Newhouse Joins Walberg to Introduce Bill to Prevent Rulemaking Misconduct by Government Agencies

May 16, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) joined Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) as an original cosponsor of H.R. 5226, The Regulatory Integrity Act. This legislation provides greater transparency to the federal government’s rulemaking process. The legislation is in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) covert propaganda efforts during the public rulemaking process for the flawed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The EPA has also drawn scrutiny for advocacy efforts in Washington state by its grantee in the What’s Up Stream campaign.

In 2015, the New York Times reported that the EPA undertook “a campaign that tests the limits of federal lobbying law.” Following that story, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office issued its own report stating: “the EPA violated provisions [of law] through its use of social media in association with its rulemaking efforts to define “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) during FYs 2014 and 2015.”

“Federal agencies should not use taxpayer funds to promote new rules and regulations against the very people that they are regulating,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Congress already prohibits that practice annually, and the Regulatory Integrity Act will encourage transparency by creating an easily searchable database that the public can access to ensure agencies follow the law. I thank Congressman Walberg for his work on this issue, and I am proud to join him in calling for this important legislation.”

“The EPA has been overreaching its authority for some time, and the agency’s covert campaign to sway the outcome of the harmful Waters of the US rule is a prime example. Now we know, based on an independent report, that the EPA did indeed engage in illegal lobbying methods,” said Rep. Walberg. “The Regulatory Integrity Act will ensure the EPA and other federal agencies operate the rulemaking process in an open and transparent manner to prevent such misconduct in the future.”

H.R. 5226, Regulatory Integrity Act, is expected to be marked up by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week.