Administrative agencies frequently use guidance documents to set policy broadly and prospectively in areas ranging from Department of Education Title IX enforcement to Food and Drug Administration regulation of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising. In form, these guidances often closely resemble the policies agencies issue in ordinary notice-and-comment rulemaking. However, guidances are generally developed with little public participation and are often immune from judicial review. Nonetheless, guidances can prompt significant changes in behavior from those the agencies regulate. A number of commentators have guardedly defended the current state of affairs. Though guidances lack some important procedural safeguards, they can help agencies supervise low-level employees and supply valuable information to regulated entities regarding how an agency will implement a program. Thus far, however, the debate has largely ignored the distinct and substantial interests of regulatory beneficiaries-those who expect to benefit from government regulation of others. Regulatory beneficiaries include, among others, pharmaceutical consumers, environmental users, and workers seeking safe workplaces. When agencies make policy informally, regulatory beneficiaries suffer distinctive losses to their ability to participate in the agency's decision and to invoke judicial review. This Article argues that considering the interests of regulatory beneficiaries strengthens the case for procedural reform. The Article then assesses some possible solutions.
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Mendelson, Nina A. "Regulatory Beneficiaries and Informal Agency Policymaking." Cornell L. Rev. 92, no. 3 (2007): 397-452.