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Case Study

Democracy Forward Foundation v. Office of Management and Budget

Challenging Administration’s Refusal to Reveal Secret Members and Financial Conflicts of “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”

We filed suit against the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) after the agency refused to reveal the names of all members of President Trump’s “Regulatory Reform Task Forces.” The suit coincides with the release of the Administration’s “Regulatory Plan and Agenda,” and its continued failure to disclose conflicts of task force members who worked to roll back critical health, workplace, and environmental protections across federal agencies.

Upon taking office, President Trump announced the creation of deregulatory task forces across federal agencies and also directed federal agencies to remove two regulations for every new one issued. From what is known publicly, the Trump Administration has staffed these regulatory task forces with former industry lobbyists and other conflicted individuals. These include Daniel Elwell, a former lobbyist for American Airlines, who served at the Department of Transportation; Robert Eitel, a former lawyer for a for-profit college company, at the Department of Education; and Rebeckah Adcock, a former employee of the pesticide industry’s largest trade group, at the Department of Agriculture.

Given the Trump Administration continues to operate these task forces in secret, Democracy Forward filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit to uncover the full extent to which task force members are rolling back regulations to benefit their former industries.

Democracy Forward’s FOIA request was filed on November 2, 2017, and sought records concerning the identities of regulatory task force members, recusals and related ethics waivers, and involvement of political appointees in the operation of the task forces. OMB failed to respond to the request, as required by federal law, so we filed suit.

Documents

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