Establishment of the President’s Council for International Youth Exchange

Headnotes: 

Proposed establishment of the President’s Council on International Youth Exchange (Council) within the United States Information Agency (USIA), for the purpose of soliciting funds from the private sector for the USIA’s youth exchange programs, is generally permissible, although the Council’s activities would be subject to certain limitations and its continued operation after a year would depend upon a specific congressional appropriation.

Under the Fulbnght-Hays Act, employees of the USIA are permitted actively to solicit private contributions to support the USIA’s exchange programs. However, under 5 U.S.C. § 3107, any publicity in this connection would have to be carefully tailored to further only the USIA’s fundraising activities and not generally to aggrandize the USIA or its officials, in accordance with guidelines of the General Accounting Office.

Under 31 U.S.C. § 673, creation of the Council must be “authorized by law” in order for public funds to be used for its expenses or for USIA employees to assist in its operation. While § 673 does not require specific statutory authorization for the establishment of government councils and commissions, it does require that such entities and their functions be authorized “in a general way” by law. Whether the Council meets this test may depend upon its size and functions.

Under the Russell Amendment, 31 U.S.C. § 696, non-statutory councils and commissions which are vested with authonty to take substantive action on the government’s behalf must receive specific budgetary support from Congress within a year of their establishment in order to continue operating beyond that date.

The functions of the proposed Council in connection with fundraising and advising activities, as well as its proposed relationship with the USIA, would be such as to require that its members be made employees of the federal government.

Updated July 9, 2014