Data Quality Act

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The Data Quality Act (DQA) or Information Quality Act (IQA), passed through the United States Congress in Section 515 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001 (Pub.L. 106–554 (text) (PDF)). Because the Act was a two-sentence rider in a spending bill, it had no name given in the actual legislation. The Government Accountability Office uses the name "Information Quality Act".[1]

IQA directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue government-wide guidelines that "provide policy and procedural guidance to federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by Federal agencies".[2] Other federal agencies are also required to publish their own guidelines for information quality and peer review agendas.[1]

Text of the IQA[edit]

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001 Sec. 515 reads:[3]

(a) In General. – The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall, by not later than September 30, 2001, and with public and Federal agency involvement, issue guidelines under sections 3504(d)(1) and 3516 of title 44, United States Code, that provide policy and procedural guidance to Federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by Federal agencies in fulfillment of the purposes and provisions of chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, commonly referred to as the Paperwork Reduction Act.

(b) Content of Guidelines. – The guidelines under subsection (a) shall –

(1) apply to the sharing by Federal agencies of, and access to, information disseminated by Federal agencies; and
(2) require that each Federal agency to which the guidelines apply –
(A) issue guidelines ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by the agency, by not later than 1 year after the date of issuance of the guidelines under subsection (a);
(B) establish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the guidelines issued under subsection (a); and
(C) report periodically to the Director –
(i) the number and nature of complaints received by the agency regarding the accuracy of information disseminated by the agency; and
(ii) how such complaints were handled by the agency.

Guidelines developed pursuant to IQA[edit]

OMB guidelines[edit]

Guidelines developed by agencies pursuant to IQA and OMB guidelines[edit]


The Data Quality Act has been criticized as providing a vehicle for special interest groups to challenge regulations on the grounds of not meeting information quality requirements.[4] However, others view unchecked data and lack of peer-review as a tool of political corruption leading to the imposition of arbitrary and capricious regulations.[5]

Information Quality Act as basis for law suits[edit]

The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a lawsuit to prevent dissemination of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s "Climate Action Report 2002" published May 2002,[6] claiming the research did not meet requirements of the Federal Data Quality Act (FDQA), which came into effect in October 2002.[7] The case was dismissed in November 2003.[8]

In 2004 the Salt Institute (a salt-producers' association) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued the Department of Health and Human Services in federal court using the Data Quality Act.[4] The suit alleged that federal scientists lacked evidence that salt was harmful to health but was dismissed by a trial and appellate court.[9] The Journal of the American Dietetic Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) which is part of the US National Institutes of Health claimed that the food industry is adding too much salt to foods.[10]

External links[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Agency Information Quality Guidelines". Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved 3 October 2014 – via National Archives.
  2. ^ Simpson, Michael (2011), "Quality Data Act (Information Quality Act (IQA))", in Jordan, David Alan (ed.), Free Course Book for Course 3: Statutory Law and Intelligence
  3. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office. "Information Quality Act". Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b Mooney, Chris (August 28, 2005), Thanks to a little-known piece of legislation, scientists at the EPA and other agencies find their work questioned not only by industry, but by their own government, Interrogations, Boston Globe, retrieved May 5, 2014
  5. ^ Campbell Meshkin, Catherine (December 2010). "Unchecked Data: A Tool for Political Corruption?". Engage. 11 (3).
  6. ^ U.S. Climate Action Report – 2002 (PDF), Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, U.S., May 2002
  7. ^ Horner, Christopher C. (February 9, 2003), CEI's Petition Against Further Dissemination Of EPA's "Climate Action Report 2002", Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), retrieved May 5, 2014
  8. ^ Agree to dismissal: Competitive Enterprise Institute (plaintiff) v. George Walker Bush et al (defendants) (PDF), District of Columbia: United States District Court, November 4, 2003, retrieved May 6, 2014
  9. ^ "Salt Institute v. Leavitt, 440 F.3d 156 | Casetext Search + Citator". Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  10. ^ Ellison, Sarah (February 25, 2005), Despite Big Health Concerns, Food Industry Can't Shake Salt: Scientists Struggle to Find An Acceptable Substitute; Diners Are Hooked, Too, Wall Street Journal, retrieved May 5, 2014