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Tue Mar 27, 2018, 07:03 PM

Military to Build "The Wall?"

Trump has suggested using money appropriated to the Department of Defense to fund his wall on the southern border.

I have to admit that federal procurement law is not - and never has been - my area. Nevertheless, my memory from back in my Army JAG days is that money can only be used if it is the "right color of money," that is money appropriated for the specific purpose. Money is specifically appropriated for research and development, operations and maintenance, etc. and can only be spent for that purpose. As a general rule, money cannot be moved from the account of one "color of money" and be spent for another. My understanding is that spending the wrong "color of money," in addition to violating federal statute also violates the "appropriations clause" of the Constitution.

It seems clear to me that the appropriations to DoD were not intended to build Trump's wall. Based on my very shallow understanding of the rules, this cannot be done.

I am curious if any one with a clearer understanding of federal procurement law has an opinion on whether Trump can find a lawful way to use DoD appropriations to build his wall.

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Response to TomSlick (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 07:36 PM

1. I use to work with DOD funds

There is appropriated and non appropriated funds. Appropriated is tax dollars, non appropriated is MWR money earned from vending machines and such. That money was put back into moral events.

The appropriated funds, tax dollars, could only be spent on what it was given to you for. If you get money for office furniture you couldn't spend it on weapons and vice versa. But, money could be moved around with the right authorization up the chain of command. Furniture money could be turned into office supply money pretty easily but to turn it into bullets and rifles it would require several steps up the chain of command and a clear explanation of why you didn't accurately project your spending levels in your budget to begin with.

So, to spend money on a wall that probably was never budgeted for would be considered a new mission requirement and would require approval probably at the source level - congress.

They are now 5 months into the current fiscal year and a lot of the money has been spent. Trying to find enough money to fund the wall then to turn around to Congress and ask to redistribute the money to a wall is a tough row to hoe.

You get funds that your subordinate units didn't spend for all sorts of reasons, like price changes or reorganization or whatever. But if you can get $10,000 from 10 subrdinate commands, then you might be getting some money. And if you have 10 midlevel commands that can scrounge up $100,000 each now you are talking some real money. But it ruins everyone's budget and leads to padded budgets in the future.

Not sure that helped. Appropriated money can be moved but it ain't easy.

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Response to Farmer-Rick (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 07:40 PM

2. I thing we're saying the same thing.

I think this was an example of Trump Tweet-Diarrhea. Surely, WH counsel would advise this would be a bad idea. Yeah, I know, who am I calling Shirley?

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Response to TomSlick (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 07:45 PM

3. Does this mean the funds come from the money allocated to Military Spending

in the budget bill that was just passed is it going to come out of his bigly parade budget?

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Response to TomSlick (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 07:47 PM

4. They should be rebuilding our infrastructure.

Like they do in the places they destroy.

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Response to Ferrets are Cool (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 07:57 PM

7. I agree that would be a saner use of DoJ money than building "The Wall,"

but it would be equally illegal.

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Response to TomSlick (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 09:43 PM

10. Then do something similar to what was done durning the New Deal...

with living wages and paid for by raising taxes on the rich. It wont ever happen, but it should. Our infrastructure is crumbling underneath us and millions are unemployed.

The Civilian Conservation Corps employed 274,375 young men between the ages of 17 and 25 in 1,300 camps nationwide. By 1935 the number of camps and employed young men increased dramatically. Eventually, almost 3 million people served in the Corps. The men signed on for 6 months and were organized into crews that reforested land, undertook conservation projects in National Parks, and worked on trails and clearing growth in National Forests. They built bridges, repaired dams, built fire lookouts and fences, and did terracing to prevent erosion. They were paid $30 a month, but they had to send $25 to their folks in the cities, so the parents would have money to spend to stimulate the economy. The CCC was one of the most popular and most successful of the New Deal measures.

Of course, changes would need to be made, but DAYUM, aren't we smart enough to implement those changes and make this happen?

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Response to TomSlick (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 07:49 PM

5. Any Act By Congress to Support This Madness

 

Will be like a fully loaded nail gun, set to automatically seal every inch of a coffin top on the Republicans. The people are Not Stupid.

Procurement/Purchasing Laws Exist - !!!!! For A Reason!!!

And.... America Does Not Have A Position For Dictator.....

Trump seems to think Presiding as President of America is like him being a "two bit developer" in a few cities.... He functions like a man who thinks money has made him a God... when he has no idea, he's a peon in the world of Billionaires... among people who actually built something and actually contributes to the betterment of America. Nothing Trump owns contribute to the betterment of America, it is only contributory to the wealthy whom he is desperately consumed to try and impress.

He has no idea of the true meaning and responsibility of Wealth.

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Response to Civic Justice (Reply #5)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 07:56 PM

6. You are probably correct - I've given up on predicting what the voters will do.

My point is that Trump cannot legally use funds appropriated to DoJ to build his wall.

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Response to TomSlick (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 08:00 PM

8. Chris Hayes just played the clip, ANN COULTER on FOX w/Pirrero- Trump got the idea

 

Chris Hayes just played the clip, ANN COULTER on FOX w/Pirrero- Trump got the idea
to pay for the wall w/military funds. He's watching FOX to push that lunacy into government.
Our policy and government is being spitballed on FOX w/Ann Coulter.

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Response to poboy2 (Reply #8)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 08:07 PM

9. I saw that.

The amazing bit is that Ann Coulter has a law degree. She was asked the very reasonable legal question whether that would be a legal use of funds appropriated for DoJ and she simply blew it off.

A reasonable lawyer asked such a question would either say it would be illegal or "gee, good question, I need to do some research."

If a reasonable lawyer would do "A" or "B" but instead does "C," there is only one possible logical conclusion.

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