Public Comment Survey – Frequently Asked Questions
Your participation in this survey is very important to our study of the public comment process.
1. What is the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)?
GAO is an independent federal agency that conducts objective, nonpartisan, fact-based research on behalf of the U.S. Congress. Our work helps prevent and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.
2. Why is GAO conducting this survey?
GAO was asked by Congress to examine whether public comments submitted to the federal government on rulemakings actually came from the people whose names were associated with the comments. GAO will use the information collected through this survey to help inform a report on public comments. As with most of GAO’s products, the report will be available to the public but will not include your name or any other personally identifiable information you provide in response to the survey.
3. How long will it take to complete this survey?
The survey may take 5 minutes or less, depending on what you have to say.
4. Is GAO investigating (or “auditing”) me?
No. GAO is conducting this survey as part of a study to learn more about how public comments are submitted to federal agencies, and whether the people whose email addresses were on them were the people who actually sent the comments in. This study is intended to provide information for federal policymakers and is not an audit of individuals.
5. How or why was I selected?
The comment associated with your email address was randomly selected from a list of public comments that were submitted to federal rulemakings that accepted comments from 2013 through 2017. We used this approach to enable us to provide Congress with information about the public comments process in the federal government.
6. How will my individual responses to this survey be used?
Your answers will be combined with those of many others, and our results will summarize all those answers together. Our report may also choose to highlight a few examples of additional comments some people submit in response to our survey. However, our public report will not include any personally identifiable information you provide in response to the survey.
7. Do I have to participate in this survey?
No, but we hope you will. While participation in our survey is voluntary, we strongly encourage you to participate so that we can ensure that we are able to provide information about the country as a whole to Congress. For a high-quality report, it is crucial to have as many responses as possible. The information you provide is important to help improve the federal rulemaking process.
8. Where did GAO get this information?
GAO obtained the contact information included in your survey from the comment submitted. When submitting public comments to federal rulemakings, any information provided in the comment form or in an attachment may be publicly disclosed and become part of the public record.
9. Whom can I contact for questions or additional information about this survey?