September 19, 2021

Information Quality Act

Information Quality Act
The Administrative State Project
The Administrative State Project Badge.png
Five Pillars of the Administrative State
• Nondelegation
• Judicial deference
• Executive control
• Procedural rights
• Agency dynamics

The Information Quality Act (IQA), also referred to as the Data Quality Act (DQA), is a federal law passed in 2000 requiring the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to “provide policy and procedural guidance to Federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by Federal agencies.” The IQA amended the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.[1][2][3][4]

The Information Quality Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton (D) as part of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001, a more than 700-page bill addressing a number of different topics.

Although the law did not have its own title at the time it was passed, it came to be known as both the Information Quality Act and the Data Quality Act. The legislation amended the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995.[1]

According to a 2004 report about the IQA by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the 1995 PRA “already required OMB to develop and oversee the implementation of policies, principles, standards, and guidelines to apply to federal agency dissemination of public information.

The PRA also required agencies to manage their information resources to improve the integrity, quality, and utility of information to all users within and outside the agency.” The IQA added more requirements, including for agencies to establish an error submission and correction process.[1]

The same CRS report also noted that “there were no hearings or debates on this provision and no committee reports were filed.” It further stated that U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R) “is generally regarded as the primary sponsor of the IQA,” although according to a footnote, “some press reports attribute the IQA to Jim Tozzi, a former OMB official,” who at the time headed the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.[1]

An article on the IQA published by the Center for Progressive Reform, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., claims that “most of Members of Congress voted on the bill without knowing of the provision’s existence.”[4]

The IQA is a short piece of legislation consisting of two provisions. The first provision directs the Office of Management and Budget to issue information quality guidelines for federal agencies to follow:

“ (a) IN GENERAL. — The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall, by not later than September 30, 2001, and with public and Federal agency involvement issue guidelines under sections 3504(d)(1) and 3516 of title 44, United States Code, that provide policy and procedural guidance to Federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by Federal agencies in fulfillment of the purposes and provisions of chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, commonly referred to as the Paperwork Reduction Act.[1][5] ”

The second provision of the IQA sets out requirements for those guidelines, including that affected federal agencies must establish a process for people to submit correction requests when they believe that the information quality guidelines have not been followed:

“ (b) CONTENT OF GUIDELINES. — The guidelines under subsection (a) shall (1) apply to the sharing by Federal agencies of, and access to, information disseminated by Federal agencies; and (2) require that each Federal agency to which the guidelines apply (A) issue guidelines ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by the agency by not later than 1 year after the date of issuance of the guidelines under subsection (a); (B) establish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the guidelines issued under subsection (a); and (C) report periodically to the Director (i) the number and nature of complaints received by the agency regarding the accuracy of information disseminated by the agency; and (ii) how such complaints were handled.[1][5] ”

OMB guidelines implementing the IQA
The IQA directed the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop and issue guidelines to implement the law. Final guidelines implementing the IQA were published in the Federal Register on February 22, 2002 by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), a division of OMB. On October 1, 2002, the guideliness took full effect. By this date, agencies subject to the act were required to do the following:[2][3]

According to a research document about the IQA produced by Bergeson & Campbell, a law firm focused on chemical law and regulation, these guidelines include the following standards for assessing the quality of information and data disseminated by federal agencies:[2]

Provide OMB with agency-specific information quality guidelines
Provide the opportunity for affected parties to file requests for correction
Report periodically to OMB on the number and nature of correction requests

“ The OMB Guidelines define the four substantive criteria information disseminated by federal agencies must meet: quality, utility, objectivity, and integrity. OMB defines ‘quality’ as the encompassing term, of which utility, objectivity, and integrity are the constituents. OMB states that utility ‘refers to the usefulness of the information to the intended users.’

Objectivity ‘focuses on whether the disseminated information is being presented in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner, and as a matter of substance, is accurate, reliable, and unbiased.’ Integrity ‘refers to security — the protection of information from unauthorized access or revision, to ensure that the information is not compromised through corruption or falsification.'[5] ”

—Bergeson & Campbell, “The Information Quality Act” (2003)[2]
Agencies subject to the IQA
According to the legal information website FindLaw, the IQA and subsequent implementing guidelines apply to the same federal agencies subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act:[3]

“ The PRA defines ‘agency’ as ‘any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the executive office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency . . .’ 44 U.S.C. § 3502.

The term ‘agency’ does not include the General Accounting Office, Federal Election Commission, the D.C. government or the territories and possessions of the U.S. or their subdivisions, nor does it include ‘Government-owned contractor-operated facilities, including laboratories engaged in national defense research and production activities.'[5] ”

—FindLaw, “Federal Agencies Subject to Data Quality Act”[3]

Citation Information

Article Title:               Information Quality Act

Website Name:           Ballotpedia        

Publisher:                     Ballotpedia       

Date Published:          References post 2017


Access Date:               Thur 05 March 2020