general rule, no. The Federal government
must have specific statutory authority to retain fees from outside
sources. There is no Department-wide
authority to retain fees; however, individual bureaus may have authorities,
specific to them, which authorize them to collect and retain fees. For example, the International Trade
Administration and the Bureau of Industry and Security have the Mutual
Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1971 (MECEA). Contact the General Law Division for more
extent that we do charge an attendance fee without statutory authority, the fee
would be considered a user fee under 31 U.S.C. § 9701 and would have to be
deposited into the General Fund of the Treasury pursuant to the Miscellaneous
Receipts Act. 31 U.S.C. § 3302(b).
a contractor may charge a convenience
as part of a no-cost element of a contract for conference services. The convenience fee is not technically an
attendance fee, but rather an expense the attendee is voluntarily paying in
order to obtain services that the Department does not consider an integral part
of the conference. As such, the fees are
not received “for the Government” but rather collected by the contractor for
its own use.
Can we charge and retain exhibitor fees?
No. Exhibitor fees are the same as attendance
fees, see # 1, above.