What is a Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) committee?


A FACA committee is any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group established to provide advice or recommendations to the President or one or more agencies or officers of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. These committees may be established by statute or reorganization plan or by the President or one or more agencies. With limited exceptions, advisory committees that Federal agencies establish or “utilize” and that have at least one member who is not a Federal employee must comply with FACA. “Utilize” does not have its ordinary meaning when talking about FACA. The Federal Government may utilize a group they did not establish, which means the President or a Federal agency exerts actual management or control over the group. 

What groups are not FACA committees?  

FACA excludes:

* Any committee that is composed wholly of full-time officers or employees of the Federal Government
* Any local civic group whose primary function is that of rendering a public service with respect to a Federal program
* Any State or local committee, council, board, commission or similar group established to advise or make recommendations to State or local officials or agencies.

FACA does not apply to actions in support of intergovernmental communications where meetings are held:

* Exclusively between Federal officials and selected officers of State, local, and tribal governments (or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf) acting in their official capacities, and
* Solely for the purposes of exchanging views, information, or advice relating to the management or implementation of Federal programs established by public law that explicitly or inherently share intergovernmental responsibilities or administration.


For more information about whether or not a group is a FACA, read 107 FW 1, Management of Advisory Committees or contact the Service’s Group Federal Officer.


Who approves the establishment of advisory committees and appoints members?

Except as provided by statute, regulation, or other Department of the Interior directive, the Secretary of the Interior reserves the authority to establish, utilize, renew, or terminate advisory committee and appoint members.


What is required before an advisory committee can meet?

No advisory committee may meet or take any action until a charter has been filed with the standing committees of the Senate and House of Representatives that have legislative jurisdiction over the Department of the Interior; the Library of Congress; and the Committee Secretariat, General Services Administration. (See 107 FW 2 for more information on what a charter must contain and how often the Service must renew them.)

Is it necessary to keep meeting minutes?

Yes. The Designated Federal Officer must keep detailed minutes of each advisory committee meeting. Minutes must include the time, date, and place of the meeting; list of members, staff, agency employees, and members of the public who were present; an accurate description of each matter discussed and the resolution; and copies of each report or other document received, issued, or approved by the committee. (See 107 FW 5 for more information.)


Do advisory committee meetings have to be open to the public?

Yes. All advisory committee meetings must be open to the public unless the Secretary determines in advance that the information to be discussed falls under one of the exemptions in the Government Sunshine Act. (See 107 FW 5 for more information.)


Have another question? Contact the Service’s Group Federal Officer - Krista Bibb (Krista_Bibb@fws.gov).

Return to PPM Advisory Committees Page.

Last updated: February 24, 2017