Comments on Payment for Photos
B-111336: Sep 16, 1952
- Full Report:
The Office of Price Stabilization requested an opinion concerning whether it had the authority to certify for payment a voucher for photographic services. GAO held that the cost of photographs of individual employees of the government was a personal expense not chargeable to public funds in the absence of express statutory authority. Accordingly, the voucher may not be certified for payment.
B-111336 September 16, 1952
Mr. Frank J. Kalkhrenner Authorized Certifying Officer Office of Price Stabilization Washington 25, D.C.
Dear Mr. Kalkhrenner:
Reference is made to your letter of July 24, 1952, transmitted to this Office by the Director, Budget and Finance Division, with letter of August 11, 1952, reference 2933, requesting Bureau voucher No. 5327 in favor of Don Berg Advertising Photography, Nicollet Avenue at 13th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the amount of $11, for a photograph (and 7 reprints) of Joseph Robbie, Jr., Regional Director.
In his letter of June 17, 1952, copy of which is attached to the voucher, Mr. Robbie states:
"The photographs noted on the attached requisition were taken at the time of my appointment as Regional Director. They were needed for use then and in the future, as long as this program continues, for various types of newspapers and magazines. They are essential to the publicizing of the Office of Price Stabilizations program in this region."
Such statement is not regarded as sufficient to show that the photographs were in fact necessary in carrying out the purposes for which the Office of Price Stabilization was established. It long has been the view of this Office that the cost of photographs of individual employees of the Government is a personal expense not chargeable to public funds in the absence of express statutory authority therefor.
In the instant matter, the applicable appropriation makes available to the Economic Stabilization Agency the sum of $5,000 "for emergency and extraordinary expenses, to be expended under the direction of the Administrator for such purposes as he deems proper, and his determination thereon shall be final and conclusive" (Supplemental Appropriation Act, 1952, approved November 1, 1951, 65 Stat. 736, 752). However, there is not found anything in the record to indicate that the proposed expenditure was contemplated under such authority.
For the reasons above set out, the voucher transmitted with your letter may not be certified for payment.
The voucher and related papers are returned herewith.
Lindsley C. Warren
Comptroller General of the United States