[Use of Appropriated Funds To Pay for Temporary Duty Lodging]

B-209375: Dec 7, 1982

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The Director of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) requested a GAO determination that an agency may rent accommodations for employees on temporary duty at a cost in excess of the statutory limitation where the use of the particular accommodations is an integral part of the employee's job and failure to provide such accommodations would frustrate the ability of the agency to carry out its statutory mandate. A recent GAO decision had held that appropriated funds are not available to pay per diem or actual subsistence expenses in excess of that allowed by statute or regulation. The Director asserted that this decision had an adverse impact on the USIA ability to accomplish its mission, since agency employees frequently travel as reporters covering presidential trips and those of other dignitaries. Under these circumstances, it is necessary to stay in the hotels where the President or the dignitaries are staying, and it is not always practical for the employees to obtain lodging at rates within the authorized limits. Since the requirements stated by the Director establish a clear relationship between the costs incurred and the carrying out of the agency's statutory mission, GAO held that, in those circumstances, the lodging expenses are a necessary administrative cost for official business.