Federal Advisory Committee Act
Updated: May 19, 2011
Guidance for Federal advisory committee members and Forest Service staff
In 2008 the Forest Service provided initial advice and training to field personnel in anticipation of forming local resource advisory committees. The slide presentation used in the training is available here: Federal Advisory Committee Act training, December 11, 2008
Designated Federal Officers are responsible for informing advisory committee members of applicable Federal ethics laws, rules and guidelines. Federal advisory committees may have three categories of membership: regular government employees (RGEs), special government employees (SGEs) and representative members. Secure Rural Schools Act resource advisory committee members are all appointed to be "representative" of the interests prescribed in the Act. The ethics rules affecting regular government employees and special government employees are different from those for representative members of a committee. The following information has been developed in coordination with the Department of Agriculture Office of Ethics to provide an overview of ethics rules applicable to representative members of federal advisory committees: Federal Advisory Committees and the Ethics Rules, May 19, 2011.
Public Access to Federal Advisory Committee Information
In an April 14, 2011 news release (GSA #10787) the General Services Administration (GSA) announced a new website, www.gsa.gov/efaca, making 10 years of federal advisory committee information easily accessible to the public.
Federal advisory committees are committees, boards, commissions, or similar groups established by statute, the president, or agency officials to formulate advice or recommendations on issues or policies within the scope of an agency’s responsibilities.
The eFACA website makes information from the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) database easier to find, understand, and use. It offers the public visibility into the work that shapes programs and policies of the federal government.
Using pull down menus and the responses to a number of preset queries, the public is able to view information on advisory committee costs, meetings, membership, contact information, and links to the websites of many of the individual federal advisory committees.
As part of its statutory authority under the Federal Advisory Committee Act GSA reviews information on federal advisory committees from executive branch departments and agencies.
In addition to the information provided on the new website, GSA provides data on executive branch federal advisory committees through:
The Shared Management System or FACA Database– The public can view the full GSA data set of advisory committee information from 1995 to the present on www.gsa.gov/facadatabase. GSA is currently working to expand the availability of data on federal advisory committees for years prior to 1995, and plans to post that information to the Shared Management System as it becomes available.
Data.gov– In efforts to expand public access to data on federal advisory committees, GSA made 12 years of data sets available onwww.data.gov (1997 through 2008). Earlier data will be added as made available, as will newer data from fiscal year 2009 and FY 2010.
Library of Congress– The Library of Congress and GSA have collaborated since 2008 to make tens of thousands of historic advisory committee documents available online. This has resulted in the materials uploaded to a Library of Congress website and linked to GSA’s current online and public-facing Shared Management System.
Individual Executive Departments and Agencies– Agencies provide data on their federal advisory committee management and operation through their own federal advisory committee websites. GSA’s new website, www.gsa.gov/efaca, provides links to many of these sites.