Top Democrats Request Identities of Regulatory Reform Task Force Members
Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Rep. David N. Cicilline, the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, sent letters requesting that multiple agencies provide the identities of their Regulatory Reform Task Force members.
On February 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13777, which requires each agency to create a Regulatory Reform Task Force to “evaluate existing regulations,” “make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification,” and identify regulations that “eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;” “are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;” or “impose costs that exceed benefits.”
On August 7, 2017, Members requested the names of Task Force participants from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. To date, they have received no response to this request.
“The members of these Task Forces may play a significant role in proposing regulatory changes over the course of the Trump Administration,” the Members wrote. “As we noted in our previous request, the interests of the American public must be paramount when reviewing the worthiness of regulations, and it is therefore critical that these Task Forces maintain guards against conflicts of interest, especially those in which industry lobbyists seek to overturn environmental and health protections for financial gain.”
Press reports indicate that several individuals stand to profit from their work on the Task Forces. For example, the wife of one Environmental Protection Agency Task Force member is a top lobbyist for a large oil company. A Department of Interior Task Force member previously worked for groups with connections to billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch, owners of a conglomerate that sells coal, gas, and other products. A Department of Justice Task Force member was a lawyer at a firm focused on regulatory issues.
The Members requested that each agency provide, by February 20, 2018, the names of all Regulatory Reform Task Force members, as well as biographical information considered when selecting them.
Members sent the letters to the agencies that have not disclosed their Task Force members, including the Department of Labor, General Services Administration, Office of Personnel Management, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, Department of State, Agency for International Development, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, and Department of Justice.