ACUS is Back

The President just appointed all 10 members of the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) including OMB’s own Preeta Bansal, our General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor, as Vice Chair of the Council, and Michael Fitzpatrick, our Associate Administrator at OIRA, as a member of the ACUS Council.  Five of the 10 Council members are distinguished individuals from the private sector.
You may not have heard of ACUS, and that’s because it was recently resurrected after a 14-year hiatus. We’re happy that it’s back since ACUS complements many of the activities that OMB does. 
Under the Administrative Conference Act, ACUS is tasked with developing recommendations for improving the fairness and effectiveness of the rulemaking, adjudication, licensing, investigative, and other functions by which federal agencies administer government programs.  Some of ACUS’s past recommendations resulted in major changes in the federal administrative process and improvements in the procedures of individual agencies.  For instance, a judicial review recommendation prompted the enactment of Public Law 100-236 in 1988 which saved the government millions of dollars in battles over which court should hear an appeal. As Supreme Court Justice Breyer once noted, ACUS recommendations "can make it easier for citizens to understand what government agencies are doing to prevent arbitrary government actions that could cause harm."  And as the Congressional Research Service concluded in 2007:  "ACUS’s past accomplishments in providing nonpartisan, nonbiased, comprehensive, and practical assessments and guidance with respect to a wide range of agency processes, procedures, and practices are well documented."
In Preeta and Michael, ACUS is getting some of the best of OMB. As the General Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor, Preeta oversees all legal matters at OMB. She previously served as Solicitor General of New York; partner at a major international law firm; Chair of the bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens; counselor in the United States Department of Justice; and Special Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel.  

As the Associate Administrator at OIRA, Michael helps lead the Obama Administration's development of regulatory policy and White House review of significant Executive Branch regulatory actions. He is also the Executive Branch liaison to the ABA’s Administrative Law Section and has led several U.S. delegations in meetings with global leaders. He previously was a partner at a major international law firm, and served as Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, DC as well as Senior Advisor at OIRA in previous public sector roles.
I have spoken a lot lately about finding ways to make government run more efficiently and cutting needless costs. The reinstatement of ACUS is an important step in our collective Administration efforts to run the tightest government ship possible, so I congratulate Preeta and Michael on their appointments and look forward to watching the Conference’s progress.

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