tory standards, noted Mr. Tozzi. Access to data is considered a prerequisite to assessing the quality of data used in regulatory decision making.

In recent years, the federal government has concluded that the efforts of various groups to oppose federal regulations in their traditional form had virtually halted the federal regulatory process. As a result, agencies began “off-register regulation”; that is, actions taken outside the Federal Register through appropriations bills, litigation, the release of information, and other means. For example, the Internet was used to publicize studies by federal agencies, which were then interpreted as official agency policy. Such practices were among the stimuli for the newly proposed “data quality legislation.”

Data quality legislation was passed in 2000 as an amendment to the Omnibus Appropriations Act. It specifies that the OMB must issue regulations to define minimum thresholds of data quality that can be disseminated by the federal government. It also declares that the agencies, after the OMB’s action, must issue their own data quality regulations.

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