Copy and answer questions #10-12 and #19-21 on page 442 to review Chapter 15.
Ch. 15 – Gov’t at Work: Bureaucracy
Sec. 4 – Independent Agencies
1. What are the three types of independent agencies and their roles?
The independent executive agencies include most of the independent agencies. Some are large, with thousands of employees, multimillion-dollar or even billion-dollar budgets, and extremely important public tasks to perform. Most independent executive agencies operate far from the limelight. They have few employees, small budgets, and rarely attract any attention.
The independent regulatory commissions stand out among the independent agencies because they are largely beyond the reach of presidential direction and control. There are ten of these agencies today, each created to regulate, or police, important aspects of the nation’s economy.
Several of the independent agencies are government corporations. Like most of the other independent agencies, government corporations are within the executive branch and subject to the President’s direction and control. Unlike the other agencies, however, they were set up by Congress to carry out certain business-like activities.
2. List and explain the reasons why independent agencies exist.
Congress has given some agencies an independent status to protect them from the influence of both partisan and pressure politics.
Other federal agencies were born as independents largely by accident. No thought was given to the problems of administrative confusion when they were created.
Finally, some agencies are independent because of the peculiar and sensitive nature of their functions. This is especially true of the independent regulatory commissions.
3. What are the characteristics of independent executive agencies? Give an example of an independent executive agency and its primary functions.
Some are large, with thousands of employees, multimillion-dollar or even billion-dollar budgets, and extremely important public tasks to perform.
The GSA, NASA, and the EPA are, for example, three of the largest independent executive agencies. They are organized much like the Cabinet departments: they are headed by a single administrator with subunits operating on a regional basis, and so on. The most important difference between these independent executive agencies and the 15 executive departments is simply that they do not have Cabinet status.
Some of the agencies in this group are not administrative and policy giants. But they do important work and they sometimes attract public notice. The Civil Rights Commission, the Peace Corps, the Federal Election Commission, and the National Transportation Safety Board all fall into this category.
Most independent executive agencies operate far from the limelight. They have few employees, small budgets, and rarely attract any attention.
The EPA – Environmental Protection Agency conducts test to reveal the fuel efficiency of cars produced by various manufacturers
4. What are the features of the independent regulatory commissions that allow them to operate beyond the president’s influence?
Each is headed by a board or commission made up of five to seven members appointed by the President with Senate consent. However, those officials have terms of such length that it is unlikely a President will gain control over any of these agencies through the appointment process, at least not in a single presidential term.
In addition, No more than a bare majority of the members of each board or commission may belong to the same political party. Thus, several of those officers must belong to the party out of power.
5. What is the difference between a quasi-legislative body and a quasi-judicial body? Give a detailed example of each.
Congress has given quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial bodies certain legislative-like and judicial-like powers.
These agencies exercise their quasi-legislative powers when they make rules and regulations. Those rules and regulations have the force of law. They implement, spell out the details of, the laws that Congress has directed these regulatory bodies to enforce.
To illustrate the point: Congress has said that those who want to borrow money by issuing stocks, bonds, or other securities must provide a “full and fair disclosure” of all pertinent information to prospective investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) makes that requirement effective and indicates how those who offer securities are to meet it by issuing rules and regulations.
The regulatory commissions exercise their quasi-judicial powers when they decide disputes in those fields in which Congress has given them policing authority.
For example, if an investor in Iowa thinks a local stockbroker has defrauded (cheated) him, he may file a complaint with the SEC’s regional office in Chicago. SEC agents will investigate and report their findings, and the agency will judge the merits of the complaint much as a court would do. Decisions made by the SEC, and by the other independent regulatory bodies, can be appealed to the United States courts of appeals.
6. What are some of the issues that have raised serious concerns about independent regulatory commissions?
The issues that have raised some concerns are…
Have some of the independent regulatory commissions been captured by the special interests they are expected to regulate? Are all of the many and detailed rules created by these agencies really needed? Do some of these rules have the effect of stifling legitimate competition in the free enterprise system? Do some of them add unreasonably to the costs of doing business and therefore to the prices that consumers must pay?
7. What are the similarities and differences between a government corporation and a private corporation?
The typical government corporation is set up much like a corporation in the private sector. It is run by a board of directors, with a general manager who directs the corporation’s operations according to the policies established by that board. Most government corporations produce income that is plowed back into the business.
These public agencies are financed by public funds appropriated by Congress, not private investors. The Federal Government, representing the American people, owns the stock.
Complete 2 pages of Cornell notes for Chapter 14-1 from page 359-363.