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Investigative Powers of Agencies
In this question, I was asked to identify the investigative powers that agencies have. Depending on the object and importance of the investigation, the three agencies presented in this case have different investigative authority. The EBSA, also known as the Employee Benefits Security Administration, has the authority to investigate, receive, and disclose information that is related to the employee benefits and security to any parties that may be affected by the matter, which is the subject of the investigation. In addition, the EBSA possesses the authority to investigate criminal cases related to employee benefit plans, thus giving DOL the authority of DOJ on case-by-case scenarios.
The information presented on the site of DOT Drug and Alcohol Policy compliance has much less investigative power in a way that the employee in question can choose to refuse to undergo the drug testing procedure. The agency cannot force the employee to do so, nor is it in a position to commence any retaliatory actions because of it.
Lastly, the OSHA has many investigative authorities over official employers, private and state businesses and enterprises. Under the mandate of ensuring worker protection, they are allowed to conduct surprise investigations of workplaces and facilities in order to ensure the safety of the workers.
All investigative authorities that these organizations have are within the parameters of the 4th and the 5th Amendments. However, some might argue that agents such as the EBSA and the OSHA have authorities that can exceed what should be allowed to them by the amendments. For example, OSHA’s surprise investigations can be interpreted as an unreasonable search. If the DOT enforces a drug and alcohol test upon an unwilling subject, it could also be interpreted as forcing a person to testify against himself or herself. In order to prevent the agencies from overstepping their boundaries, more controls should be implemented to ensure that they are operating within their boundaries, as overstepping their authority means breaching the 4th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution.
Judicial Power of Agencies
Agency procedures are unique to every agency and are fitted to better comply with a particular agency’s requirements towards unsolicited proposals, complaints, demands, and the like. All agencies are encouraged to develop these procedures, so long as they adhere to the procedures required by 1501.2(d), 1502.9(c)(3), 1505.1, 1506.6(e), and 1508.4. Should an agency receive an unsolicited proposal, it has up to 10 working days to review it and either accept it or send it back with an explanation on why it will not be complied with.
A Court of Law process, on the other hand, is a proceeding in a lawsuit, be it civil or criminal that describes receiving a formal notice or a writ to come to court. It is similar to that of an agency procedure in that in both cases it is a written document, but the latter case has more authority and cannot be refused.
Mathews v. Eldridge decision of 1976 had a big impact on the administrative proceedings, as it established that social security benefits were granted a statutory property right, which requires a due process but not a pre-termination hearing. As such, agencies have the right to terminate social security benefits, but should the recipient of these benefits prove that termination was not solicited, they would receive compensation for all missing payment. This case played an important role in the development of American administrative law.
Other statutory properties that require protection by due process and pre-termination hearing include social welfare. In this case, the recipient of such is reliant on welfare to supply him or herself with food and other provisions required for living. Thus, they cannot be terminated without due process, as they are protected by the 4th Amendment.
The Budget as Control
In the American political system, budget decision-making was always considered a struggle for power and a litmus test for loyalties of certain agencies. The President, or a regional governor, has the power to affect certain agencies and their abilities to promulgate certain policies and decisions by either raising or cutting their budget. Depending on political agenda, various parties promote agencies they have an interest in by allocating it more money from the budget and constrain agencies whose actions and decisions they do not agree with by cutting their funding to the point they can no longer promote the policies that the political figureheads disapprove. Depending on the necessity or influence of a particular agency, these measures can be effective or ineffective.
The most recent example of trying to control various government agencies through budget cuts can be seen in Donald Trump’s decision to cut funding from domestic programs and in particular the Environmental Protection Agency (Ernst, 2017). This falls in with Trump’s agenda, as he has been a long-standing enemy of environmental regulations, instead of lobbying a decrease in these regulations in order to allow businesses and industries receive more profit. By cutting domestic problems and the EPA’s budget, he instead allocated more money towards the military and the construction of the border wall with Mexico (Ernst, 2017). In so doing, he exercises pressure upon EPA, while at the same time funding his own projects and goals. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget cuts were not motivated by the agency’s inefficiency, but political agenda.
Ernst, J. (2017). Trump’s budget overhaul. Domestic programs slashed to fund military. The Guardian. Web.