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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

Information Quality Guidelines: CRE Issues Legal Opinion Stating that OMB Lacks Authority to Create Exemptions from Data Quality Guidelines
When OMB issued its government-wide Data Quality guidelines, it created a select number of exemptions from the guidelines' applicability. A number of agencies went far beyond the OMB exemptions to such a degree as to nearly eviscerate the Data Quality Act. CRE has issued a legal opinion that concludes OMB and the other federal agencies lack authority to create exemptions from the Data Quality guidelines. CRE's opinion is based on the fact that the Data Quality guidelines are issued under the Information Dissemination requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act. 44 U.S.C. 3504(d)(1); 3516 note. That portion of the PRA which codifies the Data Quality Act is actually entitled "Paperwork Reduction Act Guidelines." 44 U.S.C. 3516 note. Congress clearly intended that these guidelines apply to all information that federal agencies in fact make public.

Before OMB promulgated its current Data Quality guidelines, it implemented the PRA's Information Dissemination provisions through Circular A-130. The OMB Circular contained a much broader definition of "dissemination" than OMB's current guidelines. Based on CRE's legal analysis, CRE believes that OMB and the other federal agencies must at least return to the definition of dissemination in Circular A-130 when issuing and applying Data Quality guidelines under the PRA.

CRE recommends that all interested stakeholders discuss CRE's legal opinion with agency General Counsels.

  • Review the CRE Legal memorandum
  • CRE Regulatory Services
  • Submit a comment