Government Documents

  • Core Documents of United States Democracy lists the key legislative, judicial, executive, regulatory, and statistical sites, plus provides access to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other important documents.

  • Legislative Branch Sites provide access to the entire legislative process, from when laws are introduced as bills, to debates over them, and to their publication in the U.S. Code.

  • Executive Branch Sites provide access to documents issued by the President and the White House offices, as well as to various agencies under the President and under each of the Cabinet officers.

  • Judicial Branch Sites provide access to the published opinions from the Supreme Court, Appellate Courts, and the U.S. Tax Court.

  • Regulatory Information Sites provide access to the Presidential orders and other rules issued by the executive branch and to the rules and regulations issued by the Federal agencies

  • Statistical and Census Information provide access to population census data and to a vast array of statistical data that deals with the economic conditions, labor, trade, prices, and education.

  • Tax Forms is a site that allows you to print out any Federal or Illinois State tax form you need to complete your annual income tax filings.

  • Securities and Exchange Commission Filings provide access to an array of corporation filings, most notably the Annual Reports to Shareholders and the Proxy Statements.

  • Illinois Sites gather together Illinois executive, legislative, and judicial sites for the state.

Core Documents of United States Democracy
  • Core Documents of the United States Democracy is a site hosted by the Government Printing Office (GPO), which lists the key legislative, judicial, executive, regulatory, and statistical sites that the GPO hosts online. This site also provides access to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Emancipation Proclamation, and other significant documents from the history of our country.

Legislative Branch Sites
Federal legislation is enacted by the U.S. Congress, which consists of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Before a law is enacted it is introduced first as a bill, then debated and usually revised, and then enacted into law once it is passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President.

  • Information on Recent Legislation and Bills passed from the current and past two sessions of Congress as available on the Thomas site.

  • Older Legislation Back to 1973 provides access to legislation back to 1973 and may be found on the Bill and Summary Status section of the Thomas site.

  • Debates on the Floors of the House and Senate, available on Thomas, may be found in the Congressional Record back to the 103rd Congress (1993-94).

  • U.S. Code, available through GPO Access, is where all laws passed by Congress and signed by the President are consolidated.

  • House and Senate Membership Directories can be accessed at their respective web sites. These sites include links to each Congressional member's personal web page.

Executive Branch Sites
The Executive Branch includes not only the President and the White House offices directly under him but also the various agencies under the President and under each of his Cabinet officers.

  • White House provides information of the President of the United States and the Executive offices that work out of the White House.

  • Official Government Web Sites, available from the Library of Congress, provides access to each of the Executive Branch agencies and their sub-agencies, as well as to the scores of independent agencies.

  • A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies provides a complete directory of government agencies, including complete contact information and links to the appropriate websites.

Judicial Branch Sites
provide access to the published opinions from the Supreme Court, Appellate Courts, and the U.S. Tax Court.

  • Supreme Court Decisions are available on government documents websites for the years 1937 to 1975 and from 1992 to the present. Supreme Court Decisions (including predecessor opinions of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania) are available from the beginning in 1754 on Lewis University’s Lexis-Nexis Academic database. The Lexis-Nexis database has the Lawyers’ Edition of opinions, which includes annotations and explanations. The Lewis University Library has bound volumes of the series back to number 1 in the reference section.

  • Appellate Court (U.S. Circuit Court) decisions are not a part of the Depository Library Program and therefore Lewis University does not have any of these documents in print form. However, important decisions are made at this level that also becomes a part of case law. Federal Appellate Courts online access is available on Lewis University’s Lexis-Nexis Academic database, which provides searchable databases for complete published opinions of the 13 U.S. Circuit Courts from the earliest case in June 1791 through current.

  • U.S. Tax Court is a part of the District of Columbia Circuit Court and are available on the Lexis-Nexis Academic database. Lewis University has bound volumes of U.S. Circuit Court opinions going back to 1951 in the reference section.
Regulatory Information Sites
The means by which our laws are put into practice is through Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents issued by the President and rules and regulations issued by the various Executive departments and Federal agencies and organizations. These rules and regulations appear in the following publications.

  • Federal Register is the official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents. This Government Printing Office (GPO) online database provides full-text access to the Federal Register beginning in 1995, and provides keyword search capability.

    The Lewis University Library has the microfiche version of the Federal Register since 1995, which is available in the microfilm area.

  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register. This GPO online database provides full-text access and keyword search capability to the CFR, which is divided into 50 titles which represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. Each title is divided into chapters which usually bear the name of the issuing agency. The GPO adds volumes to the online service concurrent with the release of the paper editions.

  • The Lewis University Library has the paper editions of the CFR available in the reference area.

Statistical and Census Information
The Federal government, through its many hundreds of agencies and offices, generates a vast amount of statistical information as a part of the business of government. The best known statistical information produced by the government is the Census on the population held every ten years, but other important statistical data that is available deals with the economic conditions, labor, trade, prices, and education.

  • FEDSTATS provides statistics from over 100 U.S. Federal agencies, including the Agricultural Research Service, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Internal Revenue Service, International Trade Administration, National Agricultural Statistics Service, and from each of the Executive Departments.

    National Trade Databank, updated monthly, provides a variety of statistical information both within the United States as well as abroad. The Lewis University Library has this information on CD-ROM, which can be accessed on the government documents depository terminal.

  • Statistical Abstracts of the United States which is updated annually, provides a vast amount of statistical data on the country, and users will find that it supplies information on virtually all of the most frequently-requested statistics.

  • U.S. Census Bureau should be your starting point. The Lewis University Library also has a vast array of census data information in paper documents, and on CD-ROM for the 1970, 1980, and 1990 censuses.Labor Statistics and Price Indexes.

  • Most Requested Statistics hosted by the Bureau of Labor, features unemployment statistics, labor productivity index, consumer price index, producer price index, and many other statistical and index databases.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics provides access to a large array of labor statistics on employment and unemployment statistics, earnings, safety and health, productivity, and statistics on the general economy.

  • Current News Releases at the Bureau of Labor site, this provides the latest statistics on all the chief economic indicators, as well as a large variety of recent statistical news.

Tax Forms
Federal and Illinois tax forms on the Internet are available in Adobe Acrobat format, which is identified with the PDF extension after the file name. The Web browser on the government documents terminal in the Lewis Library has been configured to automatically load the Adobe Acrobat Reader when you request any file with the PDF extension.

Securities and Exchange Commission Filings
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings are not government documents issued by the government, but rather reports issued by private corporations that must be filed with the Commission. The SEC requires all public companies (except foreign companies and companies with less than $10 million in assets and 500 shareholders) to file their annual reports (10-K), proxy statements (14-A), and these are listed on EDGAR. Here you'll find links to a complete list of filings since 1993 and instructions for searching the EDGAR database.

The two kinds of filings of most interest to the general public are the annual report to shareholders and the proxy statement.

  • Annual Report to Shareholders
    (Form 10-K) the principal documents used by most public companies to disclose corporate information to shareholders. These reports provide a comprehensive overview of the company's business, including financial data, results of continuing operations, market segment information, new product plans, subsidiary activities and research, and development activities on future programs. Form 10-K is the version of the annual report that most reporting companies file with the Commission. The 10-K, available on EDGAR is a plain black and white document with simple table and chart graphics.

    Companies generally publish a four-color, graphic and photo intensive glossy version of their annual report for their shareholders. The Lewis Library keeps about 1,600 of these annual reports for the current year in filing cabinets in the Periodicals section of the Library.

  • Proxy Statements
    (Regulation 14A/Schedule 14A) are intended to provide shareholders with the information necessary to enable them to vote in an informed manner on matters intended to be acted upon at shareholders' meetings. For example, proxy statements provide information on compensation paid to the outside directors and to the five Executive officers of the firm. The SEC name for the proxy statement is Regulation 14A or Schedule 14A, and it is available on EDGAR.

Illinois Sites
  • Illinois Documents
    • State of Illinois is the best place to begin to look for information pertaining to Illinois government branches, offices, and agencies. Here you will find links to the general assembly (legislature), state courts (judiciary), and agencies.

    • The Governor is the chief executive of the State of Illinois, accessible at the State of Illinois site, where one can find information on the governor's announcements, initiatives, and bill signings.

  • Legislative
    Illinois Legislative Services provides information on pending legislation in the Illinois General Assembly, Public Acts, and Illinois Compiled Statutes.

  • Judiciary
    Illinois State Courts provides access to news releases and opinions of the Illinois Supreme and Appellate Courts back to 1996.

  • Federal Court
    United States Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit: is the Federal court that includes Illinois, and Lexis Nexis has a full text database of decisions of the 7th Circuit going back to November 1818.