regarding injury to the interests of the public. Sierra Club, supra ; Scanwell Laboratories, Inc. v. Shaffer, 137 U.S. App. D.C. 371, 424 F.2d 859 (D.C. Cir. 1970); S.C.R.A.P., et al. v. United States, et al., 346 F. Supp. 189 (D.C.C. 1972). Therefore, defendants' motion to dismiss based on the ground of standing is denied.
Plaintiffs allege federal question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1331 (1970). Defendants challenge this jurisdiction maintaining that neither a federal question nor the jurisdictional amount ($10,000) is present.
A. Federal Question
Defendant I.C.E.S.A. argues that as to it, this case does not arise under federal law because Section 1913 only applies to federal employees. The principle seems well established that a district court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Section 1331 (1970), where plaintiffs' claims will be sustained if a statute of the United States is given one construction, and the claim defeated if it is given another construction. Wheeldin v. Wheeler, 373 U.S. 647, 649, 83 S. Ct. 1441, 10 L. Ed. 2d 605 (1963); Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 685, 66 S. Ct. 773, 90 L. Ed. 939 (1946). The only exception to this rule is the instance where the claims alleged under federal law are frivolous or immaterial, asserted solely for the purpose of gaining jurisdiction. Id.
In the present case plaintiffs assert that Section 1913 prohibits the use of any Congressionally-appropriated money to influence the legislative policies of Members of Congress. Although the law's penal sanctions are limited to federal employees, the reasonably inferred intent of the statute as well as the language of the provision itself are persuasive that the acts declared are not so limited to federal employees. Plaintiffs' claims can only be resolved by construction and enforcement of Section 1913. Moreover, the fact that defendant I.C.E.S.A. construes Section 1913 to limit a cause of action to federal employees while an opposite construction, which is just as reasonable, would place I.C.E.S.A. within plaintiffs' grasp, argues that the Wheeldin-Bell rule has been complied with -- i.e., the plaintiffs' claim rises or falls depending on the construction of the statute. Thus, suits brought to enforce federal statutory rights do "arise under" federal law for purposes of federal question jurisdiction even though the federal statute at issue may not explicitly provide a private right of action. See Common Cause v. Democratic National Committee, supra. Therefore, federal question jurisdiction lies.
B. Jurisdictional Amount
Defendant I.C.E.S.A. argues that plaintiffs lack federal jurisdiction since they cannot aggregate discrete claims to reach the $10,000 minimum under Pinel v. Pinel, 240 U.S. 594, 36 S. Ct. 416, 60 L. Ed. 817 (1916), and its progeny. However, these cases seem irrelevant to the present suit because plaintiffs are not seeking to aggregate separate claims for monetary damages but instead are challenging the use of a single fund of $200,000 which plaintiffs allege is used by I.C.E.S.A. for illegal purposes. In 1971 the United States Court of Appeals stated that in suits for declaratory and injunctive relief "the amount in controversy may be measured by either 'the value of the right sought to be gained by the plaintiff . . . [or] the cost [of enforcing that right] to the defendant'". Tatum v. Laird, 144 U.S. App. D.C. 72, 76, 444 F.2d 947, 951 (D.C. Cir. 1971), rev'd on other grounds, 408 U.S. 1, 92 S. Ct. 2318, 33 L. Ed. 2d 154 (1972), quoting from Blackmun, J., in Hedberg v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 350 F.2d 924 (8th Cir. 1963). Even more recently in Common Cause v. Democratic National Committee, the court recognized that in suits for equitable relief, the underlying economic basis for the complaint rather than monetary gain to the plaintiffs is the measure of the jurisdictional amount under 28 U.S.C. Section 1331(a). Supra, 333 F. Supp. at 807. Since the underlying economic basis of the complaint is allegedly $200,000, and since the enjoining of the use of these funds, as plaintiffs ask, would cost the defendants in excess of $10,000, it would appear at this juncture that plaintiffs' pleadings have satisfied the jurisdictional amount requirement of Section 1331. Therefore, defendants' motion for dismissal on grounds of lack of jurisdiction is denied.
Standing in the face of defendant I.C.E.S.A.'s contention that venue in this court is improper is the relevant venue statute, 28 U.S.C. Section 1391(b) (1970). This provision locates venue in the judicial district (1) "where all the defendants reside" or (2) "in which the claim arose". In Denver and Rio Grande R.R. Co. v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, 387 U.S. 556, 87 S. Ct. 1746, 18 L. Ed. 2d 954 (1967), the Supreme Court stated that the phrase "in which the claim arose" applies to unincorporated associations sued in their common names. It seems clear that plaintiffs' claim against I.C.E.S.A. arises in the District of Columbia. The operative facts that give rise to plaintiffs' claim against I.C.E.S.A. are that funds appropriated by Congress are allegedly being used to influence members of Congress regarding their position on manpower legislation contrary to a federal statute. Furthermore, the I.C.E.S.A. maintains its office and staff in the District of Columbia at the Manpower Administration of the Department of Labor (Longfellow Building, Room 1104), where plaintiffs allege a substantial part of the work of that office is to coordinate and support the I.C.E.S.A.'s lobbying activities. In addition, Congress meets, considers, passes legislation, and appropriates funds in the District of Columbia. In short, although only one is needed, both of the Section 1391(b) venue bases are satisfied in that the defendant resides in the District of Columbia and the claim arose in the District of Columbia. Therefore, defendant I.C.E.S.A.'s claim of improper venue has no merit.
VI. O ther Grounds
Defendant I.C.E.S.A. asserts that the complaint is not justiciable. However, in Common Cause, supra, Judge Parker held that in a civil action brought for a violation of a federal statute which provides, on its face, only criminal remedies, ". . . there can be no doubt that 'the duty asserted can be judicially identified and its breach judicially determined . . .,' as easily as in a criminal action." Id. 333 F. Supp. at 814, quoting from Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 198, 82 S. Ct. 691, 7 L. Ed. 2d 663 (1962). See discussion in section "II", supra.
Defendant I.C.E.S.A. also maintains that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because the I.C.E.S.A. has no power to control its members. It would seem that the issue of whether I.C.E.S.A. can, in fact, control the activities of its members is premature, a factual question properly to be determined at discovery and trial. Moreover, the relief sought by plaintiffs does not require action on the part of I.C.E.S.A. members. Rather plaintiffs ask for a bar to the future use of Congressional funds for the support of lobbying activities, a bar which seems to be wholly within the power of the court to assert through declaratory and injunctive relief.
Again, the court emphasizes that it makes no judgment concerning the merits of plaintiffs' claims. However, for the reasons noted above, the motion to dismiss filed by defendants I.C.E.S.A. and DOL be and hereby is denied.