[Land Aquisition by the Yurok Indian Tribe]

B-279338: Jan 4, 1999

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The Department of the Interior requested GAO's advice concerning the propriety of the expenditure of $1,106,618 by an Indian tribe in fiscal year 1996 for land acquisition. Interior had made these funds available to the tribe pursuant to a compact of self-governance between the tribe and the Interior. GAO held that the expenditure was consistent with law. Section 450h of Title 25, United States Code, authorizes Interior to fund land acquisition by Indian tribes. Interior's decision not to request specific funding for grants under section 450h does not preclude Interior's use of Operation of Indian Program funds to contract with Indian Tribes for authorized grant purposes. Agencies may reprogram funds within appropriation accounts, as long as expenditures are within the general purpose of the appropriation and are not in violation of any other specific limitation or otherwise prohibited. Accordingly, GAO had no objection to the Yurok Indian tribe's use of these funds for land acquisition.