Information Quality Act

Image: Environmental Protection Agency

(sometimes called the Data Quality Act) requires that all materials relied upon or distributed by federal agencies be of the highest “quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity.”

Under Office of Management & Budget guidelines, each federal agency has adopted rules for handling complaints calling for the correction or retraction of official materials that violate information quality standards and appeals if a complaint is denied. 

PEER has filed many Information Quality complaints, usually on behalf of federal scientists, because they – 

    • Force an agency to directly confront, rather than continue ignoring, methodological challenges raised by their own specialists. 
    • Can trigger an independent review of agency claims. While there is no judicial review of Information Quality Act complaints, many agencies provide for convening independent review panels to consider appeals of complaints initially denied by an agency. 
    • Constitute an alleged violation of law and agency policies, thus conferring whistleblower status on the complainant and thereby elevating an internal dispute into dissent safeguarded under the Whistleblower Protection Act.  

Since there are few other tools to compel federal agencies to be honest and unbiased, as detailed in the news releases below, PEER has used Information Quality Act complaints to protect endangered wildlife ranging from Florida panthers to sea turtles, and to address safety and health threats ranging from artificial turf to tsunamis. 

Citation: The Information Quality Act (also known as the Information Quality Act), Section 515 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2001