An Evaluation of how Federal Advisory Boards Operationalize Congressional Intent of Transparency, Financial Efficiency, and Balanced Membership
Brandell, James Francis
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The intention of this dissertation is to understand how federal advisory boards are operationalizing Congressional intent of transparency, financial efficiency and balanced board membership. When Congress passed the Federal Advisory Commission Act (FACA) in 1972, these three values were intended to help add legitimacy to the operation advisory boards. Advisory boards have been in use on the federal level since the first term of President George Washington, and they provide valuable expertise on a wide variety of subjects for the government. Currently, over 1,000 advisory boards are operating across the federal government with nearly 25,000 people participating. Collectively, annual operations of these boards approaches a half billion dollars. In the years leading up to the passage of FACA, Congressional hearings revealed deficiencies across federal departments with transparency of advisory board operations, spending practices, and appointment processes which threatened the legitimacy of their use. The FACA law was intended to bring legitimacy back to boards' operation by requiring more transparency, financial efficiency and balance in viewpoints on board appointments. With the law more than 40 years old, this dissertation explores how advisory boards today are operating is relation to the values Congress laid out in legislation. A quantitative exploration was conducted to assess the fidelity to the Congressional values by using publicly available data points. A sample of the 1,000 operating advisory boards was used to conduct the research. Using the results of the quantitative exploration, six case studies were selected for additional examination. Three cases were selected by a systematic method based on the quantitative data, and three additional cases were selected by the unique results from the data. A dozen policy changes were suggested as a result of the quantitative and qualitative examinations to better align present day operation of advisory boards with the Congressional intent. This study may be useful to policymakers who have oversight on advisory board operations.
- Doctoral Dissertations