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Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sen. Hatch Demands Release Of Secret Reagan-Era DOJ Tax Memo Supporting Obama's Expansive Use Of Presidential Power

Washington Times, Orrin Hatch Demands Secret Memo That’s Aided Obama Executive Actions:

President Obama’s unilateral pen-and-phone approach to governing has been aided by a decades-old secret memo that allows him to avoid economic scrutiny of some of the most intrusive rules and regulations his administration has issued, a top senator said Thursday.

Now Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and chairman of the Finance Committee, has demanded Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew release the 1983 memorandum of understanding and defend the Reagan-era policy that has let Mr. Obama pursue changes on everything from corporate taxes to Obamacare without first giving a full heads-up to Congress.

“This non-public MOU between the Treasury and White House further cloaks the regulatory process in secrecy and decreases regulatory transparency at a time when the Executive Branch is attempting to achieve a great deal of policy through regulatory measures generally and tax regulations specifically,” Mr. Hatch wrote to Mr. Lew.

Under federal law, agencies are supposed to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on every “major” new regulation they release, and then give it to Congress ahead of time, so lawmakers get a chance to push back.

But since the 1980s, presidents have refused to comply when it comes to tax regulations, pointing to the 1983 MOU between the Reagan White House and the Treasury Department that concluded tax regulations aren’t “major” and rarely cost the economy, so they don’t have to be subject to the same strict scrutiny. ... Mr. Hatch said releasing the 1983 memo would give “an honest accounting” of how deeply tax regulations reach into the economy.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/05/sen-hatch-deamns-public-release-of-secret-reagan-era-doj-tax-memo-supporting-obamas-expansive-use-of.html

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“This is the most transparent administration in history,” Obama said during a Google Plus “Fireside” Hangout. “I can document that this is the case,” he continued. “Every visitor that comes into the White House is now part of the public record. Every law we pass and every rule we implement we put online for everyone to see.”
-- from thehill.com, Feb. 14, 2013.

Posted by: TexEcon | May 3, 2016 7:45:18 AM