Comments submitted during the rule-making process can be made public according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Policy on Ex Parte Presentations in Rulemaking Proceedings, made public on Aug. 19.
Ex parte presentations refer to “any written or oral communication by any person outside the CFPB that imparts information or argument directed to the merits or outcome of a rulemaking proceeding.”
“Once the CFPB publishes a proposed rule in the Federal Register or on the CFPB’s website, the ex parte policy comes into play. The policy also comes into play when the CFPB publishes an interim final rule with a request for comment,” writes Len Kennedy, CFPB general counsel.
The policy requires that individuals who make an oral or written presentation to “decision-making personnel” at the CFPB to file a memorandum no later than three business days after the presentation. This written memo on the oral presentation must include the following information about the presentation: the date, a summary of data presented and arguments made, and a list of all people attending. The memo must be submitted to the rulemaking docket, the CFPB Executive Secretary and all CFPB staff present.
Excluded from the definition of ex parte presentations are: statements by any person made in a public meeting, hearing, conference or similar event; a public medium such as a newspaper, magazine or blog; communications that are “inadvertently or casually made”; inquiries limited to the status of a rulemaking or concerning compliance with procedural requirements; or communications that occur as part of the CFPB’s regular, supervisory, monitoring, research, and/or other statutory responsibilities, which are not intended to influence the outcome of a rulemaking proceeding.
Generally speaking, comments from members of Congress and staff at other federal agencies do not require disclosure.