Democrats seek files from task­force on reg­u­la­tions

The Washington Times Daily - - POL­I­TICS - BY DAVE BOYER

Pres­i­dent Trump’s as­sault on Oba­maera reg­u­la­tions isn’t sit­ting well with some House Democrats, who asked the White House on Mon­day for doc­u­ments to shed light on the pres­i­dent’s reg­u­la­tory task force.

“We write to ex­press our alarm con­cern­ing the lack of trans­parency, ac­count­abil­ity, and in­de­pen­dence of the Reg­u­la­tory Re­form Task Forces,” wrote top Democrats on the House Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form Com­mit­tee.

“It is unac­cept­able for fed­eral agen­cies to op­er­ate in such a clan­des­tine and un­ac­count­able man­ner es­pe­cially when the re­sult could be the un­do­ing of crit­i­cal pub­lic health and safety pro­tec­tions,” the Democrats wrote.

The let­ter, from Reps. Eli­jah E. Cum­mings of Mary­land, John Cony­ers Jr. of Michigan, Gerry Con­nolly of Vir­ginia and David Ci­cilline of Rhode Is­land, seeks doc­u­ments out­lin­ing the work of task forces cut­ting reg­u­la­tions at each fed­eral agency, in­clud­ing the names of mem­bers, their ti­tles and com­mu­ni­ca­tions from meet­ings.

The re­quest was sent to Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get Di­rec­tor Mick Mul­vaney and to Neomi Rao, ad­min­is­tra­tor of the White House Of­fice of In­for­ma­tion and Reg­u­la­tory Af­fairs.

Mr. Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der in Fe­bru­ary cre­at­ing task forces at Cab­i­net agen­cies aimed at re­duc­ing reg­u­la­tions, as part of his over­all ef­fort to roll back rules that he said are hurt­ing busi­nesses.

The House Democrats said the task forces “must have an ef­fec­tive and trans­par­ent guard against con­flicts of in­ter­est, es­pe­cially those in which in­dus­try lob­by­ists seek to over­turn environmental and health pro­tec­tions for fi­nan­cial gain.”

“It ap­pears that the cur­rent task forces are al­ready fail­ing on this front, and in­stead are ac­tively hid­ing their mem­bers and their meet­ings from pub­lic view,” they said, adding that some of them have re­fused to re­lease ba­sic in­for­ma­tion about their ac­tiv­i­ties in de­fi­ance of the Fed­eral Records Act.

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