CRE is pleased to announce that
Congress has passed and the President has signed important new Data Quality
legislation as part of the FY 2001 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 106-554 section 515). Building upon the Data Quality report language contained in the FY
1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act (Public Law 105-277), this new provision requires
OMB to develop government-wide standards for the quality of information used
and disseminated by the federal government, with such standards to be
completed not later than September 30, 2001. OMB must also include a mechanism
through which the interested public can petition agencies to correct
information which does not meet the OMB standard. Congress has provided for
broad input in developing the Data Quality standard, mandating that OMB shall
seek "public and Federal agency involvement."
In implementing the Data Quality
provision, the Act directs OMB to issue guidelines for Data Quality which
define four key terms – "quality," "objectivity,"
"utility," and "integrity"-- and for other federal
agencies to issue their own conforming guidelines within one year of the
issuance of the OMB guidelines. In addition, agencies are to report
periodically to the Director of OMB regarding the number and nature of Data
Quality complaints received by the agency and how such complaints were
CRE believe that the Data Quality
provision represents a significant advancement of Good Government principles.
Since government information routinely serves as the basis for regulation and
resource allocation, it is imperative that the information on which the
government bases these decision be accurate and valid. CRE believes that the
new Data Quality provisions will further this goal by promoting transparency,
the use of sound science, and formulation of rational regulatory policy.
CRE plans to heed the call of
Congress by staying actively involved in the Data Quality issue during the
implementation phase of these important provisions. CRE will offer its
insights and assistance to OMB as it drafts its generic Data Quality guidance
and to the agencies as they prepare their conforming guidelines.
FY 2001 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law
(b) Content of Guidelines. – The
guidelines under subsection (a) shall –
(2) require that each Federal agency to
which the guidelines apply –
(A) issue guidelines ensuring and maximizing
the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including
statistical information) disseminated by the agency, by not later than 1 year
after the date of issuance of the guidelines under subsection (a);
(B) establish administrative mechanisms
allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information
maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the
guidelines issued under subsection (a); and
(C) report periodically to the Director –
(ii) how such complaints were handled by the
As quoted above, section 515 of the new Data
Quality law notes that its provisions are in furtherance of certain key
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). The
following are the PRA referenced in the Data Quality law.
"The purposes of this chapter are to –
. . .
(2) ensure the greatest possible public benefit
from and maximize the utility of information ... disseminated by or for the
. . .
(4) improve the quality and use of Federal
information to strengthen decisionmaking, accountability, and openness in
Government and society;
. . .
(7) provide for the dissemination of public
information on a timely basis, on equitable terms, and in a manner that
promotes the utility of the information to the public and makes effective use
of information technology;
. . .
(9) ensure the integrity, quality, and utility
of the Federal statistical system;
. . .
(11) improve the responsibility and
accountability of the Office of Management and Budget and all other Federal
agencies to Congress and to the public for implementing the ... policies and
guidelines established under this chapter."
§ 3504. Authority and functions of the
. . .
"(d) With respect to information
dissemination, the Director shall develop and oversee the implementation of
policies, principles, standards, and guidelines to –
§ 3516. Rules and regulations
"The Director shall promulgate rules,
regulations, or procedures necessary to exercise the authority provided by
The following report language for
Data Quality accompanied the FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act (Public Law 105-277)
and served as the genesis of the current Data Quality law.
(Cong. Rec. 10/19/98, H. 11508, 1st
"The conference agreement on the Treasury
and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999, incorporates some of the
language and allocations set forth in House Report 105-592 and Senate Report
105-251. The language in these reports should be complied with unless
specifically addressed in the accompanying statement of managers."
House Report 105-592 (at 49-50)
Dissemination of Information
The committee urges the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop, with public and Federal agency involvement, rules providing policy and procedural guidance to Federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by Federal agencies, and information disseminated by non-Federal entities with financial support from the Federal government, in fulfillment of the purposes and provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-13). The Committee expects issuance of these rules by September 30, 1999. The OMB rules shall also cover the sharing of, and access to, the aforementioned data and information, by members of the public. Such OMB rules shall require Federal agencies to develop, within one year and with public participation, their own rules consistent with the OMB rules. The OMB and agency rules shall contain administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to petition for correction of information which does not comply with such rules; and the OMB rules shall contain provisions requiring the agencies to report to OMB periodically regarding the number and nature of petitions or complaints regarding Federal, or Federally-supported, information dissemination, and how such petitions and complaints were handled. OMB shall report to the Committee on the status of implementation of these directives no later than September 30, 1999."