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TO ALDERSON REPORTING COMPANY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF DECISION OF JUNE 29. IT WAS HELD IN THE DECISION THAT THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT TO F. RECONSIDERATION OF THE DECISION IS REQUESTED PRIMARILY ON THE BASIS THAT THE CHARGE OF 90 CENTS PER PAGE FOR ORDINARY COPY IS IN EXCESS OF THE HIGHEST RATE MAINTAINED BY ANY OTHER QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE PROTECTION OF PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE SUCH AGENCIES. THAT THE EFFECT OF THE DECISION WILL BE TO RAISE THE "CEILING" FOR ORDINARY COPY AS TO ALL AGENCIES. THAT A PARTY LITIGANT BEFORE THE BOARD MIGHT BE SUCCESSFUL IN SUSTAINING AN APPEAL FROM A DECISION OF THE BOARD ON THE GROUND THAT HE WAS DENIED A TRANSCRIPT OF THE HEARING BECAUSE 90 CENTS PER PAGE WAS AN EXORBITANT RATE.

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B-124287, NOV. 14, 1955

TO ALDERSON REPORTING COMPANY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF DECISION OF JUNE 29, 1955, B-124287, TO THE CHAIRMAN, SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES CONTROL BOARD.

IT WAS HELD IN THE DECISION THAT THE AWARD OF THE CONTRACT TO F. J. MCCABE FOR STENOGRAPHIC REPORTING SERVICES TO THE SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES CONTROL BOARD FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1956 WOULD NOT BE OBJECTED TO ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS OF RECORD.

RECONSIDERATION OF THE DECISION IS REQUESTED PRIMARILY ON THE BASIS THAT THE CHARGE OF 90 CENTS PER PAGE FOR ORDINARY COPY IS IN EXCESS OF THE HIGHEST RATE MAINTAINED BY ANY OTHER QUASI-JUDICIAL AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR THE PROTECTION OF PERSONS APPEARING BEFORE SUCH AGENCIES; THAT THE EFFECT OF THE DECISION WILL BE TO RAISE THE "CEILING" FOR ORDINARY COPY AS TO ALL AGENCIES; AND THAT A PARTY LITIGANT BEFORE THE BOARD MIGHT BE SUCCESSFUL IN SUSTAINING AN APPEAL FROM A DECISION OF THE BOARD ON THE GROUND THAT HE WAS DENIED A TRANSCRIPT OF THE HEARING BECAUSE 90 CENTS PER PAGE WAS AN EXORBITANT RATE.

THE MERE FACT THAT THE 90 CENT RATE IS HIGHER THAN ANY NOW IN EFFECT DOES NOT NECESSARILY REQUIRE THE CONCLUSION THAT IT IS EXORBITANT. AS TO THE SUGGESTED EFFECT OF RAISING THE EILING," THE FIGURES GIVEN BY YOU APPEAR TO INDICATE THAT THE NORMAL EFFECT OF COMPETITION MAY BE RELIED UPON TO PREVENT SUCH A CONSEQUENCE, IT BEING NOTED THAT ONLY THREE OF THE 19 RATES STATED ARE AT THE HIGHEST FIGURE WHILE 7 OF THEM ARE LESS THAN HALF THAT AMOUNT.

THE POSSIBILITY OF REVERSAL OF DECISIONS OF THE BOARD ON THE SOLE GROUND OF THE ALLEGEDLY EXCESSIVE COST OF A TRANSCRIPT IS A MATTER MORE PROPERLY FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE BOARD, WHICH, AS STATED IN OUR PRIOR DECISION, HAS THE PRIMARY DUTY OF EVALUATING THE BIDS, WHICH NECESSARILY INCLUDES DETERMINING THE EXTENT TO WHICH IT IS TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT TO LIMIT THE COSTS OF TRANSCRIPTS TO PARTIES AND THE PUBLIC. IN THIS CONNECTION IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, WHICH IS REQUIRED TO PAY THE SAME RATE AS THE PUBLIC, HAS RAISED ANY QUESTION AS TO THE REASONABLENESS OF THE RATE.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE FIND NO REASON FOR MODIFYING THE CONCLUSION PREVIOUSLY REACHED, THAT THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHAT CONSTITUTES A REASONABLE RATE TO PARTY LITIGANTS IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION WHICH WE WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED IN QUESTIONING ON THE RECORD IN THIS CASE.

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