Trump’s Regulatory Bill of Rights

July 16, 2020

by John McClaughry

“President Trump [last May] issued an executive order entitled  ‘Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery.’ The executive order includes a regulatory bill of rights that identifies ‘principles of fairness in administrative enforcement and adjudication’ and commands agencies to revise their procedures accordingly.

Elizabeth Slattery and Jonathan Wood write in the Wall Street Journal: “Here are some of the principles: You should be presumed innocent unless proven guilty of violating a regulation. Agency enforcement should be prompt and fair, not needlessly drawn out. Disputes should be decided by neutral judges, not agency enforcement officials. Agency rules of evidence should be clear and fair, and agencies shouldn’t withhold evidence that is potentially exculpatory. Threatened penalties should be proportionate to the alleged wrong. Agencies shouldn’t coerce you into giving up your rights. Agencies shouldn’t engage in practices that cause unfair surprise. And agency practice should promote, rather than evade, accountability.

“These principles may seem basic, but federal agencies have too often failed to uphold them, They withhold fair notice, use biased rules of evidence, threaten excessive penalties to coerce people into giving up, resist scrutiny by courts and evade democratic accountability.

The protections inherent in Bill of Rights are vital to shielding Americans from arbitrary or abusive government action. The Regulatory Bill of Rights promises the same protections against the regulatory state. 

Even Trump disparagers ought to credit him for taking this long overdue step.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike July 18, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Continuing this kind of leadership is all the more reason to give Trump another 4 years to move the country forward. If Biden ever got in the Oval Office, the country would be sent back to the ice age. We’d see the advances that have been achieved these past four years being thrown in one large dumpster.


doug r July 18, 2020 at 2:48 pm

These thoughts are so basic. How did we get so far away from simple rules, and easy compliance.

Now if you are chosen for attack, there are hundreds of rules you may have violated, even symbolically
and now an obtuse bureaucracy has you are stood on a rickety stool with a noose around your neck,
untill you admit you are guilty of EveryThing, AND that you will never do anything ever again.
Oh, AND you will pay all your money in fines, lay off all your workers and cease to be in business.
Savage press releases will be issued to defame and shame your previously good reputation, for life.

Trump – 4 more years – AND wake up the Republican Party “membership” to continue to lead us to freedom and prosperity.


David July 23, 2020 at 1:23 pm

Bill, this could be fair if it was actually carried out by the Cheeto and his cronies. Sadly, the game here is, he put this out there, but it’s not being adhere to in any way.. It’s sad that you think this is a good thing. Deregulation simply equals excrement is allowed only where the masses lie, the rich, “we’ll keep ourselves clean.


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