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Information Quality Act: Actions Needed to Improve Transparency and Reporting of Correction Requests

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Of the 30 agencies in GAO's review, 16 reported on their respective websites receiving a total of 87 Information Quality Act (IQA) correction requests from fiscal years 2010 through 2014, while 14 agencies did not post any requests during this time. Three agenciesthe Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Interiorreported receiving 61 of the 87 requests. Agencies are required to post all IQA correspondence, including a copy of each correction request and the agencies' formal response on their websites. However, 8 agencies who reported receiving IQA correction requests did not post on their website the same number of IQA correction requests that they reported to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In most cases, agencies indicated that the discrepancies were due to the time frames for posting information to their respective websites. OMB officials said they are communicating with agencies to address these discrepancies. GAO found that trade associations and advocacy organizations (50 of 87) submitted the most IQA correction requests, followed by private citizens (16), and businesses (13). GAO also found that IQA correction requests either (1) questioned agencies' use of or agencies' interpretation of data used or (2) cited administrative errors. For example, a trade association questioned the accuracy of data used in public service advertising on childhood lead poisoning prevention. Agencies did not make the requested corrections in 59 of the 87 IQA correction requests. IQA is one of several processes available to the public for requesting corrections of agency information. In one-fourth (15 of 59) of the requests where agencies determined that no change should be made, agencies addressed those requests through an administrative mechanism other than the dedicated IQA request for correction process.



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