A complex structure of offices, tasks, and rules in which employees have specific responsibilities and work within a hierarchy of authority. In government, they are charged with implementing policies.
The norms and regular patterns of behavior found within a bureaucratic organization. Different agencies often develop their own norms, which shape the behavior of those who work in the agency.
comittee and conference reports
Documents submitted by committees that often instruct agencies how Congress expects them to use their "discretion." Though not legally binding, bureaucrats ignore such instructions at their peril.
government accountability office
Office with a staff of more than five thousand that audits programs and agencies and reports to Congress on their performance.
hearings and investigations
Meetings in which bureaucrats are called before subcommittees to explain and defend their decisions, and outsiders are sometimes invited to criticize them. Most agencies must testify annually about their activities before the House Appropriations subcommittee that has jurisdiction over their budgets.
Individuals, with independent offices (outside the normal bureaucratic chain of command) in virtually every government agency, who audit agency books and investigate activities on Congress's behalf.
A stable, mutually beneficial political relationship among a congressional committee (or subcommittee), administrative agency, and organized interests concerned with a particular policy domain.
A loose, informal, and highly variable web of relationships among representatives of various interests who are involved in a particular area of public policy.
A procedure that allows one or both houses of Congress to reject an action taken by the president or an executive agency. In 1983 the Supreme Court declared these unconstitutional, but Congress continues to enact legislation incorporating the veto.
Method by which Congress keeps its bureaucratic agents in line, in this case, requiring executive agencies-even the president-to report on programs.
rotation in office
The practice of citizens serving in public office for a limited term and then returning to private life.
A system in which newly elected officeholders award government jobs to political supporters and members of the same political party.