Comment ‘Pawns’ Helped Kill DOL Fiduciary Rule: House Hearing Witness
February 11, 2020 by Allison Bell
At least some members of the House Financial Services Committee say that fake public commenters have hurt the integrity of the public comment processes for new federal regulations — including the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule effort.
The House Financial Services oversight subcommittee held a hearing on public comment integrity in Washington, last week. The subcommittee gave the hearing the title, “Fake It Till They Make It: How Bad Actors Use Astroturfing to Manipulate Regulators, Disenfranchise Consumers and Subvert the Rulemaking Process.”
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, the subcommittee chairman, said “astroturfing” is “the practice of creating the false appearance of grassroots support for a particular policy or position where none exists, often to the benefit of shadowy, well-financed interests, and to the detriment of the general public.”
Witnesses talked about the effects of fake comments on efforts to develop environmental regulations, banking regulations, and financial services sales standards.