B-86021, JUNE 14, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 711

B-86021: Jun 14, 1949

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ARE REGARDED AS NEWSPAPERS. 1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED MAY 3. WHICH PROVIDES: WHERE APPROPRIATIONS IN THIS ACT ARE EXPENDABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND NO SPECIFIC LIMITATION HAS BEEN PLACED THEREON. OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AUTHORIZED FUNCTIONS OF THE AGENCIES FOR WHICH FUNDS ARE HEREIN PROVIDED. THE PUBLICATIONS ENUMERATED ARE: 1. IT IS STATED IN THE SAID LETTER THAT THE PUBLICATIONS ARE PRIMARILY DEDICATED TO THE PUBLICATION OF DAILY COURT CALENDARS. INFORMATION AS TO TRANSFERS OF PROPERTY ON WHICH YOUR OFFICE MAY HAVE LIENS AND MOTIONS IN SUCH CASES. IT IS SET FORTH THAT TO SECURE SUCH INFORMATION OTHERWISE WOULD REQUIRE THE HIRE OF CLERKS FOR EACH OF YOUR LOCAL OFFICES.

B-86021, JUNE 14, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 711

STATUTORY LIMITATION ON NEWSPAPER AND PERIODICAL PURCHASES - STATUS OF LAW JOURNALS, BULLETINS, ETC. THE EXCEPTION OF TECHNICAL OR TRADE PERIODICALS NECESSARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF AN AGENCY'S AUTHORIZED FUNCTIONS FROM THE $50 LIMITATION IMPOSED BY SECTION 105 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, ON THE AMOUNT OF AN AGENCY'S FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY SAID ACT WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED FOR NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS DOES NOT INCLUDE PUBLICATIONS DENOMINATED AS LAW JOURNALS, BULLETINS, OR RECORDS WHICH, WHILE CONTAINING NEWS RESTRICTED TO LEGAL MATTERS OF INTEREST ONLY TO LAWYERS AND THOSE HAVING DEALINGS WITH THE COURTS, ARE REGARDED AS NEWSPAPERS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE HOUSING EXPEDITER, JUNE 14, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED MAY 3, 1949, GC-4, FROM THE ACTING HOUSING EXPEDITER, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER CERTAIN PUBLICATIONS THEREIN SPECIFICALLY LISTED AND SIMILAR PUBLICATIONS MAY BE CONSIDERED TO BE "TECHNICAL OR TRADE PERIODICALS" NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL FUNCTIONS OF YOUR AGENCY WITHIN THE MEANING OF THOSE WORDS AS SET FORTH IN SECTION 105 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, 62 STAT. 192, WHICH PROVIDES:

WHERE APPROPRIATIONS IN THIS ACT ARE EXPENDABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS AND NO SPECIFIC LIMITATION HAS BEEN PLACED THEREON, THE EXPENDITURES THEREFOR UNDER EACH SUCH APPROPRIATION MAY NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF $50: PROVIDED, THAT THIS LIMITATION SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE PURCHASE OF SCIENTIFIC TECHNICAL, TRADE, OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AUTHORIZED FUNCTIONS OF THE AGENCIES FOR WHICH FUNDS ARE HEREIN PROVIDED.

THE PUBLICATIONS ENUMERATED ARE:

1. NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL, NEW YORK, N.Y.

2. THE LEGAL INTELLIGENCER, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

3. THE RECORDER, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.

4. THE CHICAGO DAILY LAW BULLETIN, CHICAGO, ILL.

5. ST. LOUIS DAILY RECORD, ST. LOUIS, MO.

6. LOS ANGELES DAILY JOURNAL, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.

IT IS STATED IN THE SAID LETTER THAT THE PUBLICATIONS ARE PRIMARILY DEDICATED TO THE PUBLICATION OF DAILY COURT CALENDARS, CERTAIN IMPORTANT RENT CONTROL DECISIONS, CHANGES OF COURT RULES, INFORMATION AS TO TRANSFERS OF PROPERTY ON WHICH YOUR OFFICE MAY HAVE LIENS AND MOTIONS IN SUCH CASES--- WITHOUT WHICH INFORMATION THE LITIGATION WORK OF YOUR OFFICE SERIOUSLY WOULD BE IMPAIRED. ALSO, IT IS SET FORTH THAT TO SECURE SUCH INFORMATION OTHERWISE WOULD REQUIRE THE HIRE OF CLERKS FOR EACH OF YOUR LOCAL OFFICES, WHOSE SALARY AND TRAVEL EXPENSES WOULD BY FAR EXCEED THE COST OF THE PURCHASE OF THE PUBLICATIONS, AND THAT SUCH CLERKS COULD NOT OBTAIN ALL OF THE DESIRED INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE PUBLICATIONS. IS FURTHER STATED THAT NONE OF THE PUBLICATIONS ARE NEWSPAPERS IN THE GENERALLY ACCEPTED SENSE, NOT BEING CIRCULATED AMONG THE GENERAL PUBLIC NOR CONTAINING NEWS ITEMS, ADVERTISEMENTS, OR EDITORIALS OF INTEREST TO THE PUBLIC AT LARGE BUT ONLY OF INTEREST TO LAWYERS AND THOSE HAVING DEALINGS WITH THE COURTS OR RELATED PROFESSIONS AND BUSINESSES.

THE IDENTICAL LANGUAGE OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, HAS APPEARED IN A NUMBER OF APPROPRIATIONS ACTS AND WHERE THE CONGRESS HAS CONSIDERED THAT THE WORK OF A PARTICULAR AGENCY SHOULD BE EXCEPTED THEREFROM IT HAS MADE PROVISION THEREFOR. THE EFFECT OF THE PROVISION ON THOSE AGENCIES INCLUDED IN ITS SCOPE WAS CONSIDERED IN 22 COMP. GEN. 46; ID. 338; AND 25 ID. 734. ALSO, THE PARTICULAR PUBLICATIONS ENUMERATED ABOVE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE LOS ANGELES DAILY JOURNAL--- WHICH APPEARS FROM THE LETTER OF THE ACTING HOUSING EXPEDITER TO BE OF THE SAME TYPE--- WERE SPECIFICALLY CONSIDERED IN 22 COMP. GEN. 338. IT WAS HELD IN THE SAID DECISION THAT NEWSPAPERS WERE NOT INCLUDED IN THE TERMS "SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL, TRADE OR TRAFFIC PERIODICALS" WHICH, WHEN NECESSARY TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE AUTHORIZED FUNCTIONS OF THE AGENCY, COULD BE PURCHASED WITHOUT REGARD TO THE $50 LIMITATION. ALSO THAT, SINCE THE PUBLICATIONS INVOLVED WERE REGARDED BY THE STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS AS NEWSPAPERS, THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE WARRANTED IN FINDING THAT THEY ARE NOT NEWSPAPERS EVEN THOUGH THE NEWS CONTAINED THEREIN IS RESTRICTED TO A PARTICULAR SUBJECT MATTER OR IS OF A NATURE THAT PERHAPS IS OF INTEREST ONLY TO A PORTION OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE APPEARS NO PROPER BASIS FOR HOLDING THAT THE PUBLICATIONS SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN THE LETTER OF THE ACTING HOUSING EXPEDITER, OR SIMILAR PUBLICATIONS, ARE ,TECHNICAL OR TRADE PERIODICALS" WHICH MAY BE PURCHASED WITHOUT REGARD TO THE $50 LIMITATION CONTAINED IN TITLE I, SECTION 105, OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, WHICH WAS MADE APPLICABLE TO THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE OFFICE OF THE HOUSING EXPEDITER BY SECTION 103 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1948, 62 STAT. 1205.