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Oversight of the Administration

Congressional oversight by the United States Congress over the Executive Branch. Oversight includes review, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, and occurs in a wide variety of congressional activities and contexts, including authorization, appropriations, investigative, and legislative hearings

Oversight of the Administration

Power can corrupt, and that’s especially true when it comes to government power. A democratic republic like the United States should be one the last places to see corruption. That’s why there’s oversight of the administration.

In the United States, the government has a check and balance. A check and balance is the separation of power to prevent one part of the government from gaining too much power. It can also correct mistakes and prevent and report misbehavior among organizations.

So, how does oversight work in the US Administration, and how does it prevent corruption? This article is here to answer those questions and more.

Separation of Powers

In the past three decades, legislatures have enhanced their capacity to play a more active role in processing policies. They’ve been asserting independence from governors, assuming greater responsibility in policy making, and overseeing the executive branch’s operations.

This is called legislative oversight, and it has many forms. Legislative standing committees are commonly responsible for continuously reviewing the state agencies’ work in their subject areas. Legislatures can also create special committees or state agencies to test agency operation and performance.

Legislatures can review (and veto) rules and regulations executive agencies develop to put in place laws. This is a fundamental check and balance. The more significant states’ responsibility for government programs and services, the more critical legislative oversight has become. Legislative involvement, though, can cause tension with the executive branch.

Administrative Oversights

Accountability is crucial for the US government. Administrative oversight is supposed to encompass-

  • Effective and efficient use of resources
  • Excellent stewardship of public funds and property
  • Self-enforcement of legal and ethical rules
  • Strict standards of conduct

These oversights hold government officials responsible for their actions and behavior as well as their management of public resources. Administrative oversights are meant to prevent abuse, fraud, and waste. The judiciary office is responsible for overseeing allegations of these three things against an individual or corporation. Those with complaints should submit them to the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO).

AO Investigations

The AO’s job is to investigate allegations against AO staff and activities. The Judicial Conference authorizes the AO and provides investigative help at the officials’ requests.

Upon receiving a complaint, a review team’s AO investigator examines relevant records, interviews staff, and analyzes activities to determine compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and judicial policies. Appropriate Judiciary officials receive a report at the end of an investigation.

If there is loss from fraud, the AO refers to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution. Though the AO reviews all allegations, not all are due for complete investigations. Due to sensitivity reasons, the AO only provides status reports to the Judiciary Conference.

The AO will maintain confidentiality to the greatest extent, which protects the identity of whoever submits a complaint unless disclosure becomes unavoidable during an investigation.

What Is Outside the AO’s Authority?

Not everything falls under the AO’s authority. Some allegations that aren’t investigated are:

  • Allegations about state courts or agencies, local courts or agencies, or federal agencies in the executive or legislative branches
  • Specific processes for whatever complaint is made
  • Complaints disagreeing with management’s legitimate application of Judiciary policies or procedures

Sources:

https://www.ncsl.org/research/about-state-legislatures/separation-of-powers-legislative-oversight.aspx

https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/judicial-administration/administrative-oversight-and-accountability

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