The Administrative Presidency: Information Collection, Statistical Policy, and Environmental Policy
Information control--collecting and disseminating information and reports--whether by the federal government or by the private sector, confers extraordinary power in modern society. Information Resources Management, a key management concept promoted by the Commission on Federal Paperwork in 1977, deals with a variety of legal, economic, technological, social, and economic issues. This chapter focuses more narrowly on a sector of information resources management dealing with the processes of collecting and disseminating government information and government publications. The aim here is to explore the power of the administrative presidency to shape the processes of information collection and information dissemination, through government documents, so as to further the political goals and criteria of the White House.
Agencies collect information, propose research, and amass statistics relative to their missions. This activity serves as the basis for proposing new or revised regulations. Without such information and statistics, considerable difficulty is posed in proposing regulations or justifying them in court challenges.
This chapter examines the background for the adoption of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (PRA) and the Carter Administration's establishment of the Information Collection Budget system. It also analyzes the Reagan Administration's controversial, centralized review system of agency information requests and its approach to statistical policy with particular reference to environmentally related programs. This analysis views the Reagan Administration's approach to agency information collection and statistical policy as part of its strategy of regulatory relief and a reduced federal government presence in American society.