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a set of complex hierarchal departments, agencies, commissions, and their staffs that exist to help a chief executive officer carry out his/her duties; may be private organizations or governmental units.

spoils system

the firing of public office holders of a defeated political party in order to replace them with loyalists of the newly elected party.


jobs, grants, or other special favors that are given as rewards to friends and political allies for their support.

Pendleton Act

reform measure that created the Civil Service Commissions to administer a partial merit system; made it illegal for federal political appointees to be required to contribute to a particular political party.

civil service system

legal system by which many federal bureaucrats are selected.

merit system

system by which federal civil service jobs are classified into grades or levels and appointments into grades on the basis of performance on competitive examinations.

independent regulatory commission

an agency created by Congress that is generally concerned with a specific aspect of the economy.

Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)

independent regulatory commission created by congress to be independent of direct presidential authority; marked shift in focus of bureaucracy from service to regulation; gave gov. vast powers over individual and property rights; first regulatory commission.

cabinet departments

major administrative unit with responsibility for a broad area of government operations; status usually indicates a permanent nation interest in a particular governmental function, such as defense, commerce, or agriculture; handle broad, lasting issues.

government corporations

businesses established by congress to perform functions that can be provided by private businesses; act like businesses.

Amtrak and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

examples of government corporations.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

GOVERNMENT CORPORATION that provides electricity at reduced rates to millions of Americans in Appalachia, generally a low-income area that had failed to attract private utility companies to provide service there.

independent executive agencies

governmental units that closely resemble a cabinet department but have narrower areas of responsibility (such as the Central Intelligence Agency) and are not part of any cabinet department; handle services.

Hatch Act

1939 act to prohibit civil servants from taking activists roles in partisan campaigns; act also prohibited federal employees from making political contributions, working for a particular party, or campaigning for a particular candidate.

Federal Employee Political Activities Act

1993 liberalization of the Hatch Act; federal employees are now allowed to run for office in nonpartisan elections and to contribute money to campaigns in partisan elections.


process by which a law or policy is put into operation by the bureaucracy.

iron triangles

relatively stable relationships and patterns of interaction that occur among agencies, interest groups, and congressional committees or subcommittees.

issue networks

loose and informal relationships that exist among a large number of actors who work in broad policy areas.

interagency councils

working groups created to facilitate coordination of policy making and implementation across a host of governmental agencies.

administration discretion

the ability of bureaucrats to make choices concerning the best way to implement congressional intentions.

Federal Register

the first requirement of the Administrative Procedures Act (1946) saying that public notice of the time, place, and nature of the rule-making proceedings be provided in this.

administrative adjudication

a quasi-judicial process in which a bureaucratic agency settles disputes between two parties in a manner similar to the way courts resolve disputes.

administrative laws

laws created by Congress to control how agencies operate.

Federal Reserve Board

an independent regulatory commission that controls money supply policies.

Security Exchange Commission

an independent regulatory commission that deals with stocks and bonds/trades and investments.


rules that govern the operation of a particular government program that have the force of law.

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