- The Washington Times - Monday, August 7, 2017

President Trump’s assault on Obama-era regulations isn’t sitting well with some House Democrats, who asked the White House on Monday for documents to shed light on the president’s regulatory task force.

“We write to express our alarm concerning the lack of transparency, accountability, and independence of the Regulatory Reform Task Forces,” wrote top Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“It is unacceptable for federal agencies to operate in such a clandestine and unaccountable manner especially when the result could be the undoing of critical public health and safety protections,” the Democrats wrote.

The letter, from Reps. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Gerry Connolly of Virginia and David Cicilline of Rhode Island, seeks documents outlining the work of task forces cutting regulations at each federal agency, including the names of members, their titles and communications from meetings.

The request was sent to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and to Neomi Rao, administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Mr. Trump signed an executive order in February creating task forces at Cabinet agencies aimed at reducing regulations, as part of his overall effort to roll back rules that he said are hurting businesses.

The House Democrats said the task forces “must have an effective and transparent guard against conflicts of interest, especially those in which industry lobbyists seek to overturn environmental and health protections for financial gain.”

“It appears that the current task forces are already failing on this front, and instead are actively hiding their members and their meetings from public view,” they said, adding that some of them have refused to release basic information about their activities in defiance of the Federal Records Act.

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