The most prominent of the United States' regulatory agencies are the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission. There are many more regulatory agencies with lesser scope and fewer members.
A regulatory agency operates under legislative supervision. The committees and commissions that pursue the agendas represented by these agencies are thus kept answerable to the electorate through representative oversight.
Regulatory agencies in some ways reflect the prevailing values of the societies in which they exist. Prohibition was carried out in large part by cooperation between regulatory agencies who forwarded the moral stance that alcohol consumption was eroding the fabric of American life and morality.
Regulatory agencies also often possess the authority to adjudicate and draft laws within their specific purview. This allows them to bring common practices into consensus and to maintain quality control over manufacturing, business practices and many other facets of daily and commercial life in a world dominated by the free market.