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Interest Groups, Advisory Committees, and Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy

Steven J. Balla and John R. Wright
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 45, No. 4 (Oct., 2001), pp. 799-812
DOI: 10.2307/2669325
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2669325
Page Count: 14
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Interest Groups, Advisory Committees, and Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy
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Abstract

We propose that Congress controls the flow and content of information to the bureaucracy by creating federal advisory committees with membership rights for general categories of interests. We use data on the appointment of members to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC), an advisory committee within the Environmental Protection Agency, to test whether the active interests in the legislative debate over drinking water are represented on the advisory committee, and thus in the EPA's policymaking process. Although agency officials are responsible for appointing the members of NDWAC, we find that public endorsements by interest groups are influential in the agency's selection process. These groups provide reliable information to Congress about applicants' true policy preferences.

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