Support for Enactment of H.R. 1020

B-203115: Published: May 8, 1981. Publicly Released: May 8, 1981.

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GAO expressed its support of proposed legislation that would repeal the procurement regulation that requires prior written approval before an advertisement or notice may be placed in a newspaper by an executive branch agency. The present regulation provides that a bill from a newspaper may not be paid unless accompanied by written authorization. When GAO receives a claim by a newspaper which has published an advertisement ordered in violation of this statute, GAO is required to disallow the claim. In recent years, GAO has been referring these claims to Congress for enactment of legislation under the Meritorious Claims Act. GAO has supported the repeal of this regulation for a number of years. Normal procurement procedures are adequate to safeguard the Government's interests. GAO has also recommended repeal of a related regulation which concerns rates of payment for advertisements. GAO recommends amending the proposed legislation to modify this regulation as well. If the committee feels that there are policy reasons which would suggest retaining control over the placing of advertisements in newspapers by Government agencies, it might consider amending the regulations to permit payment upon ratification by the agency head. This approach would retain some control but would permit payment if the agency ratified the order. It would obviate the need for referrals under the Meritorious Claims Act or other relief legislation.

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