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Preserving Scientific Integrity with the Stop Corporate Capture Act (H.R. 1507)

March 7, 2024 | Download PDF

Science helps keep all Americans safe and healthy. The public protections which keep our drinking water clean and our children’s toys safe rely on transparent policymaking and independent trusted science. Our everyday choices are informed by science from the products we buy to the food we eat. The preservation of sound science is an essential piece of a functioning democracy, used to craft the policies and regulations which govern every corner of American life.

Problems in the Rulemaking Process

Regrettably, decades of neglect and underinvestment in the rulemaking process paired with the rise of corporate influence has increasingly put scientifically sound public protections at risk. Studies have shown that during the notice and comment period for draft rules, corporations overwhelmingly submit more comments and hold more meetings with agencies than public interest groups and citizens – and can use sham science to make their case. Industry can then continue to lobby using false data and research after comments have closed, and additional changes made to agency submissions during subsequent review are hidden from the public up to 65% of the time. It’s difficult to identify, much less fight, how corporations sway regulators in their favor using manipulated science.

Industry Interference

Big business is motivated to continue this manipulation of science at the expense of Americans and their families. Were an agency to consider limiting the use of a chemical, for example, a chemical company could submit its own industry-backed research showing the chemical is not harmful to the environment or human health. Data misrepresentation is common among corporations, as seen when the fossil fuel industry purposefully hid the effects of climate change for decades and manufacturers misrepresented the addictiveness of opioids to the public.

Solution – the Stop Corporate Capture Act

To center sound science, the regulatory system must be updated and repaired. The Stop Corporate Capture Act (SCCA) offers a comprehensive roadmap to democratize the rulemaking process by promoting public engagement and transparency while cracking down on the use of false science to influence regulators. Importantly, it would also codify Chevron deference, mandating that courts defer to agency interpretation of the law and therefore government-backed science.

SCCA would promote scientific integrity and crack down on corporate influence.

Corporations disproportionately dominate the public comment process during new rulemakings, often using flawed and financially influenced studies and reports. SCCA would require disclosure of funding sources for all studies and reports provided in public comments and impose heightened disclosure requirements for studies that have been peer-reviewed. SCCA would also impose civil penalties on corporations that deliberately use false information to influence regulators during the rulemaking process.

SCCA would increase transparency and accountability in the rulemaking process while promoting social justice

SCCA would require improved documentation of any changes made to draft rules after they are submitted to OIRA, including clear attribution of the source of those changes. Additionally, SCCA would establish an Office of the Public Advocate to promote public awareness of new rulemakings. This office would be tasked with researching and assessing the social equity impacts of the rulemaking process.

SCCA would codify Chevron deference and empower agencies.

Forty years ago, the Supreme Court in Chevron mandated that the judicial branch defer to expert agencies’ statutory interpretation when Congress’ intent is not clear. Because the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is threatening to take that power away from agency officials who are responsive to the public and give it to unelected judges, SCCA would prevent that judicial power grab and center subject matter expertise in cases involving regulations, limiting the potential for political beliefs to influence the outcome of such cases.

For additional information, contact Rachel Weintraub at and visit the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards’ page on the Stop Corporate Capture Act: