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Executive Branch


  • pg 1

   Views about executives during the colonial era and by the Constitutional Founders.
   Changes in the presidency across time, Stewardship theory and who enunciated it
   The Cabinet, cabinet departments, cabinet leaders, and US cabinet versus multi-party
   Federal Regions, Field offices, how common are fields offices, where are most
       federal employees located?
   Inner versus outer cabinet and what distinguishes them
   Independent Agencies, boards, commission, government corporations
   Why and how are they independent? What is the common leadership structure of an
       independent regulatory agency?
   Progressive era / movement: goals and organizational impacts
   Agency capture, what is it and why?
   Political Appointees, what are they, what do they do, where do they come from, how
       long do they stay?
   Brownlow Commission: when was it and what did it do?
   Executive office of the President and such key units as the NSC, CEA, OMB
   Line versus staff, and how it applies to cabinet agencies and the EOP
   The White House office and key presidential aides (titles, not necessarily names)
   Role differences between cabinet secretaries and presidential staff
   The Presidential Complex: Residence, West Wing, Old EOB, East Wing, Blair
       House, Oval Office, Rose Garden
   Abbreviations EOP, EOB, WHO, NSC
   Proximity as a source of power: Presidential Staff versus Cabinet Secretaries
   Chief of State vs. Chief of Govt
   Executive privilege, Executive Order, Signing Statement

The “philosopher’s stone” of public administration
       Harold Seidman
Coordination necessary for both efficiency and effectiveness

                             Coordination is the Executive
Legislative Branch
   Makes policies
   Monitors execution for needed corrections
   BUT does not Implement policy
Judicial Branch
   Usually does not set general policy
   Not rules applying to broad categories of people
   Rather decides specific cases

                               Origins of the Presidency
Founders distrusted executives
Much more faith in legislatures
Royal governors, the experience of the colonies with executive power Appointees of the
Powers of appointment, military command, expenditure, and pardon as well as with large
      powers in connection with the powers of lawmaking”
Disdained and distrusted by colonists
After the American Revolution, state constitutions limited the powers of governors.

                               Declaration of Independence:
                         Wrongs of Britain, King, and Royal Governors
protected British soldiers “by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they
     should commit on the Inhabitants of these States

Suspended our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves (governors) invested with
     Power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

taken away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally
     the Forms of our Governments

erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our
      People, and eat out their substance.

                                  So, after independence:
Articles of Confederation had no chief executive
The constitutions of most states created very weak governorships
Problems with the Articles showed the need for a stronger national government,
      including an executive

                     George Washington and the American Presidency
Washington made the Presidency possible
Established many current practices
Insisted on being addressed as “Mr. President”
Voluntarily left office after two terms
Claimed executive had “inherent powers” to conduct foreign affairs

                     Growth Beyond Formal (Constitutional) Powers
Presidential power grows due to:
National and international crises
The Congress is a slow and deliberative body
The Executive can act quickly
America’s rise to a global power
The increased size of the federal government
The growing speed of transportation and communication
                Establishing the President’s Authority: The First Presidents
President Washington’s precedents
Established the primacy of the national government
Held regular meetings with his advisers (establishing the Cabinet system)
Asserted the prominence of the chief executive’s role in foreign affairs
Claimed inherent power of the presidency
Powers that can be derived or inferred from what is formally described in the

                Incremental Expansion of Presidential Powers: 1809-1933
Most presidents from Madison to Hoover failed to exercise the powers of the presidency
     in any significant manner
Andrew Jackson was the first president to act as strong national leader.
Made extensive use of veto power
Reasserted the supremacy of the national government (and the presidency) by facing
     down South Carolina’s nullification of a federal tariff law

                  Expansion of Presidential Powers: Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln argued that the inherent powers of his office allowed him to circumvent the
     constitution in a time of war or national crisis in order to make sure the laws of the
     U.S. were faithfully executed
Suspended the write of habeas corpus
Expanded the size of U.S. army above Congress’s mandates
Ordered a blockade of southern ports (initiating war without congressional approval)
Closed the U.S. mails to treasonable mailings

                              The Period of Weak Presidents
                                     (Exceptions in Bold)
James Polk
    Zachary Taylor
    Millard Fillmore Franklin Pierce
    James Buchanan
    Abraham Lincoln
    Andrew Johnson
    Ulysses Grant
    Rutherford Hayes
    William McKinley
    Theodore Roosevelt
     William Taft
    Woodrow Wilson
    Warren Harding
    Calvin Coolidge
    Herbert Hoover

                         The Narrow View of Presidential Power
William Howard Taft:
“The president can exercise no power which cannot be . . . traced to some specific grant
     of power . . . in the constitution.”

                         Teddy’s Roosevelt’s Stewardship Theory
“I decline to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the nation could not
      be done by the president unless he could find some specific authorization to do it.
      My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do anything that the
      needs of the nation demanded, unless such action was forbidden by the

                       The Growth of the Modern Presidency
The Great Depression
The rise of mass communication (radio)
World War II and America becoming a World Leader

                                The Modern Presidency
                           Public Expectations / Presidential Roles
Symbolic Presidency
Head of State AND Head of Government
Manager of Crises
Policy Leadership
Manager of the Economy
Leader of the Free World
And also
Party leader
Manager of the federal bureaucracy

                         THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
                          Implements and Manages Policy
Engages in Gulick’s PODSCORB

                           Executive Branch organization differs
From national to state to local
From state to state
From nation to nation

Presidential Appointment Authority and Senate Advise and Consent
   Line versus staff
Field Offices
    Government Corporations, Independent regulatory Commissions
    What is meant by independence and why created to be independent

                         Stages of Administrative Development
Most nations passed through four stages of administrative development:
1st stage: revenue collection, expenditures, debt management, maintenance of internal
      law and order, defense, foreign affairs
2nd stage: agriculture and trade, created catchall departments
                  Stages of Administrative Development (continued)
3rd stage: old functions received new departments, human welfare
4th stage: science and technology, energy, the environment, economic planning

                                 Cabinet Departments
State (1789)
Treasury (1789)
Defense (1947; formerly the War Department, created in 1789, and the Navy
      Department, created in 1798)
Justice (1789)
Interior (1849)
Agriculture (1889)
Commerce (1913)
Labor (1913)

                                  Similar at State Level
Basic State Agencies
Attorney General
State (official Records)
Later Agencies
Agriculture, transportation, health, environment

                               Coordination is a matter of
Organizational elements
How many, how structure
Executive Power / Authority
The ability to enforce coordination
Centrifugal and centripetal elements

                        National Executive Branch Components
                        (Similar at state and sometimes local levels)
Cabinet departments
Independent agencies
Field offices
Executive Office and White House Office

                                    Cabinet Department
Cabinet: from 16th century, when English king began meeting with closest advisers in a
      cabinet, or small room.
British tradition (also called the Westminster System)
the cabinet meets regularly
is collectively responsible for government policy
The prime minister and all cabinet members are also members of parliament
Role of the cabinet in multi-party systems

                                 Current Israeli Cabinet
Governing Coalition after 2009 Knesset election includes the following parties:
Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Labor Party, The Jewish Home, and United Torah

                                    The US Cabinet
US cabinet members owe their jobs solely to the president.
Manage major government functional areas (collections of programs)
work with the president one or one or in small groups, but NOT a collective decision
     making body

                                  Cabinet Departments
15 Cabinet Departments
Each headed by a Secretary
E.g., Secretary of Defense
Except for Justice headed by the Attorney General
Contain 90 percent of executive branch’s civilian employees and 80 percent of all
Defense has largest number of employees
Health and Human Services (HHS) spends the most money

                       Cabinet departments cover functional areas
Most contain multiple, often loosely related programs.
Contain bureaus, offices, division, agencies, services, institutes, and similar smaller
New programs are usually added to an existing department or agency

                                Inner and Outer Cabinets
Inner cabinet: comprising heads of State, Defense, Treasury, and Justice
Often most trusted advisers to president
Outer cabinet: includes all remaining departments
Oldest outer cabinet: Interior and Agriculture
Post-1950: HHS, Housing and Urban development (HUD), and Education
                                  Why “Independent”?
By definition: Not part of, and governed by, a large department.
   Government Corporations
   Minor and primarily symbolic
   Some insulation from partisan politics
     Politically Sensitive

                            Many Stem From Progressive Era
1880s to 1920s
Response to changing economic and social conditions as well as corruption and political
Consistent with Woodrow Wilson to remove politics from government.
Goal was good government
-- as defined by white middle class

                                   Progressive Movement
Break the control of political machines
Remove partisanship from government
Take decisions away from general government (state legislature, city councils)
And give to appointed boards
School board, library board, utility board,
Federal Reserve Board, etc.
Successful at national, state, and local levels

So, progressive era contributed a lot of independent boards and commissions
Many are still present due to tradition
Others because semi-independence is politically or organizationally useful

                                 Government Corporations
Usually engaged in lending, insurance, or similar “business type” activities
FDIC – insurance, nearly wholly funded by member bank fees
Post Office, part fees, part government subsidies
Corporation for Public Broadcasting – mostly federal funds to subsidize public radio and

                       Some are minor and largely symbolic:
Japan-US Friendship Commission
American Battle Monuments Commission

                                  Politically Sensitive
Too tempting to be under the control of a single political group
Federal Reserve
Social Security Administration
National Science Foundation
Harry Truman Scholarship Foundation
(But the groups still try)

                               Politically Sensitive AND
                                 Regulatory / Quasi-Judicial
Consumer Products Safety Commission
Environmental Protection Agency
National Transportation Safety Board
Securities and Exchange Commission

                           Independent Regulatory Agencies
Independent regulatory agencies are those that have quasi-judicial regulatory
They are generally headed by a several-member board or commission appointed by the
     president and confirmed by the Senate.
Most independent regulatory agencies were established by Congress in response to public
     pressure to protect workers and consumers from negligent or abusive business

                         Securities and Exchange commission

                                 Federal Reserve Board

                     Regulation, Political Power, and Agency Capture
To accomplish their mission, any organization needs resources
Budget, personnel, authority, etc.
Elected officials grant resources

                                    Agency Capture
Newly created agencies aggressively pursue mission (e.g., EPA)
When public’s demand for mission fades, who is left? Interest groups.
Many agencies find their most interested constituents to be members of the very
    community they are expected to regulate.

                                        The Bureau
The principal operating organization –
The building block of larger structures
   Not all use the name – may be called an office, agency, or something else
   Has a relatively focused task
   usually has an identifiable budget, unified personnel system, etc.
                         Department of State: Bureau Examples

                        Department of Justice: Bureau Examples

                                     Field Offices
Only 12% of federal civilian employees work in Washington D.C.
Most cities of 50K plus have some federal offices.
Lubbock Federal building houses:
   Federal District Court
   Housing and Urban Development
   Border Patrol
   General Services Administration

                                 Federal Agency Regions

                          PRESIDENCY: Responsible for:
Management of the executive branch

Article II, Section 3: he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed
Efficiency, effectiveness, smooth operation
Leadership – setting a policy agenda

Article II, Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the
      State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he
      shall judge necessary and expedient
(source of the state of the union address)
And more

                              Federal Executive Leadership
                                 The Presidential Institution
                                      The President
                                Presidential Appointees
                                    Presidential Staff

Article II, Section 2
“he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint
      Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court,
      and all other Officers of the United States.”

Presidents appoint about 3,000 federal officials
About 1,000 of those require senate approval
Federal agencies divided into political appointees and careerists

                                   Political Appointees
Estimated number of top-level agency appointees grew from less than 500 in 1960 to
     nearly 3,400 in the Bush administration
No other industrialized democracy gives its leader as much patronage power.
Versus Careerists
Versus British “Shadow Cabinet”

                            Sources of Presidential Appointees
1. Campaign Aides and long time friends
Most campaign aides hope for a job after election
2. Major Supporters from the private sector
McCain: Carly Fiorina former HP CEO
Reagan and Don Regan from Merrill Lynch
3. Party Base (key party figures)
Don Rumsfeld, Hillary Clinton
Ins and Outers

New president may enlist many new people with innovative ideas
appointees may not know their organizations very well
Average service length about 2 years
May push political agenda at the expense of agency mission or management
e.g., environmental issues

                                   Presidential Appointees:
                                         Centrifugal Forces
Appointees shares values with and owe allegiance to appointing president, BUT
Presidential service is limited to 2 or 4 years maximum
Most leave service after 2-4 years
Must serve agency clients despite president
A definition of doing a good job
Look to job after Washington

Presidents must constantly work to accomplish policy, managerial, and coordination
Even among own appointees
And also with thousands of careerists

                           THE WASHINGTON SETTING
                    Maps of Washington and location of Major Units

                               The Washington Setting
Most federal employees work outside of Washington DC
Even inside Washington, Departments and Agencies are scattered across miles
Simple geography can be a barrier to coordination

                              The Presidential Institution
Seeks to compensate with centripetal forces
The president as a person and the persuasive symbols of the office
The presidential staff

                                   Presidential Staff
Departments are Line Agencies
They carry out programs
Principal – Agent Problem
How do you know the line agencies are doing their jobs well?
Too many for president to monitor personally

                               “The President Needs Help.”
The Brownlow Commission, 1937
Charged by President Franklin Roosevelt to study the executive branch structure and
Led to creation of Presidential Staff
– The Executive Office of the President

                        The Executive Office of the President (EOP)
Contains multiple smaller units
Function is to give advice to the President
And / or help manage the other agencies of government.
Primarily a set of staff rather than line agencies
Most important members:
   National Security Council
   Council of Economic Advisors
   Office of Management and Budget
   Office of the Vice President
   U.S. Trade Representative
   The White House Office

 Presidential Complex: White House, East and West Wings, Executive Office Building.
Blair House

                   The Residence (White House) is for Formal Meetings

                                  The White House Office
Personal assistants to the president, including senior aides, their deputies, assistants with
      professional duties, and clerical and administrative aides
Chief of Staff
Size increased over time
Current White House has 435 staffers

                                    White House Office
Growth of White House Office
Franklin D. Roosevelt: 47
Harry Truman: 200
Nixon: 555
Ronald Reagan: 600
Currently: around 500

                                      The West Wing

                      Executive Branch Resources, Power, Concerns

                        Chief of State Versus Chief of Government
                                  Reorganization Power
                                    Executive Privilege
                                     Executive Orders
                                    Signing Statements
                         Presidential Power and Presidential Staff

                          Chief of State Vs. Chief of Government
Chief of State: symbolic head of state
Responsible for ceremonial functions
   Meeting Olympic athletes
   Giving awards
   Fourth of July celebrations
   Greeting foreign dignitaries
     (State dinners at the White House)

Chief of Government
Responsible for government operations and policies
Some countries separate the roles
King / Queen versus prime minister
France and Russia
Separate presidents and prime ministers
US President combines the roles

Presidents often seek reorganization for greater efficiency, effectiveness, and political
Congress creates agencies and programs by law
Funds and reauthorizes in each budget cycle
Congress requires that any restructuring of executive agencies be approved by a joint
      resolution of both houses.

                            Organization is not just efficiency
Organization is the mobilization of bias
Creating a system to focus on a need
Goal of Food Stamp Program?
   Feed the Hungry?
   Eliminate Food Surpluses driving down prices?
                                        Miles Law

Where you stand depends upon where you sit
Rufus Miles
Assistant Secretary (Careerist) in Department of HEW (Now HHS) Eisenhower through
     Johnson Administrations

From a director of the Office of Management and Budget (part of the EOP)
   Department Secretaries are secretaries in charge of spending.

                                    Executive Privilege
Presidential claim that they need to keep conversations and information confidential in
      order to get the best advice
Not allow close aides (White House Office or EOP) to testify before Congress

President Bush is not allowing Carl Rove to testify in front of Congress
Earlier denied access to Condoleezza Rice when she served as National Security Adviser
Records of meeting of VP Cheney with Energy executives to set energy policy.

            Has been used to cover up political embarrassments, even crimes
During Watergate, Nixon refused to turn over his tapes on the grounds of executive
The Supreme Court has ruled that executive privilege does not extend to any
     conversations or documents that may contain evidence of a crime.

                Clinton Impeachment and Executive Privilege Restrictions
Judge Starr – Independent Counsel selected by Republican Congress to investigate
Forced courts to remove executive privilege from
While House counsel
Secret Service Agents

                                     Executive Orders
Signed presidential orders directing actions or interpretations of law by federal
Have the same legal effect as a Congressional statute and are legally binding on executive
     branch agencies.
Do not require congressional approval but Congress may override or courts may later
     overturn them.
Most Executive Orders focus on details not in the statute
Not necessarily controversial
Some can have very important policy roles

                                   Signing Statement
Is a written comment issued by a President at the time of signing legislation
Legally identical to an executive order
Controversial if president claims right to ignore parts of law being signed
Used by many presidents but high controversy under President GW Bush
Boston Globe:
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted
      since he took office
                                    Presidential Power:
                                       Has it gone too far?
The Expansion of Power
Presidents may develop new roles for and expand power of the office.
Perspectives on Presidential Power
During the 1950’s and 1960’s people favored a powerful president.
By the 1970’s, presidential power was checked and distrusted by the public.

All presidents get frustrated by the slow action of Congress
They want to get things done
Every president is tempted to increase the power of the office
From time to time, the Congress pushes back
War Powers Act
Possible reduction in budget for Iraq War

                              Nixon on Presidential Power
David Frost: “you’re saying . . . There are certain situations where the president can
     decide to do something that is illegal?”

Richard Nixon: “Well, when the president does it that means it is not illegal.”

                          Cabinet Secretaries vs. Presidential Staff
Cabinet Secretaries (and deputy secretaries bureau chiefs, careerists)
Often have existing bases of political power
May be interested in future office
Hillary Clinton
Kathleen Sibelius at HHS
For future, satisfying party leaders and agency clients is important

                                     White House Staff
Presidential Staff are loyalists
Owe job to president
Ron Ziegler, Nixon Press Secretary
Staff often willing to do things Political Leaders and Careerists will not

John Dean, white House Counsel
H. R. “Bob” Haldeman, Nixon Chief of Staff
John Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs
Plumbers unit, office in basement of OLD EOB
                                     Reagan Administration
Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985
Senior US figures agreed to facilitate the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms
     embargo, to secure the release of hostages and to fund Nicaraguan rebels known as
     the Contras.

                                      Scooter Libby
Chief of Staff to VP Cheney
Libby convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury resulting from the grand jury
     investigation into the leak of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame’s
     name (classified information).
Many believe Libby fell on his sword to protect VP Cheney.

Growth of White House Staff is a Double-edged sword
Aids the president in coordination of the vast executive branch
Provides people whose loyalties are to the president only, and less constrained by
     politics, experience, or law.

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