A Political Scientist as the Administrator of OIRA: The Modernization of Centralized Regulatory Review

The Modernization of OIRA: A Political Scientist to Head OIRA —  Historically a profession long on holistic research

I was instrumental in the establishment of the regulatory review office, OIRA, in the White House Office of Management and Budget. OIRA is often referred to as the most important office that you “never heard of”. The position as the Administrator of the office is vacant. I am writing to encourage you and your colleagues  to examine the aforementioned position and pursuant to the President’s directive to modernize OIRA that you encourage those who wish to serve in the position and who also have a background in political/social science to take the necessary steps to be considered as  a candidate.

The bottom line is that after twenty years of debate, five Presidential Administrations and  the Congress finally agreed to the centralized regulatory review of regulations by OMB based  upon its  program evaluation expertise not upon its legal expertise. Consequently a “modernization” of the regulatory process should begin with the installation of a multidisciplinary leadership within OIRA.


Over forty years ago OIRA was established to embed economic analyses into federal rulemaking, an objective that has been achieved. Only at its onset has OIRA been managed by two economists; in the intervening years the legal profession has dominated the lead position. Consequently it is time that OIRA’s mission be revisited with an emphasis on making it a multidisciplinary organization at the leadership level. In moving OIRA to a multidisciplinary organization at the leadership level it must be noted that federal regulatory policy is established by the Administrator of OIRA not its Deputy.

With the passage of time the social sciences, particularly political scientists, have not only become well versed in the operations of OIRA but they also study its interrelationships with its complementary components within the administrative state. If one is going to modernize OIRA operations is it not appropriate to make it a multidisciplinary organization at the leadership level? OIRA can be converted to a multidisciplinary organization  by nominating as its leader  a political/social scientist as its nominee when the President submits  his  forthcoming  nomination for the Administrator of OIRA to the Senate.

By taking the aforementioned actions the President will be strengthening his  mandate to “modernize” the regulatory process by bringing in an individual from a well-established field of educational endeavor known for its holistic view of the administrative state. The legal and economics professions have dominated the regulatory oversight function for more than four decades; as the President decreed, it is time for a ” modernization”.

Finally, OIRA does not issue rules; it merely comments on them. Agencies have scores of attorneys to ensure that OIRA comments are commensurate with prevailing statutes.

SSRN on political science: “Political Science is concerned with how power is distributed and wielded at every level, from the household to globally, and everywhere in between”. What better profession to take a look at the oversight process to give it a “modernization”?

 Actions to Date

CRE has two recent publications which address steps that could be taken to modernize OIRA:

(1)  Management of the Administrative State      August 2020

(2)  Congressional Review of Judge-Made Law.

A Library

A link to the above text: https://www.thecre.com/forum8/?p=6995


Jim Tozzi







1 comment. Leave a Reply

  1. Max

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