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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

Net Neutrality and the Paperwork Reduction Act
There are multiple allegations that the FCC is not complying with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) with respect to last year's as yet unpublished Net Neutrality rule.

One media outlet stated that the FCC has not yet filed its December 21st rule at the Federal Register because "they are only now in the process of complying with the PRA." A major telecom trade association stated on their blog that "the Commission's proposed information collection process for its Net Neutrality Order violates the PRA."

FCC non-compliance with the PRA is a long-standing concern for regulatory watchdogs. For example, with respect to the Commission's Broadcast Localism rulemaking, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness found that the FCC was asking for PRA comments without disclosing their burden estimates or information use plans.

In comments to the FCC, CRE explained, the "impossibility of providing meaningful comment on the NPRM's proposed collection of information...since any specific information collection and the specifics of the rule itself are so closely intertwined. Unfortunately, the description of the proposed rule on which the FCC is requesting comment is nothing but a series of hypothetical questions that give no substantive clue regarding what data the agency actually intends to collect and how it intends to use that data."

The PRA is not intended as a mere formality. Instead, the PRA is, or should be, an essential tool for regulating the regulatory process. As CRE explained in a white paper, agency certifications under the PRA and corporate certifications under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act "are public and private sector counterparts; the primary difference being that the PRA lacks a credible enforcement mechanism."

  • Click here to read Obama Administration Ignores Federal Law to Regulate Internet
  • Click here to read CRE PRA comments to the FCC
  • Click here to read APHIS' Federal Register notice requesting comments
  • Click here to read CRE white paper, Paperwork Reduction Act Certifications: The Sarbanes-Oxley for the Public Sector