Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1955 No. 36 - Mar 7 1955
Attorney General Don Eastvold


Administrative Contingency Fund moneys may be used for purposes not chargeable against funds obtained from Federal sources.

                                                                  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                   March 7, 1955

Honorable Peter R. Giovine
Acting Commissioner
Employment Security Department
P.O. Box 367
Old Capitol Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 36

 Dear Sir:

             You have requested the opinion of this office on the following question:

             "May the administration contingency fund be used for purposes which the Bureau of Employment Security has ruled not in accordance with the standards set for use of Title III funds, provided such purposes are properly related to the administration of the Employment Security Act of the State of Washington?"

             In our opinion the answer is "Yes".


             Federal grants to states for unemployment compensation payments and administration are authorized by subchapter III of Title 42, U.S.C.A., referred to as Title III.

             RCW 50.16.010 (1953 Supp.) establishes an administrative contingency fund, and insofar as relevant here authorizes expenditures therefrom for

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "(a) The proper administration of this title * * * [if] no federal funds are available for the specific purpose to which such expenditure is to be made, provided, the moneys are not substituted for appropriations from federal funds which, in the absence of such moneys, would be made available."

             Your question permits us to assume a contemplated expense for proper administrative purposes under RCW Title 50.

             The federal authorities have some discretion in fixing standards for administration of the unemployment compensation program by the states with federal funds; and thereby indirectly to determine how much federal money will be available to each state for administration.  Title 42, U.S.C.A. §§ 502, 503;Starling Realty Corp. v. State, 174 Misc. 375, 20 N.Y.S. (2d) 878, aff'd, 261 App. Div. 363, 26 N.Y.S. (2d) 47, aff'd, 286 N.Y. 272, 36 N.E. (2d) 201.  Apparently federal funds have been withheld on that basis, for administrative purposes which are nonetheless proper under the state law.

             The fact that the contingency fund may be used for those purposes in the absence of federal funds is therefore not the reason for the unavailability of such funds.

             We conclude that the conditions precedent to the expenditure of the administrative contingency fund under RCW 50.16.010 (a) (1953 Supp.) have been met; and that an expense therefrom for the purposes described in your question would be proper.

             We hope the foregoing analysis will prove helpful to you.

 Very truly yours,
Attorney General 

Assistant Attorney General