The Regulatory Transparency Project: the Federalist Society’s New Project

This week I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Koren W. Wong-Ervin, Director of the Global Antitrust Institute, and Adjunct Professor of Law at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Virginia about an exciting project led by the Federalist Society.

The Federalist Society has put together a group of experts dedicated to working on an important new initiative called The Regulatory Transparency Project. Experts like Professor Wong-Ervin are compiling data into a study to show specific examples of how overregulation obstructs innovation and puts consumers at a disadvantage.

Specifically, the project includes a committee that is exploring global antitrust regulations, and how these harmful regulations thwart innovation, businesses, and consumers overall.

The exciting new project goal’s are a victory for businesses and consumers, informing the general public about the harmful affects of over-regulation in the new digital age.

“In the ultra-complex, interconnected, and breakneck-speed digital age in which we live, government must issue and enforce regulations to protect public health and safety,” the project description reads. “However, despite the best of intentions, government regulation can fail, can stifle innovation, can foreclose opportunity, and can harm the most vulnerable among us. It is for precisely these reasons that we must be diligent in reviewing how our policies either succeed or fail us, and think about how we might improve them.”

“The Federalist Society officially began work on the RTP in May 2016 by assembling 12 working groups, each composed of experts in specific fields of regulatory law and policy. The activities of these teams to-date have laid the initial intellectual foundation of the RTP by identifying excesses of the administrative state in this country. Each working group will continue identifying such excesses while simultaneously working to bring attention to these issues by participating in other activities such as teleforum calls, media interviews, opinion editorials, panel discussions, video interviews, and issue briefings – all of which will be shared here. Our goal is to foster a national conversation around the issue of regulatory excess and the harms it causes. We invite you to join us in this critical examination and to tell us your story if you, a friend, a family member, or a client have been impacted by burdensome regulation.”

Professor Wong-Ervin is excited about the new project, which she is working with co-chair of the project and former Federal Trade Commissioner Joshua D. Wright on.

“Our working group is examining regulatory areas intended to promote competition among business and consumer welfare,” she said. “For example, the working group will explore where regulations and regulatory institutions have been turned from devices to promote consumer welfare and competition into schemes to protect established industries and to dampen competition and innovation. Such a critical review will lead to a better appreciation of the potential costs of poorly-designed antitrust and consumer protection policies.”

The project’s first panel discussion will be held on August 9th at noon, with Professor Wong-Ervin moderating.

“Every state has laws or regulations that require individuals seeking to offer a certain service to the public first to obtain approval from the state before they may operate in the state,” the panel description reads. “Recent years have seen a significant proliferation of such laws, with less than 5% of jobs in the American economy requiring a license in the 1950’s to between 25-30% today. Although licensing in some occupations may benefit the public by reducing information asymmetry and/or ensuring a minimum quality level for a particular service, the significant growth in the number of occupations governed by some form of licensing requirements poses a potential threat to competition and consumer welfare. Our panel of experts will discuss these important issues.”

The panel will feature the Honorable Maureen Ohlhausen, Acting Chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and James Cooper, Associate Professor, Scalia Law School at George Mason University as guest speakers. More guest speakers will be announced at a later date, and the panel can be attended in person or via teleconference.

For more updates on The Federalist Society’s new project, please follow @FedSocRTP on Twitter.

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