ILMA Compoundings - November/December 2020 - 34

COUNSEL COMPOUND

Will Agency
Enforcement Reform
Usher in the New Year?
By Jeff Leiter

S

o many of us cannot wait for
2020 to be in the rearview mirror. The COVID-19 pandemic,
natural disasters and this year's elections have left us anxious for a fresh
start in 2021. Despite the constant
political drama in Washington, D.C.,
the government continues to operate,
and I would like to highlight a recent
memorandum that directs executive
branch agencies to reform how they
enforce their regulations. While the
best practices and recommendations
set out in the memorandum will
need to be formally incorporated by
agencies through notice-and-comment
rulemaking, consider it a " start. "
The memorandum, identified as
" Memorandum M-20-31, " was issued
on Aug. 31, by the White House
Office of Management and Budget's
(OMB) Office of Information and
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). This
memo implements directives from a
presidential executive order for federal
agencies to adopt certain best practices
and procedures to promote fairness
in administrative enforcement actions
and adjudications. The memo directs
federal agencies to implement measures to provide greater due process to
targets of investigations and subsequent
enforcement actions, and to promote
greater transparency and accountability
when pursuing these actions and civil
penalties. If followed through on by

34

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

the federal agencies, the memo's directives would result in substantive and
procedural revisions to administrative
rules of practice. Having represented
many companies over the years in civil
enforcement cases, particularly before
the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), such changes are long overdue.
President Donald Trump initiated
the process last May when he signed
Executive Order 13924, " Executive
Order on Regulatory Relief to Support
Economic Recovery, " to help mitigate the economic impacts from the
COVID-19 pandemic. Executive
Order 13924, in part, orders federal
agencies to " address [the pandemic] by
rescinding, modifying, and waiving or
providing exemptions from regula-

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

tions and other requirements that may
inhibit economic recovery... " and
sets forth 10 principles to guide the
agencies. OIRA's memo identifies best
practices for each of these 10 principles and sets a Nov. 26 deadline for
agencies to commence any necessary
rulemaking. Importantly, Executive
Order 13924 and the memo apply
to all executive branch departments
and agencies, including independent
agencies, such as the Federal Trade
Commission, the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Let me first address the portion of
the memo dedicated to reforming
procedural safeguards. For years, I
have complained that federal agencies,


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ILMA Compoundings - November/December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings - November/December 2020

ILMA Compoundings - November/December 2020 - Cover1
ILMA Compoundings - November/December 2020 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings - November/December 2020 - 1
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