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Groups Advising President Structured to Avoid Public Disclosure

The White House appears to be deliberately structuring and naming business-focused groups that advise the President to exempt them from federal transparency law that requires meetings of such groups be formally announced in advance and open to the public.

A White House official who asked not to be named told Politico that the White House had intentionally “reworked both the official names and the structure” of groups to be “compliant” with the law.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washinton (CREW) sent a letter (Feb 1, 2017) to White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn complaining that the process the White House used to select Supreme Court nominee Neal Gorsuch violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

FACA is a 1972 law (Public Law 92-463) aimed at limiting back-room influence by special interests. Section 9 requires that the establishment and purpose of advisory committees must be published in the Federal Register. Politico reports that there have been no official notices of any meetings and no executive orders laying out the duties of any of the groups Trump is convening.

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