The Regulatory Integrity Act

OUR POSITION: CSS opposes the bill and urges members of Congress to vote against it.

Capitol hill

The Regulatory Integrity Act will significantly undermine federal agencies’ ability to engage and inform the public in a meaningful and transparent way. The legislation strictly prohibits agencies from issuing “public communications” that “emphasize the importance” of a particular agency action unless the communication has the “clear purpose of informing the public of the substance or status” of the particular action. The legislation applies to a wide swath of regulatory actions including rulemakings, guidance, policy statements, directives and adjudications.

The legislation also will severely impede, rather than enable, agency use of new communication technologies to reach the public most notably social media platforms. Agencies will find it difficult, if not impossible, to communicate with the public through social media since the bill prevents any usage of social media that both conveys information about a regulatory action but also promotes the importance of that action.

For example, the U.S. Department of Interior operates a Twitter and Instagram account that is very popular with the public because it regularly features photos of beautiful landscapes and wildlife from national parks across the United States. Under the Regulatory Integrity Act, the department might be prohibited from posting such photos because they are not solely informational and could be interpreted as promoting the importance of the department’s work in environmental and wildlife preservation.

Enactment of the Regulatory Integrity Act will lead to less transparency in government, make it more difficult for agencies to use new communication technologies popular with the public, and chill agency communications with the public on important matters due to the lack of any bright-line standards for agencies to follow.

 


 

CSS Resources

CSS Opposes the Regulatory Integrity Act (H.R. 1004)
Letter to Members: February 28, 2017

Groups Oppose the Regulatory Integrity Act (H.R. 1004)
Letter to Members: February 28, 2107

Whack-a-Mole Day Three: Don’t Tell the Public
CSS Blog: October 20, 2016

Groups Oppose the Regulatory Integrity Act (H.R. 5226)
Letter to Members: September 14, 2016