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GAO Report: Agencies Circumvent Public Comment on Major Rules Open Access

A new Government Accountability Office report finds that federal agencies did not go through notice-and-comment rulemaking for over one-third of the major rules issued between 2003 and 2010. This means that a significant percentage of new regulations expected to have an impact of $100 million or more on the economy are given the force of law without public input. GAO finds a sharp increase in the practice of issuing a final regulation without first seeking public comment in 2009, when 40 percent of all major final rules were issued without notice and comment, compared to 26 percent in 2008. It recommends that the executive branch take greater care to ensure agencies consider and address public comments on new rules, but Congress is also responsible for this trend and could take steps to ensure regulations are more transparent and accountable.

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