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involved with respect" to our requests, the management office asked for a legal opinion from the office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice, as to which data we should receive. We have received no further response from the management office on the status of our requests.
Officials associated with the survey and many agency contacts that we interviewed have been reluctant to discuss anything specific about their efforts. We informed these officials and agency contacts that we only planned to collect the requested information and summarize it for you. Nevertheless, several officials felt that such a status report or "snapshot" may be unfair and prema
--the survey is constantly evolving,
--someone might criticize or misuse the information.
The question of whether certain information in the possession
of the management office should be generally available is, we believe, part of a larger issue about the Executive Committee's obligations under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and Department of Commerce administrative orders. The act and the orders levy several requirements on advisory committees in general. We are
looking further at the extent to which these requirements are met.
That completes my testimony, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy
to answer any questions based on the general material that we col
You have requested our opinion on whether the 35 task forces operating as part of the President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control in the Federal Government are "subcommittee(s) or other subgroup[s]" of the survey's Executive Committee within the application of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Executive Committee is recognized to be an advisory committee under the Act and, in accordance with the Act, it has been chartered as such by the Department of Commerce.
For the reasons stated hereafter, we conclude that the task forces are subcommittees or subgroups of the Executive Committee within the application of the Advisory Committee Act.
Section 3(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Pub. L. No. 92-463 (October 6, 1972), 86 Stat. 770, 5 U.S.C. App. I, provides in relevant part:
"The term 'advisory Committee' means any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group, or any subcommittee or other subgroup thereof (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as 'committee'), which is-
"(A) established by statute or reorganization plan, or
"(B) established or utilized by the President, or
(C) established or utilized by one or
in the interest of obtaining advice or
Neither the provisions of the Advisory Committee Act nor the congressional committee reports on the legislation enacted as the Act elaborate on the phrase "any subcommittee or other subgroup" of an advisory Committee. However, the words themselves suggest that an expansive application was intended. Also, the legislative history of the Act indicates that the basic definition of "advisory committee" was to be applied broadly:
"* * * it is well to establish the
The Commerce Department's Committee Management Handbook, which governs advisory Committees established by or assigned to the Department, likewise gives broad coverage to the concept of advisory Committee subcommittees or subgroups. Part II, chapter 1, section E of the Handbook "applies to any advisory committee subunit, whether it is to be identified as a subcommittee, task force, study team, panel, or subgroup, or by any other term, and whether it is temporary or permanent." This section of the Handbook further provides:
".03 Conditions of Utilization. Subcommittees can not be used to circumvent any of the objectives of the FACA (Federal
1 s. Rep. No. 92-1098, at 8 (1972); see also, National Nutritional Foods Association v. Califano, 603 F.2d 327, 334-36 (2d Cir. 1979).
2 Section 8(a) of the Advisory Committee Act requires each Federal agency to establish uniform administrative guidelines and management controls for its advisory Committees.
Advisory Committee Act). The Activities,
Against this background, it is necessary to consider the nature and functions of the 35 task forces and how they fit within the structure of the Survey.
The Executive Committee and other elements of the Survey.
Executive Order 12369, dated June 30, 1982, 47 Fed. Reg. 28899, established the Executive Committee of the President's Private Sector Survey as an advisory Committee in the Department of Commerce. Section 2 of the Executive Order sets forth the following functions for the Executive Committee:
"(a) The Committee shall conduct a private
"(b) The Committee shall conduct in-depth
3 See also Part 1, section G of the Handbook, which states:
"Subcommittees must be authorized and con-
"(c) In fulfilling its functions the com-
"(1) Opportunities for increased efficiency and reduced costs in the Federal Government that can be realized by Executive action or legislation;
"(2) Areas where managerial accountability can be enhanced and administrative control can be improved;
" (3) Opportunities for managerial improvements over both the short and long term;
"(4) Specific areas where further study can be justified by potential savings; and
"(5) Information and data relating to governmental expenditures, indebtedness, and personnel management."
Section 3(a) of the Executive Order provides:
"The heads of Executive agencies shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide to the Secretary of Commerce, the Committee and its staff units such information, including that relating to the structure, organization, personnel and operations of the Executive agencies, as may be required for carrying out the purposes of this Order."
The Commerce Department's charter for the Executive Committee pursuant to the Advisory Committee Act, dated July 7, 1982, repeats the functions of the Committee as specified in section 2 of the Executive Order. It also includes the same provision as section 3(a) of the Executive Order concerning the furnishing of information to the Committee and its staff units. In addition, section 4 of the charter includes the following administrative provisions:
· "(a) The Committee, or subcommittees