Monday, May 07, 2007

Son of Shelby

Read Don Kennedy's editorial "Turning the Tables with Mary Jane" in the current issue of Science magazine.

Senator Richard Shelby introduced an Amendment to the 1999 Omnibus Appropriation Bill charging the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to guarantee access, under the Freedom of Information Act, to data produced with the use of federally funded research. After two rounds of rule-making, OMB issued a final order putting the Shelby Amendment in regulatory form.

The Data Quality Act (DQA), an 2000 amendment to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, as implemented by OMB required each agency to establish guidelines ensuring the "quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity" of information it disseminates. Its author, according to Kennedy, was an industry lobbyist named Jim Tozzi, who had also worked on the Shelby Amendment. Thus, the DQA is often called "Son of Shelby."
The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, headed by none other than Jim Tozzi, urged its constituents to use DQA to challenge the "junk science" offered to support health and environmental regulation. Naturally, the Center for Progressive Reform exhorted its troops to get active on the other side. Who won? It wasn't even close. By 2004, the Washington Post had counted 39 serious challenges under the DQA, of which 32 had been filed by industry or industry organizations.