Treasury Department

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps
 
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The U.S. Department of the Treasury performs four basic functions: formulating and recommending economic, financial, tax, and fiscal policies; serving as financial agent for the U.S. government; enforcing the law; and manufacturing coins and currency. The Treasury Department was created by an act of September 2, 1789 (31 U.S.C.A. § 301). Many subsequent acts have affected the development of the department and created its numerous bureaus and divisions. On March 1, 2003, the newly-created HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT took control of several treasury divisions: the U.S. Customs Service, the SECRET SERVICE, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Secretary of the Treasury

As a major policy adviser to the president, the secretary of the treasury has primary responsibility for formulating and recommending domestic and international financial, economic, and tax policy, participating in the formulation of broad fiscal policies that have general significance for the economy, and managing the public debt. The secretary also oversees the activities of the department in carrying out its major law enforcement responsibility, serving as the financial agent for the U.S. government, and manufacturing coins, currency, and other products for customer agencies.

In addition, the secretary has many responsibilities as chief financial officer of the government. The secretary serves as chair pro tempore of the Economic Policy Council and as U.S. governor of the INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the African Development Bank. The Office of the Secretary includes the offices of deputy secretary, general counsel, inspector general, the under secretaries, the assistant secretaries, and treasurer.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was established by Treasury Department Order No. 221, effective July 1, 1972. The order transferred the functions, powers, and duties arising under laws relating to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives from the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE to the bureau. On December 5, 1978, Treasury Department Order No. 120-1 assigned to the bureau responsibility for enforcing chapter 114 of title 18 of the United States Code (18 U.S.C.A. § 2341 et seq.) relating to interstate trafficking in contraband cigarettes. The Anti-Arson Act of 1982, 96 Stat. 1319, gave the bureau the additional responsibility of addressing commercial ARSON nationwide.

The bureau is responsible for enforcing and administering firearms and explosives laws, as well as laws covering the production, taxation, and distribution of alcohol and tobacco products. The bureau performs two basic functions: criminal enforcement and regulatory enforcement.

The criminal enforcement branch of the bureau seeks to stop illegal trafficking, possession, and use of firearms, destructive devices, and explosives and also tries to suppress trafficking in illicit distilled spirits and contraband cigarettes. The objectives of the regulatory enforcement branch of the bureau include determining and ensuring the full collection of revenue due from legal alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and ammunition manufacturing industries; fulfilling the bureau's responsibility to ensure product integrity and provide health warning statements; and preventing commercial BRIBERY, consumer deception, and other improper trade practices in the alcohol beverage industry.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and...

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