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Opinions

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Title Headnotes
Reimbursing Transition-Related Expenses Incurred Before the Administrator of General Services Ascertained Who Were the Apparent Successful Candidates for the Office of President and Vice President

The General Services Administration can reimburse the Bush/Cheney transition for legitimate transition-related expenses, as contemplated by the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, that were incurred after the general election on November 7, 2000 but prior to December 14, 2000, when the Administrator of GSA ascertained that George W. Bush and Richard Cheney were the apparent successful candidates for the office of President and Vice President.

Authority of the Office of Government Ethics to Issue Touhy Regulations

The Office of Government Ethics may not issue Touhy regulations pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 301 because OGE is not an “executive department” within the meaning of section 301.

OGE may issue Touhy regulations, insofar as they concern the production of agency records, pursuant to 44 U.S.C. § 3102.

OGE may issue regulations concerning the appearance of agency employees as witnesses on official matters, pursuant to the implied authority of OGE’s organic statute, 5 U.S.C. app. § 401.

Applicability of the Antideficiency Act to a Violation of a Condition or Internal Cap Within an Appropriation

Any expenditure of funds in violation of a condition or internal cap in an appropriations act would generally constitute a violation of the Antideficiency Act.

General Services Administration Use of Government Funds for Advertising

Section 632 of the Treasury, Postal Service, Executive Office of the President, and General Government Appropriations Act of 2000, which prohibits the use of appropriated funds for “publicity or propaganda purposes,” does not prohibit the General Services Administration from using appropriated funds to support a reasonable and carefully-controlled advertising campaign that serves the goal of informing other federal agencies about the products and services it offers.

The principles set forth in some opinions of the Comptroller General addressing limitations on advertising by federal agencies beyond the “publicity or propaganda” rider would not prohibit the GSA’s advertisements to other agencies.

Investment of Federal Trust Funds for Cheyenne River and Lower Brule Sioux

Congress intended the term “interest” in title VI of the Water Resources Development Act of 1999 to have its usual and customary meaning: the coupon rate of the debt obligation.

The universe of “available obligations” under title VI of the Water Resources Development Act of 1999 includes obligations of government corporations and government-sponsored entities whose charter statutes provide that their obligations are lawful investments for federal trust funds.

The fiduciary duty owed pursuant to a federal trust fund is defined and limited by the terms of the statute creating the trust.

NOAA Corps Eligibility for Professional Liability Insurance Costs Reimbursement

Members of the NOAA Commissioned Corps may constitute qualified employees eligible for professional liability insurance cost reimbursement under a federal appropriations statute, if they otherwise satisfy the statutory definition for “law enforcement officer,” “supervisor,” or “management official.” 

“Communications” Under 18 U.S.C. § 207

A former high-ranking government official proposed establishing a consulting firm—as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation—in which he would be one of a very few employees, or perhaps even the sole employee.  If, as hypothesized, the consulting firm prepares a report on behalf of certain clients, which is submitted directly to his former agency by the consulting firm or, with the former official’s knowledge, by his client with the report bearing the consulting firm’s name, and it is expected by the former official that his identity as the author of the report may be commonly known throughout the industry and at his former agency, he would be making a communication prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 207(c).

Authority to Solicit Gifts

The express statutory authority to accept gifts, contained in section 403(b)(1) of the Office of Government Ethics Authorization Act of 1996, includes the implied authority to solicit gifts. 

Effect of the Alienage Restriction in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 on the Provision of Stafford Act Assistance in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands

Congress did not intend the alienage restriction set forth in title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 to apply extraterritorially. For this reason, the provision of Stafford Act assistance in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands by the Federal Emergency Management Agency would not violate the PRWORA.

Applicability of APA Notice and Comment Procedures to Revocation of Delegation of Authority

The Secretary of Commerce may revoke a delegation to the Director of the Census without submitting the revocation to the notice and comment procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act, notwithstanding the fact that the Secretary voluntarily elected to follow those procedures in issuing the delegation.

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