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Senate Should Reject Trump’s Regs Czar, Who Is Ideologically Opposed to Regulating

June 6, 2017

Senate Should Reject Trump’s Regs Czar, Who Is Ideologically Opposed to Regulating

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will hold a confirmation hearing for Neomi Rao, President Donald Trump’s nominee for administrator of the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

We need someone in the position of OIRA administrator who believes that federal agencies play a vital role in protecting the public. Professor Neomi Rao, evidently, does not. Instead, it is clear that Trump appointed her to defang regulatory agencies, gut regulatory protections and give corporations a free hand to pollute and pilfer, poison and profiteer.

Rao comes from the Koch-funded George Mason University Law School. In her writings, she has demonstrated a profound hostility to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and to independent regulatory agencies in general, having called for independent agencies to submit to OIRA review. This puts her at odds with both Republican and Democratic members of HSGAC, who have repeatedly stressed the importance of protecting independent agencies from improper corporate and political interference.

Even more disturbingly, Rao has voiced support for the so-called “nondelegation” doctrine – a fringe belief, verging on a conspiracy theory, that large swaths of agency authority have been delegated unconstitutionally by Congress. This point of view contradicts decades of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence and indicates in no uncertain terms that Rao is ideologically opposed to the concept of protecting the public through regulation.

Rao’s extreme views make clear that she is opposed to the most basic tenets of the OIRA administrator job description. This may be a boon to corporations that share Steve Bannon’s sinister vision of “deconstructing the administrative state,” but it would be an unmitigated disaster for American workers, consumers, families and our environment.

Rao has no business at OIRA, and Senate HSGAC members should reject her nomination.