ACRE Alum Momand Discusses How Citizens Can Improve Regulations

By Caleb Taylor

Federal regulators do read the comments, but are you submitting any?

Former ACRE Research Fellow and UCA Schedler Honors College alum Maleka Momand was a guest at the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Teleforum, The Commenting Power: Agency Accountability through Public Participation, on March 21st to discuss the federal “notice and comment rulemaking process” under the Administrative Procedure Act. Federal commenting gives private individuals the opportunity to submit their opinion in favor or in opposition to a federal agency on a proposed rule or regulation before it is implemented.

Momand is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Esper, a technology platform for government to evaluate and manage regulatory policy. She formerly served as President of Argive, a non-profit in Silicon Valley that researches ways to improve regulatory processes at the state and federal levels.

Momand said:

“Most people don’t even know that you can comment on regulations.”

Momand is the co-author of an Argive report Improving A Perspective from Silicon Valley published in June, 2017 about how to make the federal rulemaking website more user-friendly. The report notes that federal comments are often submitted by interest groups which tend to favor “large incumbent interests” instead of “small or start-up businesses.”

Momand said:

“Feedback can be distorted when interest groups or other parties trick the system by having thousands of individuals submit a carbon copy comment. It really adds a lot of noise to the document and it is difficult to filter through what has already been submitted versus what is new.”

In the Argive report, Momand and her co-authors suggest that add “dynamic features that encourage user participation” in order to increase the share of non-interest group respondents.

Momand said that federal commenting is a “huge check on agency rulemaking” that is “often underutilized and overlooked” by citizens.

You can listen to the full conversation between Momand; Donald Kochan, Chapman University School of Law Professor; and Devon Westhill, Director of the Regulatory Transparency Project at The Federalist Society.