Welcome to the American Bureau of Magical Affairs! The main governing body of the Wizarding States of America, the Bureau mimics the larger United States Government in its structure and is contained in three buildings located in the nation’s capital – Washington, DC – with auxiliary buildings all throughout the United States. Since the witches and wizards of the United States are integrated with ordinary people in many ways, this is reflected both in their government and in the things that are regulated by the government such as the Wizarding States’ two party system, congress, and their use of ordinary American Dollars rather than a specialized wizarding currency. Though the Bureau governs a very large country, they work with representatives and individuals from all fifty states in addition to those from the country’s territories.
Please note that the American Bureau of Magical Affairs does not hire non-wizards (vampires, goblins, veela, etc.).
Job Ideas: Assistant, Magical Congress Representative, Records Room Attendant, Vice Secretary, Ambassador
Active Eras: Marauder, Golden, Reformation, & Legacy Eras
“Halfway along the next corridor he emerged into a wide, open space where a dozen witches and wizards sat in rows at small desks not unlike school desks, though much more highly polished and free from graffiti.”
– Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Though the Bureau has smaller branches across the country to manage different areas of the huge nation, it’s headquarters is located in the United States capital, Washington, D.C. on F Street. It is contained within two large buildings positioned to either side of a smaller five story office building that appears to be under constant construction.
Employees may access the headquarters by taking the blue or orange metro line to the special station located in the atrium area of the center building. Much like how you must get off at the right gate while traveling the floo network, the Bureau station approaches very quickly between the usual muggle stops. As wizards travel in a “caboose” car that cannot be seen by muggles, they are able to board and depart as they choose while muggles feel only a slight stall in the motion of the train. A special metro pass is required to board, preventing visitors from entering through this route.
Visitors must be screened before entering and have their own special access point two blocks away from the actual headquarters that is disguised as a hot dog vendor cart. The hot dog vendor himself serves as a sort of guard and checks the intent and integrity of each potential visitor before handing them a portkey that will transport them to the main kiosk in the atrium for further assistance. For the sake of convenience and to further maintain the illusion, the visitor security personnel does also sell hot dogs to anyone who requests one, including ordinary people.
The Two Party System
Much like their non-magical counterparts, American wizards have a two-party political system. The party of the current Secretary of Magic and his or her cabinet heavily affects which bills are put into motion and which decrees are turned into laws.
The Cloaking Party believes that wizards should be kept as secret as possible and that muggles should not find out about magic. They largely believe that non-magical people will abuse or enslave magical folk for their powers and that things would become chaotic and unmanageable, if not resulting in violence from both sides. Some extremists in the party promote separation from non-magical people entirely and may send their children to private magical institutions for primary school rather than muggle elementary schools. Though it is not true for all members of the Cloaking Party, many of these extremists carry incredibly dated views and mannerisms, including referring to non-magical people as “No-Maj,” a term that largely fell out of favor in the 1930s and is now seen as a slur by many modern witches and wizards.
The Revealing Party believes that wizards should be fully integrated into muggle society and promotes a peaceful existence with their non-magical counterparts. Despite international laws that prevent wizards from fully revealing themselves to non-magical people, the revealing party often lobbies for the ability to inform non-magical persons of certain aspects of magical life. They believe that it is imperative that wizards are familiar with non-magical culture and are the driving force behind present day magical culture in the United States, where magical folks are encouraged to attend non-magical primary school and regularly interact with ordinary people in their “native” environment.
Elections in the wizarding world are held every four years, similar to those in the Other United States, but because the magical community is encouraged to participate in the election of the United States Presidents, these elections are held two years after the general election, coinciding with the years in which a Winter Olympics is hosted, while the general election takes place on Summer Olympics years. Those seeking to become the next Secretary of Magic must either be American-born or have at least one parent with American citizenship not unlike the requirements to become the President of the United States.
The Powhatan Building is not just the most central of the Bureau’s three buildings, but is also both the oldest and one of the most important as it houses some of the most prominent parts of the government along with the entrance to the rest of the Bureau’s headquarters. Hundreds of witches and wizards pass through this building each day on their way to work, tours, and various appointments.
The Ground Floor serves as the entry point to the Bureau of Magical Affairs through the visitor’s entrance and the Magical Metro Station that leads in through the outside world. A Visitation Kiosk allows for non-employees to check in, collect maps and other information, and the News Stand is frequently visited by employees on their way in to the office to collect the day’s latest paper, magazines, or a snack. From this floor two hallways connect to the Kennedy Building and the Alden Building, though you must have an official pass to be permitted past this level. A grand staircase leads up to the first floor, or elevators are available for those seeking to go elsewhere in the building.
On the First Floor employees and visitors alike can settle down for a meal in the Food Court, which features popular American restaurants such as McDonald’s, Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips, Taco Bell, Sbarro, and Panda Express, along with a variety of vending machines specializing in magical treats, snacks, and beverages. Just down the hall is the Mail Room and Records Room, and in the opposite hall is the Processing Department, which is more frequently accessed by visitors than anywhere else in the Bureau due to its handling of magical visas, passports, and immigration documents.
Most of the rest of the Powhatan Building remains off limits to visitors, as the Second Floor contains the Department of Secrecy and Security, which is often referred to simply as “SSH!” and handles the more mysterious affairs of the Bureau and keeps the magical community hidden from the ordinary world. When the Cloaking Party has primary control over the government, this department is often given more funding and extra attention.
The Third Floor at the top level of the Powhatan Building houses the Secretary’s Suite, an expansive office complex that is reminiscent of the White House and appears to be much larger than it should physically be. Though the Secretary of Magic does not reside in the suite full time, there is a Hospitality Wing where the Secretary can stay overnight in comfort if they choose.
The Kennedy Building houses the majority of the offices of the Bureau of Magical Affairs that are necessary for the day-to-day workings of the magical government. These departments must be accessed directly through the Powhatan Building, and after passing through a small lobby on the ground floor elevators can be taken to the department of your choice with the appropriate special pass. Each of these departments has their own Vice Secretary with a large office in their department.
On the First Floor sits the Department of Education, which handles the approval of new schools, curriculum requirements, and regulating standardized testing such as the Wizarding Academic Realization Test and hosting the SAT and ACT in magical schools and communities. Opposite these offices is the Department of Transportation, which oversees the Magical Metro in most major cities along with the North American Magical Railway. They also address approvals for enchanted cars and vehicles and regulate the various operations of wizard-owned flight paths and airlines such as SorcerAir.
The Second Floor houses the departments which deal most directly with the management of the Wizarding States of America, such as the Department of National Affairs which handles law enforcement in the wizarding world. Though this department works on a large scale, they have individual task forces stationed in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The Department of Industry and Treasury sits on this floor as well, controlling the various budgets of the Bureau along with housing a Career Placement Office. They also help regulate and address the conversion of international wizarding currency into ordinary American Dollars.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is housed on the Third Floor of the Kennedy Building, which includes representatives of the International Magical Trading Standards Body, International Magical Office of Law, and the International Confederation of Wizards. They often work to set regulations which are passed down to the Processing Department in the Powhatan Building with regard to international travel and visas.
The Alden Building is home to one of the most important aspects of the Bureau of Magical Affairs, the Magical Congress that mimics the Congress of the United States. Much like its ordinary counterpart, the Magical Congress consists of a House and Senate, with representatives and senators chosen from each of the 50 United States. Unlike the Ordinary Congress, representatives from territories of the United States such as Puerto Rico are considered full members of the House and Senate and are given equal voting rights. This building can only be accessed via the Ground Floor lobby from the Powhatan Building.
The First Floor contains a vast meeting chamber for the Congress, which can be split in two if necessary to allow both branches of Congress to meet separately if necessary. Several other meeting and conference rooms are housed here as well, so that the various committees of Congress can meet without occupying the larger meeting chamber. Two such committees are the Committee of Right-Doings and Wrong-Doings and the Committee of Goings-On.
Above the first floor, the rest of the building is dedicated to offices for the various members of the House and Senate, with most of the members of the House on the Second Floor and most of the senators on the Third Floor.
The official Congress Library is contained in an underground level below the lobby.