5 U.S.C. § 551 : US Code - Section 551: Definitions

      For the purpose of this subchapter - 
        (1) "agency" means each authority of the Government of the
      United States, whether or not it is within or subject to review
      by another agency, but does not include - 
          (A) the Congress;
          (B) the courts of the United States;
          (C) the governments of the territories or possessions of the
        United States;
          (D) the government of the District of Columbia;

      or except as to the requirements of section 552 of this title - 
          (E) agencies composed of representatives of the parties or of
        representatives of organizations of the parties to the disputes
        determined by them;
          (F) courts martial and military commissions;
          (G) military authority exercised in the field in time of war
        or in occupied territory; or
          (H) functions conferred by sections 1738, 1739, 1743, and
        1744 of title 12; subchapter II of chapter 471 of title 49; or
        sections 1884, 1891-1902, and former section 1641(b)(2), of
        title 50, appendix;

        (2) "person" includes an individual, partnership, corporation,
      association, or public or private organization other than an
        (3) "party" includes a person or agency named or admitted as a
      party, or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be
      admitted as a party, in an agency proceeding, and a person or
      agency admitted by an agency as a party for limited purposes;
        (4) "rule" means the whole or a part of an agency statement of
      general or particular applicability and future effect designed to
      implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or describing
      the organization, procedure, or practice requirements of an
      agency and includes the approval or prescription for the future
      of rates, wages, corporate or financial structures or
      reorganizations thereof, prices, facilities, appliances, services
      or allowances therefor or of valuations, costs, or accounting, or
      practices bearing on any of the foregoing;
        (5) "rule making" means agency process for formulating,
      amending, or repealing a rule;
        (6) "order" means the whole or a part of a final disposition,
      whether affirmative, negative, injunctive, or declaratory in
      form, of an agency in a matter other than rule making but
      including licensing;
        (7) "adjudication" means agency process for the formulation of
      an order;
        (8) "license" includes the whole or a part of an agency permit,
      certificate, approval, registration, charter, membership,
      statutory exemption or other form of permission;
        (9) "licensing" includes agency process respecting the grant,
      renewal, denial, revocation, suspension, annulment, withdrawal,
      limitation, amendment, modification, or conditioning of a
        (10) "sanction" includes the whole or a part of an agency - 
          (A) prohibition, requirement, limitation, or other condition
        affecting the freedom of a person;
          (B) withholding of relief;
          (C) imposition of penalty or fine;
          (D) destruction, taking, seizure, or withholding of property;
          (E) assessment of damages, reimbursement, restitution,
        compensation, costs, charges, or fees;
          (F) requirement, revocation, or suspension of a license; or
          (G) taking other compulsory or restrictive action;

        (11) "relief" includes the whole or a part of an agency - 
          (A) grant of money, assistance, license, authority,
        exemption, exception, privilege, or remedy;
          (B) recognition of a claim, right, immunity, privilege,
        exemption, or exception; or
          (C) taking of other action on the application or petition of,
        and beneficial to, a person;

        (12) "agency proceeding" means an agency process as defined by
      paragraphs (5), (7), and (9) of this section;
        (13) "agency action" includes the whole or a part of an agency
      rule, order, license, sanction, relief, or the equivalent or
      denial thereof, or failure to act; and
        (14) "ex parte communication" means an oral or written
      communication not on the public record with respect to which
      reasonable prior notice to all parties is not given, but it shall
      not include requests for status reports on any matter or
      proceeding covered by this subchapter.