Guidance documents are statements of policy issued by your favorite alphabet soup of agencies, which more often than not translate into law, despite rarely going through the notice-and-public comment period required of most regulations. Wayne Crews’ study “A Partial Eclipse of the Administrative State” puts the number of guidance documents—just one form of “regulatory dark matter”—at more than 13,000 over the period 2008-2017.
Looking at what our government has done in the past can give us a good idea of what they might be up to in the future, so here is a look at how granular such guidance documents can be. Each one might be small, but when there are 13,000 of them per decade, mostly without outside review or accountability, they add up. This week takes another look at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Railroad Retirement Board, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- While there was no easy way to fit this one in, here is an 85-page guidance document on a fatal fireworks accident (see page 238/1830).
- Also, there was 160-page report issued by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board on a fire in West Virginia (see page 69/1830).
- And a whopping 179-page guidance document on deaths in Colorado that could only be explained by, you guessed it, an entire lack of following of regulation (see page 1653/1830).
- A guidance document from the CFPB to protect issuers of loans, because those are the people that need protection the most.
- A guidance document issued to financial institutions to help elderly people indiscriminately. It’s as vague as it sounds.
- Another resource to help you dissect other resources given out by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- The Railroad Retirement Board making sure your homeschool curriculum checks out.
- A special 5-part guidance document on how you might able to apply for the Railroad Retirement Board Benefits for Students.
- The Railroad Retirement Board on how the and when they will go along with a Supreme Court decision on divorce.
- A guidance document for how the SEC should be able to use individuals in their investigations.