Your goal is to find out about the law that established your agency. The steps below use the example of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Step 1: Locate the name and year of the law that created your agency
Option A: Visit the agency's website. Look for a link to "about" or "history". Most agencies identify the law through which they were created by name. Some also include the U.S. Code citation.
Example: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5801)
Option B: You will find a profile of your agency in the United States Government Manual [as of Spring 2022 this resource was not being updated, but the law and US Code citation are usually still correct!].
Tip: some agencies are inside departments--check Wikipedia or agency website to figure out where to look for your agency.
Tip: the agency's profile in the US Government Manual also includes head of agency, agency type, and overview of agency function.
Step 2: Get from your law's Popular Name to its US Code, Stat, & PL citations, as well as bill number
Where to look:
Example: The legal citations for the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 are
U.S. Code citation: 42 U.S.C. 5801
Public law number: P.L. 93-438
Statutes at Large citation: 88 Stat. 1233
Enacted Bill 93 H.R. 11510
Law Enacted date: Oct. 11, 1974
Step 1: Look up your agency in the U.S. Code, then check the citations listed below the description/functions of your agency.
Option A: Browse in the Cornell LII U.S.Code https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text
Option B: Advanced Search in Govinfo.gov: https://www.govinfo.gov/#advanced (in "refine by collection", select US Code)
Step 2: Look up the citation you found in the U.S. Code via Proquest Congressional's Citation search (Click the "Legislative & executive publications" tab. In the dropdown menu, select "Search by number")
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