IRS Employee's Claim for State Bar Association Fee

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-03-02.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                  COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES
                                             WASHIN3TON. D.C. 20540

k '         7B-1667
                                                                             .MAR        19 1

        ' ir. F. C. Fenton
        Autborized Certifying Officer
W       Isr1oUna1 Revenue Service
        V. S. Treasury Department
             yo           treet
        San ?ulc          iictClfloia 94102

        Desar . Fenton:
             'We refer to your letter of December 23, 1970 (your reference AdFFV),
        vith an enclosed voucher for $50 in favor of Mr. Robert Y. Solwan,
      - covering an expense incurred by his incident to maintaining his status as
        s attmnay in good standing of the State Ba? of California. You request
        aadvance decision as to the prpriety of certifying the voucher for

                 $a pertinent facts are stated in your letter as follows:

                 | 1.   IRobert M. Solom n, Estate Tax Attorney, is a menber of
                        the State Bar of California, as required by law. The
                        State Bar imposes an annual fee for membership on all
                       of its members. lMr. Solomon was admitted in January,
                    .' 19    a his fee for the-year 1970 in $50.00.

                 8r2*   As explained in Mr. Solomon's meorandum dated Novem-
                        ber 5, 1970 (Enclosure 3)L an Estate Tax Attorney
                        (08-905-13) is required to be a member in good standing
                        of the bar of one of the states or the District of
            s>          Columbia. If that enmloyee. la not a member in good
                        standing of a state bar, he vil3 be separated from his

             *3         lThe State of California requires that each member
                        pay the annual membership fee or be dropped from the
                        rolls of attorneys in the state. This would result in
        .               Mr. Solomon beinj separated from his employment with
                        the Internal Revenue Service."

           CAUklification requirements for various positions in the Federal
         Z   ae established pursuant to the authority provided in 5 U.S.C.
       - lnd 5112. 2zder_.this basic authority it has been determined that


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*,B 173667

       ' q6ualify as estate tax attorneys persons must be unmbers in good
      *tandiflg5 of the bar of one of tbe States or of the District of Columbia.
            Oere is no requirement or preference as to which State bar the employee
      selects for admission. W. Solomon chose to seek admission to the
      CalifornIa bar, which is an integrated bar jurisdiction. AU practicing                             __
      attorneg-ln--thst-State-are-required-to-be-members of the State bar and
      nr subject to the rules of the bar including a provisioa for the payment
      o an awnnal fee to administer the purposes of *che integrated bar. See
      7, A. Jur. 2d, Attorneys att Lw 7. As a member of such bar Wr. Solomon
      Mgt pay annual dues to remain in an "activ&e  status. Insofar as his
      e:ployment with the Internal Revenue Service is concerned he Mt main-
      tain mebership before this bar, or the bar of any other State or the
       iDstrict of Columbia, and to lose that status would result in dis-
      qulification for his Government employment as an estate tax attorney.

               W. Solom's   original request was      nistratively deni             the
     baues of our decisions 22 Co!. Cen. M6O19T2) and 47 id. 31                1967).
          arguos that his situation is distin      sablfrc
                                                         thoe decisions for
      thb reason tbat he is required to pay dues annually.In both decisions
    'w considered a Government attorney's entitlement to reimburseawnt for
  : nominal fees necessarily expended to represent his particular agency
* before a United States Court of Appeals, and it was held "that admission
 g to practice before a Federal court was a matter of personal qualification
    for the attorney concerned," end that the relevant appropriations "were
 , not available to reimburse attorneys for a nominal fee required by the
  i court as a condition of admisslon to practice." Although a one-time fee
    Was there involved, the principle that an expense of qualification is
    personal Is the same.

           In addltion to the foregoing It has been repeatedly held that where
     w ftedera eVpoMee must secure permits or licenses to perform the duties
     Of his position it in a matter of person    qualification and the fees
     inwident to procuring same 'would be an xpense necessary to quality
      hbW7 for the duties required of            reimbursement therefor wouldK
     40t be authorized." 3 Camp. Gen. 663, 665 (1924). Se        o 6 id. 432
 .   (1926)     And 31 id. 8l51);
                ~                    compare wt     46 id.            7      Th*
                                                                               e expense
     iCurred by W. Solodn is an expense of per         nl     qulification    and as
     Such not reimbursable.

              ¶here is also for consideration 5 U.S.C. 5946which provides in part

                  *"!xcept as authorized by a specific appropriation,      LorJ
 * - by Cxpress terms in a general appropriation             ***     appropriated
     f'Ads may not be used for payment of-

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                 J 173j6 6 7
                                                                          F. ,. S            .-       .   '.

                                    "(1) membership fees or dues of an employee
                               * * * in a society or association * * *'

                                                                    does not reveal lan-
                 An examination of the relevant appropriation acts            funds for the
                                                             of appropriated
                 guage that would authorize the expenditure                     we conclude
                 -px   aosecontexplated by M Solomon's voucher. Accordingly#
                 thatthe conditions prescribed in 5 U.S.C. 594&arelt-atisfied.
                                                                                 a reinubs-
                      For the foregoing reasons the voucher does not represent
                                                                  for paymnt. As requested
                 able expense and therefore may not. be certifiedis returned.
                 the original voucher with supporting documents
                                                        -- '    Sincerely youX8,,

                                          -   -   e*   .' *lU                        ELL-

                                                                Coxtroler General
                                                                of the United States


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