Federal Agencies


Video Clip:  The Simpsons Movie

"The Fourth Branch of the Government"

"The rise of administrative bodies probably has been the most significant legal trend of the last century and perhaps more values today are affected by their decisions than by those of all the courts, review of administrative decisions apart....They have become a veritable fourth branch of the Government, which has deranged our three-branch legal theories as much as the concept of a fourth dimension unsettles our three-dimensional thinking."

FTC v. Ruberoid Co., 343 U.S. 470, 487, 72 S.Ct. 800, 810, 96 L.Ed. 1081 (1952)

Federal Agencies


  • 15 Cabinet Department agencies, plus other cabinet-rank heads of agencies
  • Many independent agencies, legislative branch agencies, government corporations, commissions, boards

U.S. Government Manual

  • Includes officials, history, purpose and activities, contact information
  • Tables include abbreviations and acronyms, terminated and transferred agencies, CFR title list

Congress delegates authority to regulate to Executive Branch agencies

Interpret and apply statutes

Create detailed rules or regulations

Provide procedures for implementation and enforcement

Example of Creation of a New Agency:  Department of Homeland Security

  • Most extensive reorganization of executive agencies since 1947
  • Department of Homeland Security Act of 2002
  • Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of Nov. 25, 2002
  • E.O. 13284, Jan. 23, 2003:  Secretary of Homeland Security

The newest agency:  Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection

  • July 21, 2011
  • Responsible for the enforcement of 18 federal consumer financial protection laws
  • Transfer of authority from other regulatory agencies
  • Created by Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
  • CFPB an independent bureau within the Federal Reserve System

Proposed reorganization of agencies related to doing business with the federal government

TI:GER Program video

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