Accounting for Science: The Independence of Public Research in the New, Subterranean Administrative Law

By Hornstein, Donald T. | Law and Contemporary Problems, Autumn 2003 | Go to article overview

Accounting for Science: The Independence of Public Research in the New, Subterranean Administrative Law


Hornstein, Donald T., Law and Contemporary Problems


INTRODUCTION

The corporate accounting scandals of the early twenty-first century are stark reminders that "the map is not the territory." (1) In the accounting scandals, stock valuations dropped when investors lost confidence in corporate earnings reports giving a true picture of the actual financial territories they purported to map. Currently, the White House Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") is putting the final touches on a new system of regulatory accounting, a system designed to account for the science used by federal agencies in their administrative missions. In light of the corporate accounting scandals, both the timing and shape of the new system of accounting for science are remarkable. It is as if nothing has been learned.

To be sure, OMB's program is sometimes explained simply as an attempt to improve the accuracy of regulatory science. But there are also reasons for concern that OMB's new programs could be used to skew the system by which regulatory science is generated in the first place. Worse, if abused, the new program could undermine precisely the type of independence in research that is currently seen as the necessary corrective policy on the corporate accounting side. Just when investment research department research departments are being insulated from undue influence, the new accounting for science is actually magnifying the influence, corporations can have on what science tells us about the state of the world.

After detailing the legislative contours of OMB's new powers, including the scant record of Congress's delibration over them, this Article analyzes their potential impact--both on the legal regimes affecting regulatory decision-making and, perhaps more fundamentally, on the institution of independent scientific research itself. In Part II, this Article identifies within OMB's programs the expanded boundaries of a new, subterranean battleground in administrative law, one in which the scent of future regulation is caught by stakeholders who then battle to shape the scientific facts on which future regulation may be based. The result in administrative law terms is something akin to hard-look review taken across the dimension of time and space. Now, in the name of ensuring "good science," a very hard look indeed is applied almost at the moment of regulatory conception, when the first factual glimmerings of problems in the real world begin to be discerned by scientists. If a new term must be coined for this development, perhaps it should be known as the "withering-look" doctrine. So it is that William Kovacs, a vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, predicts that OMB's new programs "will have the most profound impact on federal regulations since the Administrative Procedure Act was enacted in 1946 ... by ensuring that [the Environmental Protection Agency] uses better science, and by giving industry additional grounds to sue." (2)

In Part III, this Article discusses the danger to science itself. To be clear, the danger is not simply a heightening of the contest over what constitutes "good science" that has become such a fixture in health, safety, and environmental rulemaking. Rather, the danger involves a radical new level of disputation, in which warring stakeholders can reach back up the scientific pipeline to federally supported research laboratories and exert a distorting influence on what is generated in the first place and on what citizens can be told by agencies about the range of scientific opinion on matters of political concern. At its worst, the new program could support an official truth squad of political appointees at OMB to ensure that all science is "good" and a cadre of stakeholder vigilantes with the ability to harass scientific researchers who have produced results with which they disagree. It is little wonder then, that in contrast to the virtual absence of congressional deliberation, implementation of OMB's new programs has been opposed at various points by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, (3) the National Academy of Sciences, (4) the National Institutes of Health, (5) the Council on Undergraduate Research, (6) and the Association of American Universities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Accounting for Science: The Independence of Public Research in the New, Subterranean Administrative Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.