Leadership, Mission, Structure/Org Chart
Try the agency/department/commission website, or go straight to the U.S. Government Manual for a concise profile.
United States Government Manual
Brief profiles of every federal government agency, department, commission, etc. Includes leadership & a brief description. Some entries include org charts, missions statements, agency history, and more.
Core Statutory Law
- Use the US Government Manual to locate the popular name and U.S. Code citation of the law that created your agency (link with tutorial provided above). Example U.S. Code citation: 42 U.S.C. 5801.
- Locate the law in the United States Code. In the above example, start at Title 42 of the U.S. Code, then navigate to section 5801.
Agencies' rules and regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The easiest way to find your agency's rules is in the electronic CFR or eCFR using these instructions:
Click on "Agency List" in the left margin. The Agency List tells you where each agency's rules & regulations appear in the CFR.
You have to find two kinds of hearings: appointment confirmation hearings and recent hearings (at the beginning of a new administration, those will often be the same thing!). Follow these instructions to locate hearings involving your agency, then narrow the search results by date or topic. You can also search for news coverage of hearings involving your agency.
1. Do a keyword search for your agency. Add other keywords (like confirmation or the name of the nominee) to narrow the results.
2. Use the options in the left margin to limit your results to hearings
3. Use the options in the left margin to choose a date range for your results
Departmental Budget Appropriations or Authority
The appendix to the Budget of the United States (The President's Budget) includes:
- the actual appropriation for one preceding fiscal year
- the estimated appropriation for the current fiscal year, and
- the estimated [requested] appropriation for the next fiscal year
THEREFORE: you can get to five years' appropriations figures by looking at five years of the Budget, and pulling the actual appropriation for your agency in each of these years (see handout).
Note: You may find conflicting numbers in agency Green Books, or other documents produced by the agency. You are not required to report on these, but you may do so if you choose.
News & Think Tank Perspectives
You'll find a lot on Google. These resources can also be helpful.
Policy File Index
Access domestic and foreign public policy research and analytical papers on governmental and legal topics, representing the work of think tanks, research groups, and academic institutes from 1990 to present. View a tutorial on this database here
Search for news articles about your agency
1. Try a keyword search for your agency, individual leaders' names, or other topics (e.g. nomination).
2. Use the left margin options to limit your search to newspapers