIOLATIONS REASONABLY MAY BE REGARDED AS A PROPER INCIDENT OF THE FUNCTIONS REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED BY THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD, AS SET FORTH ABOVE, THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR SUCH PURPOSE FROM THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION ACT IS AUTHORIZED.