The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is an independent federal agency in the executive branch charged with identifying and promoting improvements in the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of the procedures by which federal agencies conduct regulatory programs, administer grants and benefits, protect the public interest, and perform other essential governmental functions.
ACUS has issued hundreds of recommendations since 1968 to improve the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of rulemaking, adjudication, and other administrative processes. Many have resulted in reforms by federal agencies, the President, Congress, and the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Recommendations are issued by the Assembly, whose members include a Chair appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate; ten presidential appointees who, together with the Chair, comprise the Council; 50 Government Members, who are senior federal officials designated by the heads of participating agencies; and 40 Public Members, who are academics, practitioners, and other private-sector experts appointed by the Chair and approved by the Council. Except for the Chair, all members are unpaid.
A full-time staff in the Office of the Chair supports the Assembly’s work and undertakes additional projects to study and improve federal administrative processes, including:
Research Studies. ACUS consultants and staff regularly prepare reports on a wide variety of topics related to administrative procedure.
Reference Guides. ACUS publishes reference guides, including sourcebooks and statements of principles, on a wide array of administrative procedure topics.
Forums. ACUS organizes forums that bring together high-level government officials, academics, practitioners, public policy advocates, and others to discuss important topics of administrative procedure.
Roundtables. ACUS convenes several bodies that meet periodically to discuss topics of interest to federal agencies.
Resources. ACUS provides several resources on an ongoing basis, including annual Equal Access to Justice Act reporting; monthly Information Interchange Bulletins, Updates in Federal Agency Adjudication, and Legislative Updates; Model Rules; and periodic Summaries of Recent Administrative Law Reform Bills.
Advice to Agencies and Congress. ACUS provides nonpartisan advice to executive-branch and congressional officials through formal and informal means, such as submitting comments on proposed rules, offering technical advice on statutes related to administrative procedure, and conducting trainings.
Under the Administrative Conference Act, the agency consists of up to 101 members who meet in regular plenary sessions to consider and vote to adopt recommendations to improve federal administrative processes. Members initially develop recommendations in committees, where they are joined by non-voting senior fellows, special counsels, and liaison representatives appointed under ACUS bylaws.
A presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed Chair serves as chief executive of the agency and oversees a full-time staff within the Office of the Chair. The Office of the Chair supports the work of the membership and undertakes other activities to study and improve federal administrative processes.
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ACUS consists of up to 101 members: a Chair, ten Council Members, 50 Government Members, and 40 Public Members. The members meeting in plenary session constitutes the Assembly, which has authority to adopt recommendations for improving administrative procedure and adopt bylaws and regulations to carry out ACUS functions. Plenary sessions ordinarily take place twice a year, in June and December. Except for the Chair, all members are unpaid.
The Chair is appointed for a five-year term by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Chair presides at Council meetings and plenary sessions and serves as the agency’s chief executive. The current Chair is Andrew Fois.
The Council consists of the Chair and ten other members appointed for three-year terms by the President. No more than one-half of Council members may be federal agency employees. Among other responsibilities, the Council determines the time, place, and agenda for plenary sessions.
The President may designate a member of the Council as Vice Chair. The Vice Chair serves as Chair during the absence or incapacity of the Chair, or when that office is vacant.
See here for a current list of Council members.
There are up to 50 Government Members designated by the heads of participating agencies. Participating agencies include each independent regulatory board or commission and each executive department or other administrative agency designated by the President.
See here for a current list of Government Members.
There are up to 40 Public Members appointed for a two-year term by the Chair with the approval of the Council. The Chair selects Public Members “in a manner which will provide broad representation of the views of private citizens and utilize diverse experience.” Public Members are “members of the practicing bar, scholars in the field of administrative law or government, or others specially informed by knowledge and experience with respect to federal administrative procedure.”
See here for a current list of Public Members.
ACUS bylaws permit the Chair, with the approval of the Council, to appoint senior fellows and special counsel and enter into liaison arrangements. Senior fellows, special counsel, and liaison representatives are generally afforded all the privileges of members, except that they may not vote or make motions during plenary sessions. Like members, all are unpaid.
Senior Fellows are appointed for a 2-year term by the Chair with the approval of the Council. Those eligible to become Senior Fellows are persons who have served as members of or liaisons to ACUS for six or more years, former members who have served as members of the federal judiciary, or former Chairs of the Conference. See here for a current list of Senior Fellows.
Special Counsel are appointed for a 2-year term by the Chair with the approval of the Council. Special Counsel advise and assist the members in areas of their special expertise. See here for a current list of Special Counsel.
The Chair may also, with the approval of the Council, enter into liaison arrangements with representatives of Congress, the judiciary, non-member federal agencies, and professional associations. See here for a current list of Liaison Representatives appointed under these arrangements.
Members participate in five standing committees for the consideration and development of proposed recommendations:
The Chair may also, with the approval of the Council, establish and assign projects to special ad hoc committees.
The Chair oversees a full-time staff within the Office of the Chair. The Office of the Chair supports the activities of the Assembly and undertakes many other activities to carry out the mission and functions of ACUS.
The agency’s leadership team is comprised of the following officials:
- Andrew Fois serves as the ACUS Chair.
- Harry M. Seidman serves as the ACUS Chief Financial and Operations Officer.
- Shawne C. McGibbon serves as the ACUS General Counsel.
- Jeremy S. Graboyes serves as the ACUS Research Director.
See here for a current list of all ACUS staff.
An organizational chart is available here.