Comments on H.R. 702, the Proposed Consumer Protection Act of 1977

B-139310: Published: Mar 15, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 15, 1977.

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Comments on H.R. 702, which would establish an Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), touched on the organization and responsibilities of this Office, access to records, and the language used in the bill. The OCP would be independent of the President and the executive departments, and would be under the direction of a Consumer Counsel of the United States, appointed by the President for 15 years, subject to removal by Congress.

If, as it appears, the intent is to place OCP in the legislative branch, language stating this should be added. The Comptroller General's right of access to OCP's documents for audit should be stated explicitly. Sections of the bill that relate to authorization of contracts and agreements, cooperation with private enterprise, and development of product testing are written in language that is too broad. The bill should be modified to clearly provide the transactions intended to be authorized. The Consumer Counsel and the Comptroller General should have access to records of recipients of these arrangements. Provisions for reporting on activities and accomplishments of the OCP were supported, but provisions for review of Federal agency programs could result in performance of these functions by both the OCP and the GAO. Language changes to preclude duplication of Federal efforts and for clarification were suggested. (HTW)

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