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Funding an Agency’s Functions From Its Working Capital Fund


The Secretary of Commerce may designate certain agency functions now funded out of his Department’s General Administration (GA) appropriation as “central services” and transfer responsibility for their funding to the working capital fund, 15 U.S.C. § 1521, so that they will henceforth be paid for with funds appropriated to the various component bureaus of the Department of Commerce. The Secretary may thereby avoid exhaustion of the GA account, the likely consequence of a ruling of the Comptroller General disallowing direct reimbursement of the GA by the bureaus on grounds that it would unlawfully augment the GA appropriation.

The authority for a working capital fund in 15 U.S.C. § 1521 constitutes an exception to the Comptroller General’s rule prohibiting an agency from switching responsibility for funding a particular service from one appropriation account to another.

Updated July 9, 2014