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EPIC! The Code of Federal Regulations

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If you read the Code of Federal Regulations at 300 words per minute on a full-time basis, it would take you nearly three years to get through just the version of the CFR published in 2012.

Patrick McLaughlin writes: RegData was created to help us understand the size and scope of federal regulation and to enable researchers to learn more about the causes and consequences of regulatory accumulation. But why did we build computer programs to parse federal regulatory code, instead of reading it ourselves?
Because it would have been impossible to read the entire Code of Federal Regulations and make any sense of it. Regulations have piled up and piled up to the point where no individual can make sense of them all.
CFR-read-time-RegData

Why did we build computer programs to parse federal regulatory code, instead of reading it ourselves? Because it would have been impossible to read the entire Code of Federal Regulations and make any sense of it.

[Also see – [VIDEO] WARNING GRAPHIC: Visualizing the Growth of Federal Regulation Since 1950]

The average adult reads prose text at a rate of 250 to 300 words per minute. If you read the Code of Federal Regulations at 300 words per minute on a full-time basis, it would take you nearly three years to get through just the version of the CFR published in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

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State Department Official Confirms: Hillary Decides What Emails We Can See

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Byron Yorkyork writes: The State Department has faced a lot of questions about former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s secret email account, but the most fundamental one is: Do you have them all? Officials at State have said repeatedly that Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of emails from her time at the department. But each time spokeswoman Marie Harf has been asked whether that material — 55,000 pages, not 55,000 emails — represents all of Clinton’s State Department emails, she ends up citing Clinton’s staff, who have told department officials that Clinton has turned over everything that is “responsive” to the department’s hillary-eyesrequest for documents. Clinton, of course, decided what is “responsive” and what is not.

“According to Harf, State depends on the official involved to give everything to the office that answers FOIA requests.”

On Friday, Harf faced another part of the question. Yes, Clinton’s staff has said they have turned over everything, but is the State Department doing anything to make sure that’s really true? It took a long time to get around to the answer, which is “No.”

“But reporters wanted to know: Is there any way to check whether the employee has handed everything over?”

“Will any attempt be made to check whether these are all the emails, or will you just be accepting the secretary’s word on this?” asked a reporter.

“You’re saying that the State Department — for all FOIA requests, it relies on the goodwill of the individuals?”

“Well, as we have said, her staff has said these were all the responsive emails they had to our request, and that’s really a question for her staff to answer,” Harf said.

“Well, no, no,” said the reporter. “My question is: Will the State Department be attempting in any way to verify whether they are all the emails? I mean, what I imagine is there are various methods you can use to look at whether they’re in sequence or whether there are gaps. I mean, will there be any attempt to verify this?”

Harf didn’t have an answer. “Well, a couple points,” she said. “First, as I’ve said, it covers the breadth of her time at the State Department. So it covers the span of when she was here. But — ”

“The request does, but — ” the reporter interjected.

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“No, the records in response cover — the emails she gave us back cover the breadth of her time at the State Department.”

“How do you know that? How do you know they’re all — ”

“Because I know when she started and when she left,” Harf said, “and they correspond to that and they cover all of the time in between.”

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[Also  see – Only the Shadow Knows – Maureen Dowd, NYT]

[Also see – More Proof That State Dept. Spox Marie Harf Is Terrible At Her Job]

Reporters were still skeptical. “But you don’t know that there’s gaps or deleted emails or some that just weren’t sent,” one said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] WARNING GRAPHIC: Visualizing the Growth of Federal Regulation Since 1950

Senior Research Fellow Patrick McLaughlin demonstrates the growth of federal regulation in the United States since 1950 by stacking books from the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

The red and black colors do not signify anything relevant to this demonstration. The federal government releases partial updates to the CFR on a quarterly basis and changes the color from one year to the next.

Book stacks for 1950, 1970, and 1990 are represented using the average size volume in 2013, which is roughly 750 pages long. Stack size is calculated by dividing the page count in those years by 750 pages. The data for page counts in the CFR comes from here.

 


Regulation nation: Obama expands the regulatory state

By Ben Goad and Julian Hattem 

President Obama has overseen a dramatic expansion of the regulatory state that will outlast his time in the White House.

The reach of the executive branch has advanced steadily on his watch, further solidifying the power of bureaucrats who churn out regulations that touch nearly every aspect of American life and business.

Experts debate whether federal rulemaking has accelerated under Obama, but few dispute that Washington — for better or worse — is reaching deeper than ever before into the workings of society.

“It would be difficult for anyone to pretend that this isn’t a high water mark in terms of regulation,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office who now heads the American Action Forum.

Read the rest of this entry »