Sunshine on the Administrative Process: Wherein Lies the Shade
21 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2010
Date Written: Summer 1976
There has been growing public and congressional opinion in favor of legislation requiring the federal agencies to open their deliberations to public scrutiny. Congress is about to enact legislation that will open many agency meetings to the public. And, some federal agencies, such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, have adopted policies whereby most of the meetings of the Commission itself are open to the public. Just how much public scrutiny is necessary and desirable has become the topic of considerable debate.
The hearings and debates on so-called "sunshine" requirements have tended to break down into two mobs of sorts, one desiring complete public access to governmental decision making processes and another wishing as little disclosure as will placate current public opinion. Whatever the outcome of this debate, it now appears that some form of "sunshine" legislation will be adopted by Congress for federal regulatory agencies. This article will explore some of the areas of concern to federal regulators with respect to that legislation, discuss some of the practical problems that “sunshine” poses in an administrative setting and consider its feasibility.
Keywords: Sunshine, legislation, public scrutiny, disclosure, personal privacy, trade secrets, business information, Freedom of Information Act, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
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