Representation for the Poor in Federal Rulemaking

The ample personal economic resources and relatively well-financed organizations of middle and upper income Americans usually assure their particular interests adequate representation in federal administrative rulemaking. The norm is that middle and upper income individuals, or their personal or organizational representatives, directly or indirectly monitor all agency activities. These persons attempt to protect their interests through formal or informal participation in rulemaking affecting them. But federal rulemaking very frequently affects large numbers of individuals who lack the personal economic resources and organized associations of middle and upper income Americans. These economically underprivileged persons are usually unable to keep themselves adequately informed of the numerous actual or proposed exercises of rulemaking authority affecting their interests. Normally the poor are also unable to communicate effectively to the appropriate authority their views about proposed rules, or to petition in their own interest for new rules or for the amendment or repeal of old rules.