B-75014, APRIL 13, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 627

B-75014: Apr 13, 1948

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

IT IS STATED. IS TO BE HELD AT STOCKHOLM. YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION IS DIRECTED TO THE QUESTION WHETHER SUCH EXPENSES FALL WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF. ARE SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATION PRESCRIBED IN. OR WHETHER THEY ARE EXPENSES WHICH ARE NOT COVERED BY AND ARE NOT LIMITED BY SAID PROVISION. WERE ENACTED TO OVERCOME THE PROHIBITIONS APPEARING IN SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26. 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 STATED IN YOUR LETTER. AS FOLLOWS: THE CONSTITUENT MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ARE THE NATIONAL COMMITTEES OF SOME SCORE OF COUNTRIES. THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE (THE UNITED STATES COMMITTEE ON LARGE DAMS) IS A PRIVATELY FINANCED BODY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION IN THIS COUNTRY.

B-75014, APRIL 13, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 627

EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON LARGE DAMS - APPROPRIATION LIMITATION APPLICABILITY THE EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE OF BUREAU OF RECLAMATION PERSONNEL AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON LARGE DAMS--- COMPOSED OF REPRESENTATIVES, BOTH PRIVATE AND GOVERNMENTAL, OF THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES--- BEING WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, PROHIBITING THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS, ETC., MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO APPROPRIATIONS OF THE BUREAU WITHOUT REGARD TO THE EXPENSE LIMITATION PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 4 OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1948, OVERCOMING THE PROHIBITION OF THE 1912 ACT AND MAKING FUNDS AVAILABLE, TO A LIMITED EXTENT, FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS, ETC.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, APRIL 13, 1948:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 29, 1948, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THE PAYMENT, FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, OF EXPENSES OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION INCIDENT TO THEIR ATTENDANCE AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON LARGE DAMS WHICH, IT IS STATED, IS TO BE HELD AT STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, IN JUNE OF THIS YEAR. PARTICULARLY, YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION IS DIRECTED TO THE QUESTION WHETHER SUCH EXPENSES FALL WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF, AND ARE SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATION PRESCRIBED IN, SECTION 4 OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1948, APPROVED JULY 25, 1947, 61 STAT. 460, 491, WHICH PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 4. APPROPRIATIONS HEREIN MADE FOR THE FOLLOWING BUREAUS AND OFFICES SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES AT MEETINGS OR CONVENTIONS OF MEMBERS OF SOCIETIES OR ASSOCIATIONS CONCERNED WITH THEIR WORK IN NOT TO EXCEED THE AMOUNTS INDICATED * * * BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, $6,000 * * *. OR WHETHER THEY ARE EXPENSES WHICH ARE NOT COVERED BY AND ARE NOT LIMITED BY SAID PROVISION.

IT APPEARS THAT THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4, QUOTED ABOVE, WERE ENACTED TO OVERCOME THE PROHIBITIONS APPEARING IN SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, AND JOINT RESOLUTION DATED FEBRUARY 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 19, WHICH RESPECTIVELY PROVIDE:

SEC. 8. 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.

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.

WITH RESPECT TO THE COMPOSITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON LARGE DAMS, IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER, AS FOLLOWS:

THE CONSTITUENT MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ARE THE NATIONAL COMMITTEES OF SOME SCORE OF COUNTRIES. THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE (THE UNITED STATES COMMITTEE ON LARGE DAMS) IS A PRIVATELY FINANCED BODY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION IN THIS COUNTRY, ITS MEMBERS BEING APPOINTED FOR THEIR PROMINENCE IN THIS FIELD. OTHER NATIONAL COMMITTEES ARE SIMILARLY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PROFESSION IN THESE COUNTRIES INCLUDING, IN MANY CASES, REPRESENTATIVES OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ENGAGED IN ENGINEERING WORK.

THE VIEW IS EXPRESSED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THERE IS DOUBT THAT THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON LARGE DAMS IS A "MEETING OR CONVENTION OF MEMBERS OF ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT PHRASE AS USED IN THE 1912 STATUTE, AND THAT ATTENDANCE THEREAT IS WITHIN THE EXCEPTION PROVIDED IN THE 1935 STATUTE, SUPRA. RELATIVE THERETO, ATTENTION IS INVITED BY YOU TO OFFICE DECISION OF APRIL 17, 1926 (5 COMP. GEN. 834), WHEREIN THIS OFFICE ADVISED THE CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION, THAT, IF ATTENDANCE OF PERSONNEL OF THE COMMISSION AT THE WORLD POWER CONFERENCE IN SWITZERLAND WAS "IN FURTHERANCE OF AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES" OF THE COMMISSION, THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, SUPRA, WAS NOT AN IMPEDIMENT TO THE PAYMENT OF THEIR EXPENSES SINCE IT APPEARED FROM THE FACTS OF RECORD THAT THE CONFERENCE WAS "NOT A MEETING OR CONVENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION" BUT WAS "AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE TO BE ATTENDED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF VARIOUS GOVERNMENTS.'

ALSO, IT IS STATED THAT, EVEN IF THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON LARGE DAMS SHOULD, UNLIKE THE WORLD POWER CONFERENCE, BE CONSIDERED A MEETING OR CONVENTION OF MEMBERS OF A SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION, IT STILL IS BELIEVED THAT PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT THE CONFERENCE IS NOT PROHIBITED BY THE AFORESAID ACTS IN VIEW OF OFFICE DECISION DATED JULY 23, 1946 (26 COMP. GEN. 53), CONCERNING CERTAIN PROPOSED EXPENDITURES OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION OF YOUR DEPARTMENT. IN SUCH CONNECTION, REFERENCE IS MADE TO A STATEMENT IN THE REFERRED-TO DECISION TO THE EFFECT THAT THE PRIMARY OBJECT OF THE CONGRESS IN ENACTING THE STATUTES IN QUESTION "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 EMPLOYEE--- RATHER THAN THE AGENCY UNDER WHICH HE IS EMPLOYED--- BEING THE PRINCIPAL RECIPIENT OF THE BENEFITS ACCRUING FROM SUCH ENDANCE.' IT IS POINTED OUT THAT SEVERAL OF THE MATTERS WHICH WILL BE DISCUSSED AT THE SCHEDULED MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ARE OF INTEREST OT THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION AND THAT BENEFITS MAY ACCRUE TO THE BUREAU AS A RESULT OF THE ATTENDANCE OF ITS REPRESENTATIVES AT SUCH MEETING.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE AFORESAID CONTENTIONS, IT APPEARS THAT THE SCHEDULED INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS IS NOT A MEETING OR CONFERENCE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES AS WAS THE FACTUAL SITUATION IN 5 COMP. GEN. 834, SUPRA. RATHER, AS IS SEEN FROM THE ABOVE-QUOTED EXCERPT FROM YOUR LETTER, THE MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ARE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEES OF SEVERAL COUNTRIES--- THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE BEING A PRIVATELY FINANCED BODY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION IN THIS COUNTRY, AND THAT OTHER INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEES SIMILARLY ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PROFESSION IN THEIR COUNTRIES AND INCLUDE, IN MANY CASES, REPRESENTATIVES OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ENGAGED IN ENGINEERING WORK. THE MERE FACT THAT SOME MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEES OF COUNTRIES ARE EMPLOYEES OF THEIR GOVERNMENT AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR HOLDING, UPON THE BASIS OF 5 COMP. GEN. 834, SUPRA, THAT THE SCHEDULED CONGRESS IS NOT A MEETING OF A SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION, THE EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT WHICH ARE PROHIBITED BY THE TERMS OF THE 1912 ACT UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR BY LAW.

MOREOVER, THE FACT THAT SOME OF THE MATTERS TO BE DISCUSSED AT THE SCHEDULED MEETING OF THE CONGRESS MAY BE OF INTEREST TO THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION OR THAT THE BUREAU POSSIBLY MAY BE THE PRIMARY BENEFICIARY OF SUCH DISCUSSIONS--- RATHER THAN THE INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES ATTENDING THE CONGRESS--- DOES NOT WARRANT A HOLDING THAT THE PROHIBITORY PROVISIONS OF THE 1912 STATUTE ARE NOT APPLICABLE. IN SUCH CONNECTION, IT MAY BE SAID THAT THE STATEMENT IN 26 COMP. GEN. 53, REFERRED TO ABOVE, WAS IN THE NATURE OF DICTA--- NOT BEING NECESSARY TO THE CONCLUSION REACHED IN SAID DECISION--- WHICH STATEMENT, UPON FURTHER CONSIDERATION, I DO NOT FEEL IS CORRECT. IN OTHER WORDS, THE PLAIN LANGUAGE OF THE 1912 STATUTE PROHIBITS THE USE OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE OF ANY PERSON AT ANY MEETING OR CONVENTION OF MEMBERS OF ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION--- UNLESS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW--- REGARDLESS AS TO WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT OR THE PRINCIPLES ARE THE BENEFICIARIES OF THE ATTENDANCE.

ACCORDINGLY, IN ANSWER TO YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTION, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT THE SCHEDULED MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS PROPERLY MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION WITHOUT REGARD TO THE LIMITATION STATED IN SECTION 4 OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1948, QUOTED ABOVE.