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Business Law Legal Research: Federal Law

This guide will help you locate resources for basic business law-related legal research.

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See the Primary Sources tab in the guide below for more information on the U.S.C. and C.F.R.

Agency Websites

The United States Government Manual is the "official government handbook," providing information about all of the different agencies and organizations of the federal government. Information from the USGM about some of the major federal organizations relevant to business is presented below.

The United States Government Manual


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The CFPB regulates the offering and provision of consumer financial products and services under Federal consumer financial laws. It gives consumers the information they need to understand the terms of their agreements with financial companies. It also makes regulations and guidance as clear and streamlined as possible so providers of consumer financial products and services can understand and follow the rules without assistance.

Consumer Product Safety Commission: To protect the public from risk of injury, the CPSC requires manufacturers to report defects in products presenting substantial hazards; conducts outreach programs for consumers, industry, and local governments; collects information on consumer product-related injuries and maintains the National Injury Information Clearinghouse; conducts research on consumer product hazards; and encourages and assists in the development of voluntary standards affecting the safety of consumer products. When appropriate, the CPSC requires manufacturers to correct hazards associated with specific consumer products already in circulation, establishes mandatory consumer product standards, and bans hazardous products.

Department of Agriculture: The Department of Agriculture develops agricultural markets, fights hunger and malnutrition, conserves natural resources, and ensures food quality standards.

Department of Commerce: The Department of Commerce promotes the Nation's domestic and international trade, economic growth, and technological advancement by fostering free enterprise worldwide, supporting fair trade, compiling social and economic statistics, protecting Earth's physical resources, granting patents and registering trademarks, and assisting small and minority-owned businesses.

  • Bureau of Economic Analysis: BEA's economic statistics offer a comprehensive picture of the U.S. economy. BEA prepares national, regional, industry, and international accounts that present essential information on such issues in the world economy.
  • Bureau of the Census: The Census Bureau makes available statistical results of its censuses, surveys, and other programs to the public through the Internet, mobile applications, and other media. The Bureau also prepares special tabulations sponsored and paid for by data users. It also produces statistical compendia, catalogs, guides, and directories that are useful in locating information on specific subjects.
  • International Trade Administration: The ITA was established to promote world trade and to strengthen the international trade and investment position of the United States. The Under Secretary for International Trade heads the ITA, coordinating all issues concerning trade promotion, international commercial policy, market access, and trade law enforcement. The Administration is responsible for U.S. Government nonagricultural trade operations, and it supports the U.S. Trade Representative's efforts to negotiate trade policy.
  • National Technical Information Service: The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is the largest central resource for business-related, engineering, Government-funded, scientific, and technical information available. For more than 60 years, the Service has assured businesses, Government, universities, and the public timely access to approximately 3 million publications covering over 350 subject areas.
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: The US Patent and Trademark Office USPTO provides public access to patent, trademark, and related scientific and technical information. Patents and trademarks may be reviewed and searched online or at designated Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: HUD administers various programs to facilitate its six core functions: insuring mortgages for single-family and multifamily dwellings and extending loans for home improvement and for the purchasing of mobile homes; channeling funds from investors to the mortgage industry through the Government National Mortgage Association–Ginnie Mae; making direct loans for construction or rehabilitation of housing projects that benefit the elderly and handicapped; providing Federal housing subsidies for low- and moderate-income families; giving community development grants to States and communities; and promoting and enforcing fair housing and equal housing opportunity.

Department of Labor: The Department of Labor promotes the welfare of job seekers, wage earners, and retirees by improving working conditions, advancing opportunities for profitable employment, protecting retirement and health care benefits, matching workers to employers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in economic indicators on a national scale.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: The BLS measures labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. It also collects, analyzes, and disseminates essential economic information to support public and private decisionmaking.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration: OSHA, created pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.), assures safe and healthful working conditions for men and women by promulgating common sense, protective health, and safety standards; enforcing workplace safety and health rules; providing training, outreach, education, and assistance to workers and employers in their efforts to control workplace hazards; prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities; and partnering with States that run their own OSHA-approved programs.
  • Wage and Hour Division: The WHD enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor law requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration-related statutes.

Department of the Treasury: The Department of the Treasury enforces financial laws, manufactures coins and currency, and recommends economic, fiscal, and tax policies.

  • Internal Revenue Service: The IRS administers and enforces the internal revenue laws and related statutes, except those relating to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives
  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: The OCC regulates national banks and Federal thrifts by examining them; approving or denying applications for new charters, branches, capital, and other changes in corporate or banking structure; taking enforcement actions—removing officers and directors, negotiating agreements to change practices, and issuing cease and desist orders and civil monetary penalties—when national banks and Federal thrifts fail to comply with laws and regulations or when they engage in unsound practices; and issuing rules, regulations, interpretations, and corporate decisions that govern investments, lending, and other practices. The bureau supervises nearly 1,400 national banks, Federal savings associations, and Federal branches, including their trust activities and overseas operations.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: The FDIC preserves and promotes public confidence in U.S. financial institutions by insuring bank and thrift deposits, examining State-chartered banks, and liquidating assets of failed institutions.

Federal Reserve System: In addition to implementing monetary policy, the FRS supervises and regulates banks, transfers funds, handles Government deposits and debt issues, and acts as lender of last resort.

Federal Trade Commission: The FTC protects consumers and promotes competition in broad sectors of the economy. It safeguards and strengthens free and open markets and helps consumers make informed choices. The FTC carries out its mission by using a variety of tools: consumer and business education, law enforcement, research, rulemaking, and studies of marketplace trends and legal developments.

National Credit Union Administration: The NCUA regulates and insures all Federal credit unions and insures State-chartered credit unions that apply and qualify for share insurance.

National Labor Relations Board: The NLRB remedies unfair labor practices and safeguards employees' rights to organize and to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative. It is authorized to designate appropriate units for collective bargaining and to conduct secret ballot elections to determine whether employees desire representation by a labor organization.

Securities and Exchange Commission: The SEC protects investors, facilitates capital formation, and maintains efficient, fair, and orderly securities markets.

Small Business Administration: The SBA aids, assists, and counsels entrepreneurs and protects their business interests; preserves free and competitive enterprise; and maintains and strengthens the overall economy.

Trade and Development Agency: The USTDA is a foreign assistance agency that delivers its program commitments through overseas grants and contracts with U.S. firms. The Agency helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies.


Congressional Research Service

The Congressional Research Service is a nonpartisan agency within the Library of Congress that provides research support services for lawmakers. CRS regularly produces high-quality research reports for Congress on matters of public significance, including hundreds of reports on trade, international finance, the economy, the labor market, health care, taxes, and the budget. These reports are also available to the public.

Congressional Research Service - Informing the Legislative Debate Since 1914

Federal Statutes

The U.S. Code (U.S.C.) is the compilation of the "general and permanent laws" of the U.S. government. Here are some of the U.S.C. Titles that relate to business law:

Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) compiles regulations passed by federal administrative agencies. Here are some of the C.F.R. Titles relevant to business law: