Notice & Comment

ABA Section of Administrative Law Recommends Research Projects for ACUS, by Levon Schlichter and Lynn White

In addition to sending robust recommendations to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team on administrative law issues for the new administration to consider, the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice (“Section”) also recently sent several recommendations for potential research projects to the Administrative Conference of the United States (“ACUS”). These recommendations are very timely as the new administration will likely seek to roll-back the tide of regulations from the previous administration and may look to ACUS, the independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process, for guidance and support.

A summary of the proposed research projects is provided below, with the full description of the recommendations available here:

  • Analyze agency collection and expenditure of user fees and how this impacts Congress’ role in the appropriations process.
  • Research the prevalence of agencies regulating other agencies (i.e. the Postal Rate Commission regulates the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, the U.S. Maritime Administration regulates what cargo carriers are used by the U.S. Agency for International Development, etc.).
  • Review agency processes for implementing and reviewing executive orders.
  • Evaluate agency practices and procedures for conducting economic analysis of major rules.
  • Research whether federal grantmaking agencies impose grant conditions beyond those expressly stated in statute.
  • Analyze “” data to develop metrics regarding users and whether the use of the website has had a significant influence on the rulemaking process.
  • Review how agencies allocate resources between compliance assistance and enforcement.
  • Evaluate whether deferring complex rulemaking issues to public guidance is consistent with the Administrative Procedures Act.
  • Review the legality of ex parte communications with Congress during rulemaking and whether the communications should influence agency rulemaking.


This post is part of the Administrative Conference Update series, which highlights new and continuing projects, upcoming committee meetings, proposed and recently adopted recommendations, and other news about the Administrative Conference of the United States. The series is further explained here, and all posts in the series can be found here.

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