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Policy

Lobbyists’ Influence On Rules Tracked

by Cheryl Hogue
December 5, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 49

The White House is allowing lobbyists to sway federal regulations, especially EPA’s, concludes a report by the nonprofit Center for Progressive Reform. The report examines White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) reviews of agencies’ proposed and final regulations between 2001 and mid-2011. During that decade, OMB held 1,080 meetings with influence groups on pending regulatory actions. When White House officials met with lobbying groups about a rule or proposal, it was 29% more likely to be changed than if there were no get-togethers, the report finds. Nearly two-thirds of the meeting participants came from business. Representatives of the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry group, met with OMB most frequently, followed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, the report found. EPA regulatory actions were a prime target for White House meetings with lobbyists. While EPA rules and proposals accounted for 11% of OMB reviews, 41% of the meetings focused on the environmental agency’s actions, the report says. Meanwhile, OMB made changes to 84% of EPA’s regulatory actions, in contrast to 65% of other agencies’ rules.

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