Can Gov't Hide Adverse Comments On Proposed Rules?

By Steven Gordon (December 21, 2017, 11:57 AM EST) -- Can federal agencies publicly disclose only favorable comments on their proposed regulations? Politico reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is refusing to make public more than 10,000 comments on a Trump administration proposal to reduce federal regulations for religious and faith-based groups that could potentially affect access to abortion and care for transgender patients. Instead, the agency has posted only 80 comments — less than 1 percent of all submissions — and those overwhelmingly back the administration's policies or attack Obama administration regulations. This raises the question of whether this selective disclosure violates the agency's legal obligations. Under current law, it does not violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but it does appear to violate the E-Government Act of 2002....

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