Sunstein touts WH record on transparency, accountability

One of the White House's top regulators on Wednesday stressed the Obama administration takes public comments submitted on its transparency websites "extremely seriously."

In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Cass Sunstein, the chief of the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), said it was not the case that federal officials ignore criticism of the rules they are required by federal mandate to post for comment on Web sites like RegInfo.gov, OIRA's main hub.

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Rather, Sunstein said, "If you look what's come out of the administration, in final form, public comments are playing a significant role..."

Sunstein later added that the White House's push for transparency, especially on the federal government's Data.gov and IT dashboard websites, has allowed rule making to become more of a "collaborative process."

"We've started to democratize data, we've used openness to promote accountability," Sunstein said, adding disclosure is a "low-cost, high-impact, regulatory tool."

"What transparency does is allow the public to see and to comment on what are the easy cases, what are the hard cases, and how to think about the latter," he added.