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April 27, 2017

OMB Director Mulvaney Floats Demonstrably False Conspiracy Theory on Regulatory Costs

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Mick Mulvaney, director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has floated an outrageous and demonstrably false allegation that government officials are intentionally undercounting regulatory costs to justify protecting the public. Mulvaney’s fantastical rantings are the sort of conspiracy theories you’d expect to hear in the right-wing fever swamps, not in the White House budget office.

Here are the facts. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have gone to extraordinary lengths to calculate regulatory costs – relying on estimates supplied by regulated industries that over and over have been shown to be inflated. If anything, costs to industry are being overcounted, while the benefits of public protections – many of which are difficult to quantify and monetize – are being undercounted.

Mulvaney’s claims are even more concerning given that the Trump administration has parroted wildly inflated estimates on the overall costs of regulation – relying on fabricated studies from corporate special interests that have been thoroughly discredited and debunked, and are in direct conflict with nearly two decades of regulatory cost data from OMB under the Obama and George W. Bush administrations.

If Mulvaney is laying the groundwork for turning his conspiracy theories into official government figures, he must be stopped now.

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