Influence and the Administrative Process: Lobbying the U.S. President’s Office of Management and Budget

All administrative processes contain points of entry for politics, and the U.S. President’s use of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review government regulations is no exception. Specifically, OMB review can open up a pathway for interest groups to lobby for policy change. We theorize that interest group lobbying can be influential during OMB review, especially when there is consensus across groups. We test our argument with over 1,500 regulations written by federal agencies that were subjected to OMB review utilizing a selection model. We find that lobbying is associated with change during OMB review. We also demonstrate that when only business groups lobby, we are more likely to see rule change; however, the same is not true for public interest groups. We supplement these results with illustrative examples suggesting that interest groups can, at times, use OMB review to influence the content of legally binding government regulations.

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