Congressional or Federal Charters: Overview and Current Issues
Publication Date: January 2007
Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service
A congressional or federal charter is a federal statute that establishes a corporation. Congress has issued charters since 1791, although most charters were issued after the start of the 20th century. Congress has used charters to create a variety of corporate entities, such as banks, government-sponsored enterprises, commercial corporations, venture capital funds, and more. Recently, Congress has faced two issues involving its use of charters -- confusion over who is responsible for the activities of chartered corporations and the challenges of managing them. This report will be updated if relevant legislative action occurs.