How big is the federal government? So big, it has lost count of just how many department and agencies it has, according to a federal watchdog group.
Quoting federal officials, the Competitive Enterprise Institute said the number given ranges from a mere 60 to a whopping 430.
In face, Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president of policy for CEI, found this gem of a quote inside the Administrative Conference of the United States source book. It lists 115 agencies in the appendix but adds:
"[T]here is no authoritative list of government agencies."
Don't laugh. Yet.
Digging through other counts offered by federal officials, he found an online Federal Register Index of 257.
United States Government Manual lists 316.
Then there was a 2015 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing during which a senator listed over 430 departments, agencies and sub-agencies.
"As bureaucracy sprawls, nobody can say with complete authority exactly how many federal agencies exist," blogged Crews on the CEI site.