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When making decisions, agencies often seek advice from advisory committees composed of individuals from outside the federal government. To keep such committees from representing only limited interests, Congress enacted The Federal Advisory Committee Act in 1972 (5 USC App. 1). The Act requires agencies to follow specific procedures when creating advisory committees. The law also provides guideline for the conduct of advisory committee activities. For example, advisory committees must provide advance public notice of their meetings and hold open meetings.

When creating an advisory committee, an agency must issue a charter, approved by the General Services Administration, and must select committee members in such a way as to assure that diverse views will be considered on the issues under review. An advisory committee expires automatically after two years unless it is rechartered.

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