The Data Quality Act (DQA) has been in existence for some fifteen years. Although a handful of practitioners have had considerably more than a modest success in its implementation the public as a whole has not taken advantage of this powerful instrument.
In its most basic form the DQA allows the public to challenge any piece of data disseminated by a federal agency; of equal importance the petitioners who exercise this challenge are armed with a statute which places a requirement on federal agencies to disseminate only that data which is reproducible and unbiased.
Why then has not this powerful mechanism been used by the public at large? In large part the failure of the public to use the DQA is a result of its low profile in the public arena resulting from the fact there is little incentive for most federal agencies to publicize its existence. Why would any organization in or outside the federal government want to publicize a mechanism which allows its followers to question its work product?
Well things are changing! The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) has a major project dedicated to the applicability of the DQA to data published by federal agencies on the internet; practitioners are publicizing its reach and professional organizations such as The ABA Section on Administrative Law are holding seminars on it. In addition the GAO has just published a major study of the Act.
We expect the aforementioned actions soon to be supplemented by the promotional activities of one or more coalitions of stakeholders subject to the long arm of the regulatory state.
CRE has compiled a rich database to support the above efforts including an in-depth analyses of the impact the DQA could have on the proper functioning of international bodies, see this, this, this, this, this and this.
The sector that on the one hand that has the greatest potential benefit from a diligent use of the DQA is the small business sector; on the other hand it is one of the sectors which has seen virtually no utilization of the Act. Accordingly CRE will be contacting representatives of small businesses to get their ideas on issues that the DQA might address.
Washington Post The broad jurisdiction of the DQA
US Government Actions
Proceedings of the Administrative Conference of the United States
CRE Position that the DQA is reviewable
Background on Judicial Review