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Jayapal Introduces Legislation to Curb the Influence of Corporations on Federal Agencies

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) is introducing legislation to reduce corporations’ current outsized influence over federal agencies’ rulemaking processes. The Stop Corporate Capture Act is a structural reform to the system, ensuring that consumers and everyday Americans are prioritized over corporate interest.

“Many Americans are taught in civics classes that Congress passes a law and that’s it, but the reality is that any major legislation enacted must also be implemented and enforced by the executive branch to become a reality,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “The rulemaking process is how the regulation to enforce those laws is created, but too often it’s driven by corporate lobbyists and special interests who know exactly how to make these processes benefit their bottom lines at the cost of public interest. My bill will level the playing field and ensure that laws passed for the people actually work for the people.”

“The Stop Corporate Capture Act would make industry and our government more accountable by ensuring that all agency issued rules are based on rigorous studies and free from bias,” said Congressman Cicilline, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Administrative State, Regulatory Reform, and Antitrust. “This is a straightforward, commonsense proposal that puts the American people first and I’m proud to join my friend, Representative Jayapal, in introducing this bill.”

The federal rulemaking process is how governmental agencies implement and enforce the law.  Rulemaking creates essential regulations that carry out the goals of major legislation addressing critical issues like climate change, workers’ rights, and healthcare. It requires agencies to give the public notice of proposed regulations and the opportunity to comment or provide feedback. But presently, industry-backed lobbyists hold more negotiating power in the regulatory process than the general public.   They schedule private meetings with regulators, fund sham scientific studies to submit with public comments, and misrepresent the negative impact of stricter regulatory oversight. Corporate capture of rulemaking puts corporations first. It delays the enforcement of potentially life-saving regulations, while the American people pay the price.

The Stop Corporate Capture Act will curb the influence of lobbyists and corporate interests by:

  • Establishing Rulemaking Transparency: Requires full disclosure of who is funding the scientific, economic, and technical studies submitted to agencies during the rulemaking process, mandates a public explanation for the withdrawal of rules, and requires the public disclosure of any changes made to a regulatory proposal during the rulemaking process. 
  • Eliminating Industry-Backed Delays to Rulemaking and Implementation: Limits judicial interference with public interest rules and accelerates the rulemaking review process. 
  • Empowering the Public to Hold Agencies Accountable: Fines corporations that lie to the government about whether a public interest rule would cost their shareholders, establishes an Office of the Public Advocate in the Office of Government Ethics to serve as an advocate for public interests, creates a cause of action for citizens to sue corporations that violate the rules and agencies for failure to enforce the law, and requires the government to respond to citizen petitions.

Jayapal introduced the legislation originally in the 117th Congress, where it received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives David Cicilline (RI-01), Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ted Lieu (CA-36), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), Mary Scanlon (PA-07), Mark Takano (CA-39), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14).

It is also supported by the Coalition on Sensible Safeguards.