Require agencies to
change their falsehoods under the "Information Quality Act"
Congress passed the Information Quality Act to require government agencies
to tell the truth, and to respond and correct their facts when citizens point
But agencies get stuck in their lies and decline to
follow this law. In particular, there's a current court case against HHS
regarding whether marijuana has any legitimate use in medicine. The agency has
argued to the court that despite the Act, they have no obligation to revise
facts that they publish, and that citizens have no standing to take an agency to
court to make it correct its lies. The District Court bought this argument; the
case is now in the 9th Circuit.
The Obama administration should by
Executive Order require agencies to correct their falsehoods, and to submit to
the jurisdiction of the courts and the standing of requesters in doing so. And
if the courts determine that the IQA does not provide sufficient jurisdiction
for a lawsuit, it should be revised by Congress to have enough teeth that lying
agencies can be brought, kicking and screaming, to the truth.
Why Is This Idea Important?
Obama claims that his administration's policies will be based on truth, not
falsehood; and on sound science. The agencies currently make a mockery of this,
denying knowledgeable citizens the tools to force agencies to retract their
false statements, publish the truth, and base their policies and rulemaking on
the truth. Thirteen states make marijuana legal as a medicine. Many hundreds of
thousands of patients are using it today, under the care of tens of thousands of
doctors. Yet HHS, FDA and DEA all persist in claiming there is "no accepted
medical use" of marijuana. Close to 70% of the public accepts marijuana as a
useful medicine, both in polls and when they have a chance to vote to make it
legal (63% in Nov 2008 in Michigan). This is one of the more blatant examples of
federal policies that are for political reasons deliberately and systematically
based on a long-standing falsehood. Obama should not let it stay that way.