A new report from the Washington Post says the White House delayed the enactment of several new rules on the environment, worker safety and health care over concerns they could have a negative effect on President Obama's reelection chances in 2012. The Post says it got the information from documents and interviews with current and former administration officials.
The report goes on to say that agency officials were instructed by the White House to "hold off submitting certain proposals for up to a year to ensure that they would not be issued before voters went to the polls," according to current and former administration sources.
The Post says "the delays meant that rules were postponed or never issued." The delayed regulations included key parts of the Affordable Care Act, certain bodies of water that were to be marked for federal protection, pollution controls for industrial boilers, and limits on silica exposure in the workplace.
The Obama administration claims that any delays were "coincidental" and that neither politcs or the election played a role in the decision. Documents obtained by the Post show that not be true, and reveal concerns over voter reaction to the proposals was a major reason the White House instructed the agencies to delay implementation of the rules. The Post report says that "seven current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama’s top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his reelection."
According to the Post the findings are backed by a new report from the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), an independent agency that advises the federal government on regulatory issues. The ACUS report is "based on anonymous interviews with more than a dozen senior agency officials who worked with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which oversees the implementation of federal rules."