Note practitioners should consider also the

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NOTE: Practitioners should consider also the constitutional issues involved in using federal funds to purchase and display religious decorations (e.g., Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.)
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Fiscal Law Overview Ethics Counselor's Deskbook November 2013 28 8. Business Cards. Under a “necessary expense” analysis, the GAO has sanctioned the use of appropriated funds to purchase business cards for agency employees. See Letter to Mr. Jerome J. Markiewicz, Fort Sam Houston, 1998 WL 807760, Comp. Gen. No. B-280759 (Nov. 5, 1998) (purchase of business cards with appropriated funds for government employees who regularly deal with public or outside organizations is a proper “necessary expense”) (emphasis added). a. This case “overturned” a long history of Comptroller General’s decisions holding that business cards were a personal expense because they did not materially contribute to an agency’s mission accomplishment. See, e.g., Forest Service-Purchase of Information Cards, 68 Comp. Gen. 467 (1989). b. More Restrictive Agency Level Regulations. The military departments have implemented policies that permit only recruiters and criminal investigators to purchase commercially prepared business cards. All others are permitted to use appropriated funds to purchase card stock and printer ink and then use in-house computing resources to print their own business cards. See AR 25-30, The Army Publishing and Printing Program, ¶ 7-11 (27 Mar. 2006); but see Department of Defense memorandum, 15 July 1999, and Department of the Army memorandum, 2 August 1999 (indicating agencies may procure commercially prepared business cards from the Lighthouse for the Blind if the cost of procuring the cards is equivalent to or less than the cost of producing the cards on a personal computer). c. Navy policy is found in Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller) Memoranda “Business Cards” of 9 Mar 99 and 26 Aug 99.
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Fiscal Law Overview Ethics Counselor's Deskbook November 2013 29 9. Licenses and Certificates. Employees are expected to show up to work prepared to carry out their assigned duties. As a result, fees that an employee incurs to obtain a license or certificate enabling them to carry out their duties are considered a personal expense rather than a “necessary expense” of the government. See Bureau of Land Management- Availability of Appropriations to Pay Expenses for Employees to Obtain a Certified Govt. Fin. Mgr. Designation, 1995 WL 628851, Comp. Gen. No. B-260771 (Oct. 11, 1995) (appropriation not available to cover costs of obtaining professional recognition of employee’s credentials); Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, 46 Comp. Gen. 695 (1967) (state license fees imposed on Public Health Service medical doctor not payable absent statutory authority); A. N. Ross, 22 Comp. Gen. 460 (1942) (fee for attorney’s admission to Court of Appeals not payable).
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  • Spring '14
  • JuandaL.Daniel
  • United States Code, Gen. No, Fiscal Law Overview

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