Administrative agencies that are set up to safeguard different areas of public interest, such as, securities market, environment, commercial aviation, foreign trade and so on, are eventually accountable to the electorate or the people. These regulatory agencies also enjoy law making, enforcing and ad judicatory powers over their respective demarcated spheres. While federal agencies are empowered by the congress through the concerned federal legislation, the corresponding state law of the state legislature activates state regulatory agencies.
The congress and state legislatures delegate such powers to these regulatory agencies, which are in turn accountable and liable to elected officials in the Executive and Legislative organs of the Government for their actions. The action of the administrative agencies also comes under judicial review by the courts. Thus a network of checks and balances on these regulatory agencies is in place.
The congress and the President provide budgetary support and operating authority to the federal administrative agencies. Similarly the state legislatures or its elected officials arrange for funding the state regulatory agencies. Such support would stand reduced if the performance of the agency in question were not up to the mark.
In extreme cases the legislature can use the ‘sunset’ provision or law to close down a non-performing agency.
The Appointment Clause of the Constitution empowers the President to generally appoint all officers of the United States with the approval and consent of the Senate. By virtue of this provision the President appoints agency heads that subscribe to his political agenda.
Under the Executive Reorganization Act of the United States Code, the President can transfer functions from one department to another.
In some jurisdictions or states offices of public investigators or ‘ombudsman’ have been set up to investigate into complaints and grievances against these regulatory bodies. (More