AP Gov. Ch. 15 Vocab


a large, complex organization composed of appointed officials

government by proxy

Washington pays state and local governments and private groups to staff and administer federal programs


an economic theory that government should not regulate or interfere with commerce

discretionary authority

the extent to which appointed bureaucrats can choose courses of action and make policies not spelled out in advance by laws

competitive service

the government offices to which people are appointed on the basis of merit, as ascertained by a written exam or by applying certain selection criteria

name-request job

a job filled by a person whom an agency has already identified

iron triangle

a close relationship between an agency, a congressional committee, and an interest group

issue network

a network of people in Washington--based on interest groups, on congressional staffs, in universities and their tanks, and in the mass media, who regularly discuss and advocate public policies

authorization legislation

legislative permission to begin or continue a government program or agency


a legislative grant of money to finance a government program or agency

trust funds

funds for government programs collected and spent outside the regular government budget

committee clearance

the ability of a congressional committee to review and approve certain agency decisions in advance and without passing a law

legislative veto

the authority of Congress to block a presidential action after it has taken place. The Supreme Court has held that Congress does not have this power.

red tape

complex bureaucratic rules and procedures that must be followed to get something done