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Executive Order 13563 was accompanied by a Memorandum from the President on the subject of “Regulatory Compliance,” issued the same day. The Memorandum instructed agencies with substantial regulatory responsibilities to disclose to the public information about their regulatory inspections, citations, reviews, warnings, revocations, and other regulatory compliance and enforcement activities. The Memorandum further directed agencies to provide such information in a centralized way that is accessible and searchable online, and to promote “new public uses” of this information.
It also instructs the federal government’s Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Officer to help agencies develop ways to make their compliance and enforcement information searchable across agencies.
The Memorandum should lead to greater transparency of regulatory agencies’ compliance and enforcement records. Such transparency will promote greater government accountability, as the agencies with weak compliance and enforcement records will be more readily revealed. At the same time, greater disclosure of regulatory compliance and enforcement information will also provide more accountability of chronic bad actors who fail to comply with the law, especially across multiple regulatory areas. This in turn will help level the playing field among regulated entities, and provide citizens with information they need to make more informed decisions. All of these consequences constitute express purposes of the Memorandum.
Given its breadth, implementation of the Memorandum will require sustained commitment by regulatory agencies over the next months and years. Agencies have developed preliminary draft implementation plans, and during 2011 will finalize their implementation plans and begin to make new regulatory compliance and enforcement information publically available. In fact, many agencies have already begun to make their compliance and enforcement activities accessible to the public. The Memorandum will require all executive branch regulatory agencies to do so, and to expand the information they already provide, in increasingly searchable ways.