Committee's Consideration of the Nomination of Dr. Daniel J. Boorstin to be Librarian of Congress

B-184705: Sep 4, 1975

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By letter dated August 11, 1975, Congress requested our views concerning a legal issue which has arisen in the Committee's consideration of the nomination of Dr. Daniel J. Boorstin to be Librarian of Congress. Congress requested our views on the "legality of using employees paid by Federal funds for a private purpose, namely, assisting in the research and preparation of a manuscript for an individual who was not within the Federal service insofar as his compensation coming from privately endowed funds, with the results of this work by federally paid employees benefiting this individual financially and with honors."

Had Dr. Boorstin been assigned employees paid solely out of the Institution's trust funds rather than appropriated funds, there would be no valid question of impropriety raised outside the Smithsonian itself. While the Institution erred in assigning four employees to Dr. Boorstin who were paid from Government funds instead, in the light of all the facts and circumstances in the instant case, we feel that Dr. Boorstin's acceptance acceptance of these services was made in good faith and was, at worst, a technical error which should be corrected to compensate the employees in question for the portion of time spent on Dr. Boorstin's work from nonappropriated funds instead of appropriated funds.