Information Quality Guidelines, 68557-68562 [E7-23526]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 233 / Wednesday, December 5, 2007 / Notices studies and reports. Some of these studies and reports are required only once for each loan application; others must be submitted periodically until the loan is completely repaid. Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 14 hours per response. Respondents: Businesses or other for profits; not-for-profit institutions. Estimated Number of Respondents: 680. Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 6. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 65,673. Copies of this information collection, and related form and instructions, can be obtained from Joyce McNeil, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, at (202) 720–0812. FAX: (202) 720–8435. All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record. Dated: November 29, 2007. James Andrew, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. E7–23561 Filed 12–4–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–15–P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Information Quality Guidelines U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. ACTION: Final Information Quality Guidelines. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed Federal agencies to make available on their Web sites guidelines that ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) they disseminate. Federal agencies should also make available on their Web sites administrative mechanisms that allow affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information that the agency maintains and disseminated that does not comply with the guidelines. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) now publishes the following guidelines covering predissemination information quality control and an administrative mechanism for requests for correction of information the Commission publicly disseminates. These guidelines were published in the Federal Register on July 24, 2006 at 71 FR 41762 and provided that the Commission would receive public comments through VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:05 Dec 04, 2007 Jkt 214001 August 23, 2006 to be considered in the formulation of these final guidelines. No comments were received. OMB provided the Commission with suggested revisions, which the Commission used in preparing these final guidelines. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact David P. Blackwood, Esq., General Counsel, United States Commission on Civil Rights, 624 Ninth Street, NW., Suite 620, Washington, DC 20425, (202) 376–8351; Facsimile: (202) 376–1163. In response to the draft guidelines, the Commission received suggested revisions from OMB. The Commission changed the draft guidelines to address these suggestions as follows: 1. Commission-sponsored testimony of Commission officials is now subject to the guidelines if it contains information not previously disseminated by the agency. 2. Statements reasonably expected to become the subject of litigation or other dispute resolution proceedings are now not automatically outside the scope of the guidelines. 3. Petitions for correction of information must now describe the specific corrective action sought. 4. The Commission’s corrective actions may now take a number of forms and not simply the issuance of an errata page. 5. Postings of the quality information requests to the Commission’s Web site now include: a copy of the requests to seek and obtain correction of information, the Commission’s formal response(s), and any communications regarding appeals. All other OMB suggested changes that were accepted by the Commission were non-substantive (i.e., typographical or grammatical) in nature. The Commission also substituted the e-mail address provided in Section VII.02(c) of the draft guidelines with qualityinfo@usccr.gov and corrected section references to Administrative Instruction 1–6, National Project Development and Implementation. For the reasons discussed in the summary, the Commission proposes to issue these guidelines pursuant to Section 515 of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3502(1), et seq.). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68557 Dated: November 29, 2007. David P. Blackwood, General Counsel, United States Commission on Civil Rights. Section I. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ Mission and Mandate .01 The Commission is an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding Federal agency of the executive branch established under the Civil Rights Act of 1957 to monitor and report on the status of civil rights in the nation. As the nation’s conscience on matters of civil rights, the Commission strives to keep the President, Congress, and the public informed about civil rights issues that deserve concerted attention. .02 The Commission is mandated to: (a) Investigate complaints alleging that citizens are being deprived of their right to vote by reason of their race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or by reason of fraudulent practices; (b) Study and collect information relating to discrimination or a denial of equal protection of the laws under the Constitution because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice; (c) Appraise Federal laws and policies with respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in the administration of justice; (d) Serve as a national clearinghouse for information in respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin; (e) Submit reports, findings, and recommendations to the President and Congress; (f) Issue public service announcements to discourage discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws. .03 The Commission’s National Office is in Washington, DC. Its six Regional Offices are located throughout the nation: (a) The Eastern Regional Office, Washington, DC; (b) Southern Regional Office, Atlanta, Georgia; (c) Midwestern Office, Chicago, Illinois; (d) Central Regional Office, Kansas City, Kansas; (e) Rocky Mountain Office, Denver, Colorado; and (f) Western Regional Office, Los Angeles, California. .04 State Advisory Committees (SACs) are established in each State and E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 68558 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 233 / Wednesday, December 5, 2007 / Notices mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES in Washington, DC. SACs advise the Commission on matters pertaining to discrimination or denials of equal protection of the laws because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or in the administration of justice. They also assist the Commission in its statutory obligation to serve as a national clearinghouse for information on those subjects. SACs present advice to the Commission in a variety of forms, including formal fact-finding reports and briefing memoranda. Section II. The Office of Management and Budget Governmentwide Guideline .01 Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106–554) directs OMB to issue to Federal agencies subject to the Paper Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 3502(1) et seq.) governmentwide guidelines that provide policy and procedural guidance for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information (including statistical information) that they disseminate. Specifically, the OMB guidelines direct agencies to: (a) Issue their own guidelines, consistent with governmentwide guidelines, to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) the agency disseminates; (b) Establish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information the agency maintains and disseminates that does not comply with OMB guidelines; and (c) Report annually to the OMB Director the number and nature of complaints the agency received regarding compliance with OMB guidelines on quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information and how such complaints were resolved. .02 The OMB guidelines offer three underlying principles. Agencies should ensure that the guidelines: (a) Are sufficiently flexible to be applied to a wide variety of information activities that range in importance and scope, and to fit all forms of media; (b) Meet basic information quality standards, although some information may require higher or more specific standards. Agencies should weigh the costs and benefits of higher information quality in the context of their mission, budget constraints, and timeliness in dissemination; and (c) Are applied in a common-sensical and workable manner. Agencies should incorporate quality information guideline standards and procedures into exisiting processes and procedures. VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:05 Dec 04, 2007 Jkt 214001 Application of these guidelines should not impose unnecessary administrative burdens. Section III. The Commission’s Existing Policies and Procedures that Ensure and Maximize Information Quality .01 The Commission disseminates information on civil rights through: (a) Reports to Congress and the President, including an annual report on civil rights enforcement as required by statute and other reports as considered appropriate; (b) Program activities, such as hearings, briefings, conferences, and consultations; and (c) Provision of civil rights information to the public through its clearinghouse function. .02 In order to ensure the accuracy and the impartiality of the information it provides, the Commission has in place various mechanisms to correct the information it disseminates. OMB’s Information Quality Guidelines urge agencies to integrate into existing guidelines for dissemination of information the standards for information quality embodied in the Data Quality Act. The Commission shall improve the quality of the information it disseminates as it seeks to achieve the strategic goals of its mission while adhering to budget and resource priorities. .03 The mechanisms the Commission uses to ensure information quality are: (a) Defame and Degrade Review. Commission regulations provide procedural guidelines when statements made at Commission hearings or in reports will defame, degrade or incriminate persons or institutions. A statement defames and degrades if its probable effect is to damage the person or institution criticized in reputation, business, or otherwise. In determining whether damage is likely to result, it is necessary to consider the substance of the allegations, all the circumstances surrounding it, and the community perception and reaction that is likely to result. All this must all be considered in light of the applicable legal standards governing defamation of public versus private persons and entities. When in advance of a hearing the Commission determines that certain evidence may tend to defame, degrade, or incriminate any person at any hearing, it shall receive such evidence or testimony, or a summary of such evidence or testimony in executive session. The Commission affords such persons defamed, degraded, or incriminated by such evidence or PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 testimony an opportunity to appear and be heard in executive session with a reasonable number of additional witnesses they request, before deciding to use such evidence or testimony. If the Commission decides to make this information public, it will give the person the opportunity to appear as a voluntary witness or submit a sworn statement. Procedures for addressing evidence presented at a hearing that may tend to defame, degrade, or incriminate any person are specified at 45 CFR 702.11. If a Commission report tends to defame, degrade, or incriminate any person, the report or relevant portions thereof shall be delivered to such person at least thirty (30) days before the report is published to allow such person the opportunity to make a timely verified answer to the report, or relevant portions thereof. Administrative Instruction 7–1, Procedures for Providing an Opportunity for Response to Persons Criticized by Commission Publications and Audiovisual Products, at section 6 provides that whenever a publication, other than a statutory report, contains material that tends to defame and degrade, such person must be provided a full and fair opportunity to respond to such material. Section 7 of Administrative Instruction 7–1 provides for a defame and degrade review of State Advisory Committee reports. Section 8 of Administrative Instruction 7–1 provides for a defame and degrade review of the Civil Rights Journal. (b) Legal Sufficiency Review. Administrative Instruction 1–6, National Project Development and Implementation, at section 16 provides for legal sufficiency review by the Office of General Counsel of draft reports and national office publications that are provided to the public. The purpose of the legal sufficiency review is to ensure the adequate interpretation and citation of legal materials and compliance with statutory requirements. SAC reports also will be subject to a legal sufficiency review. (c) Editorial Policy Review. Administrative Instruction 1–6, National Project Development and Implementation, at section 15 provides that the Staff Director will appoint members of an editorial policy board to review draft national reports to determine the adequacy and accuracy of the substantive information in the draft document (for example, conceptual soundness, adherence to Commission policy, quality of research, argumentation, and documentation of major points). The project staff revises the draft document in accordance with E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 233 / Wednesday, December 5, 2007 / Notices the editorial board comments. The appropriate office director apprises the Staff Director by memorandum of areas upon which agreement was not reached and changes were not made. Once the substantive changes are made, the new material must be submitted for an expedited legal sufficiency review. The Regional Directors are responsible for ensuring that such reports are unbiased, methodologically sound, well written, appropriately organized, and properly formatted. SACs are ultimately responsible for the substance of their reports and memoranda. A report is forwarded to the Staff Director following formal approval from the appropriate State Advisory Committee. (d) Affected Agency Review. Administrative Instruction 1–6, National Project Development and Implementation, at section 17 provides that after completing any revisions occasioned by legal and editorial reviews, the director of the appropriate office sends the sections of the draft report that pertain to a government agency to the affected agency for review and comment on the accuracy of the material contained therein. The Commission’s draft findings, conclusions, and recommendations are not submitted to the affected agency. Nongovernmental organizations receive pertinent material for review where appropriate. Upon receipt of comments, the project staff prepares the appropriate revisions. SAC reports also are subject to an affected agency review. .04 Information Technology and Systems Management. Administrative Instruction 4–18, Information Technology and Systems Management, provides guidance for the appropriate management of information technology resources and systems throughout their life cycle, in accordance with federal regulations, policies and guidelines. It also provides for the establishment and maintenance of a strategic information resources management planning process that includes: (a) An up-to-date five-year plan that has, among others, document linkages between mission needs and information technology capabilities; and (b) An up-to-date security and disaster preparedness plan for information systems that provides adequate assurances of the availability, confidentiality and integrity of the information systems. .05 The Staff Director is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the agency and has primary responsibility for managing the Commission’s information resources. The Deputy CIO will manage the Commission’s security systems and VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:05 Dec 04, 2007 Jkt 214001 procedures, and monitor Commission compliance with appropriate federal policies, principles, standards, guidelines, rules, and administrative instructions. .06 Data Collection from the Public. (a) Administrative Instruction 1–6, National Project Development and Implementation, at section 9 provides that the Chief of the Administrative Services and Clearinghouse Division (ASCD) is the Commission’s designated paperwork reduction officer, and as such, is responsible for reviewing proposed data collection procedures as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. It provides that when collecting information from ten or more persons or organizations, the Commission must receive prior approval from OMB. The appropriate documents are submitted to the ASCD Chief at least fifty (50) days before the anticipated administration of a questionnaire or interview schedule. (b) The Civil Rights Commission Amendments Act of 1994, Public Law 103–419, 108 Stat. 4338, at 42 U.S.C. 1975a(e) provides that the Commission may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of written or other matter in a hearing approved by the Commission. In addition, the Commission may use depositions and written interrogatories to obtain information and testimony about matters that are the subject of a Commission hearing or report. Further, data also are collected at briefings, conferences, hearings, and during consultation and interviews by staff. Staff shall submit the Commission’s Privacy Act notice to potential data sources at these prior to collecting the data. Section IV. Scope and Applicability of the Commission’s Quality Information Guidelines .01 Consistent with OMB guidance, the definitions of information and dissemination set the scope and applicability of the Commission’s quality information guidelines. For the purposes of these guidelines, information means any communication or representation of facts or data, in any medium or form, including textual, numerical, graphic, cartographic, narrative, or audiovisual forms. This definition includes information that the Commission disseminates from a Web page, but does not include the provision of hyperlinks to information that others disseminate. .02 This definition of information does not include: (a) Opinions or policies, where the presentation makes clear that the PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68559 statements are subjective opinions, rather than facts. Underlying information upon which the opinion or policy is based may be subject to these guidelines only if the Commission publishes that information; (b) Information originated by and attributed to non-Commission sources, provided the Commission does not expressly rely upon it. Examples include non-U.S. government information reported and duly attributed in materials the Commission prepared and disseminated, hyperlinks on the Commission’s Web site to information that others disseminate, and reports of advisory committees published on the Commission’s Web site that are not explicitly endorsed by the Commission; (c) Statements relating solely to the Commission’s internal personnel rules and practices and other materials produced for the Commission’s employees, contractors, or agents; (d) Descriptions of the Commission, its responsibilities, and organizational components; (e) Statements, the modification of which might cause harm to the national security, including harm to the national defense or foreign relations of the United States; (f) Statements of Commission policy; however, any underlying information the Commission published upon which a statement is based may be subjected to these guidelines; (g) Testimony or comments of Commission officials before courts, administrative bodies, Congress, or the media, unless such testimony contains new, substantive information not previously disseminated; (h) Investigatory material compiled pursuant to U.S. law or for law enforcement purposes in the United States; or .03 Dissemination means Commission initiated or sponsored distribution of information to the public (see 5 CFR 1320.3(d) ‘‘Conduct or Sponsor’’). .04 This definition of dissemination does not include distributions of information or other materials that are: (a) Produced in response to requests for Commission records under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, or similar law; or (b) Archival records, public filings, responses to subpoena or compulsory document productions, or documents prepared and released in the context of adjudicative processes. These guidelines do not impose any additional requirements on the Commission during adjudicative proceedings and do not E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 68560 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 233 / Wednesday, December 5, 2007 / Notices mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES provide parties to such adjudicative proceedings any additional rights of challenge or appeal; and (c) Limited to Commission employees or Commission contractors or grantees, as well as intra- or inter-agency use or sharing of government information. .05 Consistent with OMB guidance, the Commission’s guidelines apply to any covered information the Commission disseminated on or after October 1, 2002. The Commission’s administrative mechanism shall apply to information that it disseminates on or after October 1, 2002, regardless of when it first disseminated the information. Section V. The Commission’s Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing Information Quality .01 In accordance with OMB guidelines, quality encompasses utility, objectivity, and integrity. These four statutory terms sometimes are collectively referred to as quality. The Commission shall adopt a basic standard of quality and take appropriate steps to ensure that all offices in the National Office and each Regional Office incorporate quality criteria into its information dissemination practices. .02 Utility of Information (a) Utility means the usefulness of the disseminated information to its intended users, including the public. The Commission is committed to disseminating quality information. Basic to achieving utility is an understanding of what information is needed as the Commission seeks to fulfill its mission and mandate. The Commission shall identify civil rights issues in which there is a critical need for information and shall develop and implement plans to provide such information. (b) The Commission shall assess the utility of the information it will produce from original research and secondary analysis of existing data. It shall also assess the utility of the information it disseminates that is provided by or obtained from outside sources and which it adopts, endorses, or uses. (c) When reproducibility and transparency of information are essential for determining information utility, the Commission shall ensure the reproducibility and transparency of the research design and analytic methods. In this context, reproducibility means that the information is capable of being reproduced, subject to an acceptable degree of imprecision. With respect to analytic results, ‘‘capable of being substantially reproduced’’ means that independent analysis of the original or supporting data using identical methods would generate similar analytic results, VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:05 Dec 04, 2007 Jkt 214001 subject to an acceptable degree of imprecision. (d) In order to enhance further the utility of information, the Commission shall ensure that the information it will disseminate is clearly written in plain English, grammatically correct, and free of spelling or typographical errors. Where appropriate, the Commission shall include contact information for intended users and the public who may wish to obtain supplementary information, seek further elucidation, or provide comments. .03 Objectivity of Information Objectivity concerns substance and presentation of disseminated information. Substance focuses on whether the content of the disseminated information is accurate, reliable, unbiased, and balanced. Presentation concerns whether the disseminated information is presented in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner. The Commission is committed to disseminating information that reflects these two elements. (a) In the course of fulfilling its mission and mandate, the Commission conducts social science studies and evaluates federal civil rights enforcement programs, reports on findings and conclusions, and makes recommendations. The Commission strives for a research process that embodies methodological and statistical rigor, intellectual honesty in analysis, and presentation of findings and conclusions in full and proper context in order to achieve accurate, reliable, and unbiased reports. In this respect, the Commission’s Administrative Instruction 1–6, National Project Development and Implementation at sections 7 and 8 is instructive. Consistent with it, the Commission shall ensure that the program office primarily responsible for reports: (1) Develops methodologically strong and practically feasible research designs capable of judging the issues addressed; (2) Makes explicit the assumptions underlying research efforts; (3) Conducts thorough review of the literature representing a wide range of perspectives on the subject of study or evaluation; (4) Uses appropriate and sound research methods to gather information; (5) Uses appropriate and sound statistical techniques to analyze collected information; (6) Ensures that the analysis is unbiased; (7) Presents disseminated information within a full and proper context, including supporting data as appropriate; PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (8) Identifies data sources (to the extent possible, consistent with confidentiality protections); and (9) Specifies limitations of the study or evaluation, including error sources that affect data quality. The Staff Director is responsible for reviewing national office project designs and proposals to ensure that they reflect objectivity and balance. The Staff Director also reviews State Advisory Committee reports for balance and objectivity. .04 In conducting social science studies and evaluation of federal civil rights enforcement programs, the Commission may combine original research with secondary analysis of existing data or may rely solely on the latter. The sources of existing data may be other federal government agencies, advisory committees, or other organizations and individuals. The Commission expects that these entities will subject information they submit to adequate quality control measures. Prior to using existing data from outside sources, the responsible program office shall review and verify the data as necessary and appropriate. Data collected at briefings may be verified by requiring the outside sources to submit testimony upon oath or affirmation. Being subject to these guidelines does not necessarily mean that the material the Commission publishes is a policy statement of the United States government. .05 When the responsible program office determines that the information it will disseminate is influential social science, financial, legal, or statistical information, it shall take extra care to include a high degree of transparency about data and research methods to meet OMB’s requirement for the reproducibility of such information. In this context, influential means that such information will have or does have a clear and substantial impact on important public policies pertaining to civil rights issues or important private sector decisions that have civil rights implications. A high degree of transparency for disseminated information here means that the methodology used to derive the results is readily understandable to persons experienced in the appropriate field of study. In determining the appropriate level of transparency, the responsible program office will consider the types of data that can be practically subjected to a reproducibility requirement given ethical, feasibility, confidentiality, and national security constraints. In making this determination, the responsible program office will hold analytical results to an even higher standard than E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 233 / Wednesday, December 5, 2007 / Notices original data. It is important that analytic results have a high degree of transparency regarding: (a) The source of the data used; (b) The various assumptions employed; (c) The analytic methods applied; and (d) The statistical procedures employed. .06 The Commission may contract, from time to time, with organizations or individuals to conduct research and analysis in support of its mission and mandate, but Commission policy does not influence their results. The responsible program office that disseminates contractor-prepared information will maintain records on data sources, data collection methods, and statistical techniques used in analysis, and retain all data and documents employed in preparing contractor reports. The Commission expects that contractors will adhere to research standards set forth in section V.03 and .04 above. When the Lead Office anticipates that the contractorprepared information it will disseminate is influential social science, financial, or statistical information, it will ensure that the contractor adheres to section V.05 above. .07 The clearance process contributes in important ways to the objectivity of disseminated information. The Commission’s Administrative Instruction 1–6, National Project Development and Implementation, at sections 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 provides a rigorous, multi-phased quality control clearance. Where appropriate, the Commission will seek substantive input from other government agencies, nongovernment organizations, scholars, and the public. The Commission also will determine if peer review is appropriate and, if necessary, the Lead Office will coordinate such review; .08 Public dissemination of hardbound information and all information published in final form on the Commisson’s Web site at http:// www.usccr.gov shall occur only after clearances are obtained from the Office of the Staff Director, and, if appropriate, with the approval of the Commissioners. .09 These guidelines focus on procedures for the dissemination of information, as those terms are defined herein. Accordingly, procedures specifically applicable to forms of communication outside the scope of these guidelines, such as those for correspondence, press releases, or to other federal employees, among others, are not included. .10 Integrity of Information (a) Integrity refers to security, that is, the protection of information from VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:05 Dec 04, 2007 Jkt 214001 unauthorized access or revision in order to ensure that it is not compromised through corruption or falsification. Information technology is essential to the Commission as it seeks to fulfill its mission and mandate. A critical component of information integrity is protecting information technology systems from unauthorized access that could compromise information stored therein. .11 Consistent with Administrative Instruction 4–18, Information Technology and Systems Management, the Commission shall ensure that ASCD coordinates and works with all offices in the National Office, the Regional Offices, and SACs to guarantee the integrity of information residing in its technology systems. .12 To assist in fulfilling its mission, the Commission’s Office of Civil Rights Evaluation and Office of General Counsel conduct studies on issues with civil rights implications. They may collect information for analysis and/or obtain existing information from other sources. These program offices shall protect such information from unauthorized, unanticipated, or unintentional modification. They shall use appropriate controls to safeguard draft reports and confidential information, such as interrogatory responses, from improper dissemination. Section VI. Administrative Procedures for Pre-Dissemination Review .01 Each Commission’s program office in the National Office and each Regional Office shall incorporate OMB and Commission information quality principles into their existing predissemination review procedures as appropriate. Section VII. Administrative Mechanism for Correction of Information .01 The Commission shall allow any affected person to request the correction of Commission-disseminated information that does not comply with applicable OMB and Commission information quality guidelines. An affected person is an individual or an entity that may use, benefit from, or be harmed by the disseminated information at issue. .02 Information Correction Requests (a) In the Commission’s correction request process the burden of proof rests with the requester. An affected person who believes that information the Commission disseminates does not adhere to the information quality guidelines of OMB or the Commission, and who would like to request correction of specific information, needs PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 68561 to submit a Petition for Correction with the following information. (1) Name, mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, and organizational affiliation (if any) of the individual or organization submitting a petition; (2) Detailed description of the information the requester believes does not comply with the Commission’s guidelines, including the exact name of the report or publication, the date, and a description of the specific item in question; (3) Description of the requester’s interest in the information and how the requester is affected by the information in question; (4) Description of reason(s) that the information should be corrected, including the elements of the information quality guidelines that were not followed; and (5) The specific corrective action sought, including (if applicable) temporary corrective action pending full resolution of the complaint. (b) The Petition for Correction should be sent to the Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO) for Information Management at the following address: Deputy Chief Information Officer, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 624 Ninth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20425. (c) Alternatively, requesters may submit an e-mail request to the following address: qualityinfo@usccr.gov. Requesters should indicate that they are submitting an Information Quality Request in the subject line of the e-mail. .03 The DCIO will review the request and determine whether it contains all the information required for a Petition. If the request is unclear or incomplete, he/she will seek clarification from the requester. .04 If the request is complete, the DCIO will forward it to the appropriate program office(s) for a response. The responsible office(s) will determine whether a correction is warranted, and if so, what corrective action it will take. The answer will take into consideration the importance of the information involved, the magnitude of the error, and the cost of undertaking the correction. .05 The Commission is not required to change the content or status of information simply based on the receipt of a Petition for Correction. The Commission may reject a request that appears to be made in bad faith or without justification, and is only required to undertake the degree of correction that is appropriate for the nature and timeliness of the information involved. In addition, the Commission E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1 68562 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 233 / Wednesday, December 5, 2007 / Notices mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES need not respond to requests involving information not covered by the information quality guidelines. .06 The Commission will respond to all Petitions for Correction within sixty (60) calendar days of the receipt of the request by the DCIO, unless there is a reasonable basis for an extension. The requester will be told of the right to appeal the decision. .07 Appeal (a) If the requester is not satisfied with the Commission’s decision on the request, he/she may appeal to the Commission’s CIO within thirty (30) calendar days of the receipt of the Commission’s decision. This administrative appeal must include a copy of the initial request, a copy of the Commission’s decision, and a written narrative explaining why the requester believes the Commission’s decision was inadequate, incomplete, or in error. (b) This appeal will be sent to the Commission’s CIO at the following address: The Chief Information Officer, Staff Director’s Office, RE: Information Quality Appeal, Room 700, 624 Ninth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20425. (c) All appeals will be impartially reviewed by parties other than those who prepared the Commission’s decision. The Commission will respond to all appeals within sixty (60) calendar days of the CIO’s receipt of the appeal. (d) If the appropriate Commission official, whether at the initial or appeal stage, decides that the requester is correct and the information should be corrected, he/she will notify the Staff Director who will instruct the official to take appropriate corrective actions. Appropriate corrective actions may take a number of forms, including (but not limited to): Errata pages, personal contacts via letter or telephone, form letters, press releases or postings on the Commission’s Web site. Corrective measures, where appropriate, should be designed to provide reasonable notice to affected persons of such correction.The Commission will also post information quality correction requests to its Web site. The specific information will include a copy of each correction request, the Commission’s formal response(s), and any communications regarding appeals. [FR Doc. E7–23526 Filed 12–4–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335–01–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:05 Dec 04, 2007 Jkt 214001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A–570–846] Brake Rotors from the People’s Republic of China: Extension of Time Limit for the Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Review of the Antidumping Duty Order Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce. EFFECTIVE DATE: December 5, 2007. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frances Veith, Import Administration, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482–4295. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: AGENCY: Background On July 2, 2007, the Department of Commerce (‘‘the Department’’) initiated a sunset review of the antidumping duty order on brake rotors from the People’s Republic of China (‘‘PRC’’) pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (‘‘the Act’’). See Initiation of Five–Year (‘‘Sunset’’) Reviews, 72 FR 35968 (July 2, 2007) (‘‘Initiation Notice’’). Based on an adequate response from the domestic interested party and an inadequate response from the respondent interested party, the Department is conducting an expedited sunset review to determine whether revocation of the antidumping order would lead to the continuation or recurrence of dumping, pursuant to section 751(c)(3)(B) of the Act and section 351.218(e)(1)(ii)(C)(2) of the Department’s regulations. See Memorandum to the International Trade Commission regarding, ‘‘Expedited Sunset Review of the AD/CVD Order Initiated in July 2007,’’ dated August 21, 2007. On November 5, 2007, the Department published a notice extending the time limit for the completion of the final results of this review by 30 days until November 29, 2007. See Brake Rotors from the People’s Republic of China: Extension of Final Results of the Expedited Sunset Review of Antidumping Duty Order, 72 FR 62430 (November 5, 2007). Extension of Time Limits for Final Results In accordance with section 751(c)(5)(B) of the Act, the Department may extend the 120–day time period for making its determination by not more than 90 days, if it determines that a PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 review is extraordinarily complicated. As set forth in section 751(c)(5)(C)(i) of the Act, the Department may treat a sunset review as extraordinarily complicated if there are a large number of issues, as is the case in this proceeding. In particular, this sunset review involves complicated issues pertaining to adequacy of responses, related party status, and interested party status. Therefore, the Department has determined, pursuant to section 751(c)(5)(C)(i) of the Act, that the second sunset review of brake rotors from the PRC is extraordinarily complicated, as the Department must consider numerous arguments presented in the domestic interested party’s and the U.S. importer’s August 1, 2007, substantive response and each parties’ August 6, 2007, rebuttals to the substantive responses. Based on the timing of the case, the final results of this expedited sunset review cannot be completed within the statutory time limit of 120 days. Accordingly, the Department is extending the time limit for the completion of the final results by an additional 32 days, from the November 29, 2007, extended deadline, to no later than December 31, 2007, in accordance with section 751(c)(5)(B) of the Act. This notice is published pursuant to sections 751(a)(2)(B)(iv) and 777(i)(1) of the Act. Dated: November 29, 2007. Stephen J. Claeys, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Import Administration. [FR Doc. E7–23574 Filed 12–4–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration A–570–822 Notice of Amended Final Results in Accordance With Court Decision: Helical Spring Lock Washers from the People’s Republic of China Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce. EFFECTIVE DATE: December 5, 2007. SUMMARY: On July 16, 2007, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (‘‘CAFC’’) affirmed the decision of the U.S. Court of International Trade (‘‘CIT’’) to sustain the Department of Commerce’s (‘‘the Department’’) remand redetermination in the tenth administrative review of the antidumping duty order on helical spring lock washers from the People’s AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\05DEN1.SGM 05DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 233 (Wednesday, December 5, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68557-68562]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-23526]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS


Information Quality Guidelines

AGENCY: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

ACTION: Final Information Quality Guidelines.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed Federal 
agencies to make available on their Web sites guidelines that ensure 
and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of 
information (including statistical information) they disseminate. 
Federal agencies should also make available on their Web sites 
administrative mechanisms that allow affected persons to seek and 
obtain correction of information that the agency maintains and 
disseminated that does not comply with the guidelines. The U.S. 
Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) now publishes the following 
guidelines covering pre-dissemination information quality control and 
an administrative mechanism for requests for correction of information 
the Commission publicly disseminates. These guidelines were published 
in the Federal Register on July 24, 2006 at 71 FR 41762 and provided 
that the Commission would receive public comments through August 23, 
2006 to be considered in the formulation of these final guidelines. No 
comments were received. OMB provided the Commission with suggested 
revisions, which the Commission used in preparing these final 
guidelines.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact David P. Blackwood, Esq., 
General Counsel, United States Commission on Civil Rights, 624 Ninth 
Street, NW., Suite 620, Washington, DC 20425, (202) 376-8351; 
Facsimile: (202) 376-1163.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In response to the draft guidelines, the 
Commission received suggested revisions from OMB. The Commission 
changed the draft guidelines to address these suggestions as follows:
    1. Commission-sponsored testimony of Commission officials is now 
subject to the guidelines if it contains information not previously 
disseminated by the agency.
    2. Statements reasonably expected to become the subject of 
litigation or other dispute resolution proceedings are now not 
automatically outside the scope of the guidelines.
    3. Petitions for correction of information must now describe the 
specific corrective action sought.
    4. The Commission's corrective actions may now take a number of 
forms and not simply the issuance of an errata page.
    5. Postings of the quality information requests to the Commission's 
Web site now include: a copy of the requests to seek and obtain 
correction of information, the Commission's formal response(s), and any 
communications regarding appeals.
    All other OMB suggested changes that were accepted by the 
Commission were non-substantive (i.e., typographical or grammatical) in 
nature.
    The Commission also substituted the e-mail address provided in 
Section VII.02(c) of the draft guidelines with qualityinfo@usccr.gov 
and corrected section references to Administrative Instruction 1-6, 
National Project Development and Implementation.
    For the reasons discussed in the summary, the Commission proposes 
to issue these guidelines pursuant to Section 515 of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3502(1), et seq.).

    Dated: November 29, 2007.
David P. Blackwood,
General Counsel, United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Section I. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' Mission and Mandate

    .01 The Commission is an independent, bipartisan, fact-finding 
Federal agency of the executive branch established under the Civil 
Rights Act of 1957 to monitor and report on the status of civil rights 
in the nation. As the nation's conscience on matters of civil rights, 
the Commission strives to keep the President, Congress, and the public 
informed about civil rights issues that deserve concerted attention.
    .02 The Commission is mandated to:
    (a) Investigate complaints alleging that citizens are being 
deprived of their right to vote by reason of their race, color, 
religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or by reason of 
fraudulent practices;
    (b) Study and collect information relating to discrimination or a 
denial of equal protection of the laws under the Constitution because 
of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or 
in the administration of justice;
    (c) Appraise Federal laws and policies with respect to 
discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of 
race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or in 
the administration of justice;
    (d) Serve as a national clearinghouse for information in respect to 
discrimination or denial of equal protection of the laws because of 
race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin;
    (e) Submit reports, findings, and recommendations to the President 
and Congress;
    (f) Issue public service announcements to discourage discrimination 
or denial of equal protection of the laws.
    .03 The Commission's National Office is in Washington, DC. Its six 
Regional Offices are located throughout the nation:
    (a) The Eastern Regional Office, Washington, DC;
    (b) Southern Regional Office, Atlanta, Georgia;
    (c) Midwestern Office, Chicago, Illinois;
    (d) Central Regional Office, Kansas City, Kansas;
    (e) Rocky Mountain Office, Denver, Colorado; and
    (f) Western Regional Office, Los Angeles, California.
    .04 State Advisory Committees (SACs) are established in each State 
and

[[Page 68558]]

in Washington, DC. SACs advise the Commission on matters pertaining to 
discrimination or denials of equal protection of the laws because of 
race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or in the 
administration of justice. They also assist the Commission in its 
statutory obligation to serve as a national clearinghouse for 
information on those subjects. SACs present advice to the Commission in 
a variety of forms, including formal fact-finding reports and briefing 
memoranda.

Section II. The Office of Management and Budget Governmentwide 
Guideline

    .01 Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554) directs OMB to 
issue to Federal agencies subject to the Paper Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 
Chapter 3502(1) et seq.) governmentwide guidelines that provide policy 
and procedural guidance for ensuring and maximizing the quality, 
objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information (including 
statistical information) that they disseminate. Specifically, the OMB 
guidelines direct agencies to:
    (a) Issue their own guidelines, consistent with governmentwide 
guidelines, to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, 
and integrity of information (including statistical information) the 
agency disseminates;
    (b) Establish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons 
to seek and obtain correction of information the agency maintains and 
disseminates that does not comply with OMB guidelines; and
    (c) Report annually to the OMB Director the number and nature of 
complaints the agency received regarding compliance with OMB guidelines 
on quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information and how 
such complaints were resolved.
    .02 The OMB guidelines offer three underlying principles. Agencies 
should ensure that the guidelines:
    (a) Are sufficiently flexible to be applied to a wide variety of 
information activities that range in importance and scope, and to fit 
all forms of media;
    (b) Meet basic information quality standards, although some 
information may require higher or more specific standards. Agencies 
should weigh the costs and benefits of higher information quality in 
the context of their mission, budget constraints, and timeliness in 
dissemination; and
    (c) Are applied in a common-sensical and workable manner. Agencies 
should incorporate quality information guideline standards and 
procedures into exisiting processes and procedures. Application of 
these guidelines should not impose unnecessary administrative burdens.

Section III. The Commission's Existing Policies and Procedures that 
Ensure and Maximize Information Quality

    .01 The Commission disseminates information on civil rights 
through:
    (a) Reports to Congress and the President, including an annual 
report on civil rights enforcement as required by statute and other 
reports as considered appropriate;
    (b) Program activities, such as hearings, briefings, conferences, 
and consultations; and
    (c) Provision of civil rights information to the public through its 
clearinghouse function.
    .02 In order to ensure the accuracy and the impartiality of the 
information it provides, the Commission has in place various mechanisms 
to correct the information it disseminates. OMB's Information Quality 
Guidelines urge agencies to integrate into existing guidelines for 
dissemination of information the standards for information quality 
embodied in the Data Quality Act. The Commission shall improve the 
quality of the information it disseminates as it seeks to achieve the 
strategic goals of its mission while adhering to budget and resource 
priorities.
    .03 The mechanisms the Commission uses to ensure information 
quality are:
    (a) Defame and Degrade Review. Commission regulations provide 
procedural guidelines when statements made at Commission hearings or in 
reports will defame, degrade or incriminate persons or institutions.
    A statement defames and degrades if its probable effect is to 
damage the person or institution criticized in reputation, business, or 
otherwise. In determining whether damage is likely to result, it is 
necessary to consider the substance of the allegations, all the 
circumstances surrounding it, and the community perception and reaction 
that is likely to result. All this must all be considered in light of 
the applicable legal standards governing defamation of public versus 
private persons and entities.
    When in advance of a hearing the Commission determines that certain 
evidence may tend to defame, degrade, or incriminate any person at any 
hearing, it shall receive such evidence or testimony, or a summary of 
such evidence or testimony in executive session. The Commission affords 
such persons defamed, degraded, or incriminated by such evidence or 
testimony an opportunity to appear and be heard in executive session 
with a reasonable number of additional witnesses they request, before 
deciding to use such evidence or testimony. If the Commission decides 
to make this information public, it will give the person the 
opportunity to appear as a voluntary witness or submit a sworn 
statement. Procedures for addressing evidence presented at a hearing 
that may tend to defame, degrade, or incriminate any person are 
specified at 45 CFR 702.11.
    If a Commission report tends to defame, degrade, or incriminate any 
person, the report or relevant portions thereof shall be delivered to 
such person at least thirty (30) days before the report is published to 
allow such person the opportunity to make a timely verified answer to 
the report, or relevant portions thereof. Administrative Instruction 7-
1, Procedures for Providing an Opportunity for Response to Persons 
Criticized by Commission Publications and Audiovisual Products, at 
section 6 provides that whenever a publication, other than a statutory 
report, contains material that tends to defame and degrade, such person 
must be provided a full and fair opportunity to respond to such 
material. Section 7 of Administrative Instruction 7-1 provides for a 
defame and degrade review of State Advisory Committee reports. Section 
8 of Administrative Instruction 7-1 provides for a defame and degrade 
review of the Civil Rights Journal.
    (b) Legal Sufficiency Review.
    Administrative Instruction 1-6, National Project Development and 
Implementation, at section 16 provides for legal sufficiency review by 
the Office of General Counsel of draft reports and national office 
publications that are provided to the public. The purpose of the legal 
sufficiency review is to ensure the adequate interpretation and 
citation of legal materials and compliance with statutory requirements. 
SAC reports also will be subject to a legal sufficiency review.
    (c) Editorial Policy Review.
    Administrative Instruction 1-6, National Project Development and 
Implementation, at section 15 provides that the Staff Director will 
appoint members of an editorial policy board to review draft national 
reports to determine the adequacy and accuracy of the substantive 
information in the draft document (for example, conceptual soundness, 
adherence to Commission policy, quality of research, argumentation, and 
documentation of major points). The project staff revises the draft 
document in accordance with

[[Page 68559]]

the editorial board comments. The appropriate office director apprises 
the Staff Director by memorandum of areas upon which agreement was not 
reached and changes were not made. Once the substantive changes are 
made, the new material must be submitted for an expedited legal 
sufficiency review.
    The Regional Directors are responsible for ensuring that such 
reports are unbiased, methodologically sound, well written, 
appropriately organized, and properly formatted. SACs are ultimately 
responsible for the substance of their reports and memoranda. A report 
is forwarded to the Staff Director following formal approval from the 
appropriate State Advisory Committee.
    (d) Affected Agency Review.
    Administrative Instruction 1-6, National Project Development and 
Implementation, at section 17 provides that after completing any 
revisions occasioned by legal and editorial reviews, the director of 
the appropriate office sends the sections of the draft report that 
pertain to a government agency to the affected agency for review and 
comment on the accuracy of the material contained therein. The 
Commission's draft findings, conclusions, and recommendations are not 
submitted to the affected agency. Nongovernmental organizations receive 
pertinent material for review where appropriate. Upon receipt of 
comments, the project staff prepares the appropriate revisions. SAC 
reports also are subject to an affected agency review.
    .04 Information Technology and Systems Management. Administrative 
Instruction 4-18, Information Technology and Systems Management, 
provides guidance for the appropriate management of information 
technology resources and systems throughout their life cycle, in 
accordance with federal regulations, policies and guidelines. It also 
provides for the establishment and maintenance of a strategic 
information resources management planning process that includes:
    (a) An up-to-date five-year plan that has, among others, document 
linkages between mission needs and information technology capabilities; 
and
    (b) An up-to-date security and disaster preparedness plan for 
information systems that provides adequate assurances of the 
availability, confidentiality and integrity of the information systems.
    .05 The Staff Director is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of 
the agency and has primary responsibility for managing the Commission's 
information resources. The Deputy CIO will manage the Commission's 
security systems and procedures, and monitor Commission compliance with 
appropriate federal policies, principles, standards, guidelines, rules, 
and administrative instructions.
    .06 Data Collection from the Public.
    (a) Administrative Instruction 1-6, National Project Development 
and Implementation, at section 9 provides that the Chief of the 
Administrative Services and Clearinghouse Division (ASCD) is the 
Commission's designated paperwork reduction officer, and as such, is 
responsible for reviewing proposed data collection procedures as 
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. It provides that when 
collecting information from ten or more persons or organizations, the 
Commission must receive prior approval from OMB. The appropriate 
documents are submitted to the ASCD Chief at least fifty (50) days 
before the anticipated administration of a questionnaire or interview 
schedule.
    (b) The Civil Rights Commission Amendments Act of 1994, Public Law 
103-419, 108 Stat. 4338, at 42 U.S.C. 1975a(e) provides that the 
Commission may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the 
production of written or other matter in a hearing approved by the 
Commission. In addition, the Commission may use depositions and written 
interrogatories to obtain information and testimony about matters that 
are the subject of a Commission hearing or report.
    Further, data also are collected at briefings, conferences, 
hearings, and during consultation and interviews by staff. Staff shall 
submit the Commission's Privacy Act notice to potential data sources at 
these prior to collecting the data.

Section IV. Scope and Applicability of the Commission's Quality 
Information Guidelines

    .01 Consistent with OMB guidance, the definitions of information 
and dissemination set the scope and applicability of the Commission's 
quality information guidelines. For the purposes of these guidelines, 
information means any communication or representation of facts or data, 
in any medium or form, including textual, numerical, graphic, 
cartographic, narrative, or audiovisual forms. This definition includes 
information that the Commission disseminates from a Web page, but does 
not include the provision of hyperlinks to information that others 
disseminate.
    .02 This definition of information does not include:
    (a) Opinions or policies, where the presentation makes clear that 
the statements are subjective opinions, rather than facts. Underlying 
information upon which the opinion or policy is based may be subject to 
these guidelines only if the Commission publishes that information;
    (b) Information originated by and attributed to non-Commission 
sources, provided the Commission does not expressly rely upon it. 
Examples include non-U.S. government information reported and duly 
attributed in materials the Commission prepared and disseminated, 
hyperlinks on the Commission's Web site to information that others 
disseminate, and reports of advisory committees published on the 
Commission's Web site that are not explicitly endorsed by the 
Commission;
    (c) Statements relating solely to the Commission's internal 
personnel rules and practices and other materials produced for the 
Commission's employees, contractors, or agents;
    (d) Descriptions of the Commission, its responsibilities, and 
organizational components;
    (e) Statements, the modification of which might cause harm to the 
national security, including harm to the national defense or foreign 
relations of the United States;
    (f) Statements of Commission policy; however, any underlying 
information the Commission published upon which a statement is based 
may be subjected to these guidelines;
    (g) Testimony or comments of Commission officials before courts, 
administrative bodies, Congress, or the media, unless such testimony 
contains new, substantive information not previously disseminated;
    (h) Investigatory material compiled pursuant to U.S. law or for law 
enforcement purposes in the United States; or
    .03 Dissemination means Commission initiated or sponsored 
distribution of information to the public (see 5 CFR 1320.3(d) 
``Conduct or Sponsor'').
    .04 This definition of dissemination does not include distributions 
of information or other materials that are:
    (a) Produced in response to requests for Commission records under 
the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act, or similar law; or
    (b) Archival records, public filings, responses to subpoena or 
compulsory document productions, or documents prepared and released in 
the context of adjudicative processes. These guidelines do not impose 
any additional requirements on the Commission during adjudicative 
proceedings and do not

[[Page 68560]]

provide parties to such adjudicative proceedings any additional rights 
of challenge or appeal; and
    (c) Limited to Commission employees or Commission contractors or 
grantees, as well as intra- or inter-agency use or sharing of 
government information.
    .05 Consistent with OMB guidance, the Commission's guidelines apply 
to any covered information the Commission disseminated on or after 
October 1, 2002. The Commission's administrative mechanism shall apply 
to information that it disseminates on or after October 1, 2002, 
regardless of when it first disseminated the information.

Section V. The Commission's Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing 
Information Quality

    .01 In accordance with OMB guidelines, quality encompasses utility, 
objectivity, and integrity. These four statutory terms sometimes are 
collectively referred to as quality. The Commission shall adopt a basic 
standard of quality and take appropriate steps to ensure that all 
offices in the National Office and each Regional Office incorporate 
quality criteria into its information dissemination practices.
    .02 Utility of Information
    (a) Utility means the usefulness of the disseminated information to 
its intended users, including the public. The Commission is committed 
to disseminating quality information. Basic to achieving utility is an 
understanding of what information is needed as the Commission seeks to 
fulfill its mission and mandate. The Commission shall identify civil 
rights issues in which there is a critical need for information and 
shall develop and implement plans to provide such information.
    (b) The Commission shall assess the utility of the information it 
will produce from original research and secondary analysis of existing 
data. It shall also assess the utility of the information it 
disseminates that is provided by or obtained from outside sources and 
which it adopts, endorses, or uses.
    (c) When reproducibility and transparency of information are 
essential for determining information utility, the Commission shall 
ensure the reproducibility and transparency of the research design and 
analytic methods. In this context, reproducibility means that the 
information is capable of being reproduced, subject to an acceptable 
degree of imprecision. With respect to analytic results, ``capable of 
being substantially reproduced'' means that independent analysis of the 
original or supporting data using identical methods would generate 
similar analytic results, subject to an acceptable degree of 
imprecision.
    (d) In order to enhance further the utility of information, the 
Commission shall ensure that the information it will disseminate is 
clearly written in plain English, grammatically correct, and free of 
spelling or typographical errors. Where appropriate, the Commission 
shall include contact information for intended users and the public who 
may wish to obtain supplementary information, seek further elucidation, 
or provide comments.
    .03 Objectivity of Information
    Objectivity concerns substance and presentation of disseminated 
information. Substance focuses on whether the content of the 
disseminated information is accurate, reliable, unbiased, and balanced. 
Presentation concerns whether the disseminated information is presented 
in an accurate, clear, complete, and unbiased manner. The Commission is 
committed to disseminating information that reflects these two 
elements.
    (a) In the course of fulfilling its mission and mandate, the 
Commission conducts social science studies and evaluates federal civil 
rights enforcement programs, reports on findings and conclusions, and 
makes recommendations. The Commission strives for a research process 
that embodies methodological and statistical rigor, intellectual 
honesty in analysis, and presentation of findings and conclusions in 
full and proper context in order to achieve accurate, reliable, and 
unbiased reports. In this respect, the Commission's Administrative 
Instruction 1-6, National Project Development and Implementation at 
sections 7 and 8 is instructive. Consistent with it, the Commission 
shall ensure that the program office primarily responsible for reports:
    (1) Develops methodologically strong and practically feasible 
research designs capable of judging the issues addressed;
    (2) Makes explicit the assumptions underlying research efforts;
    (3) Conducts thorough review of the literature representing a wide 
range of perspectives on the subject of study or evaluation;
    (4) Uses appropriate and sound research methods to gather 
information;
    (5) Uses appropriate and sound statistical techniques to analyze 
collected information;
    (6) Ensures that the analysis is unbiased;
    (7) Presents disseminated information within a full and proper 
context, including supporting data as appropriate;
    (8) Identifies data sources (to the extent possible, consistent 
with confidentiality protections); and
    (9) Specifies limitations of the study or evaluation, including 
error sources that affect data quality.
    The Staff Director is responsible for reviewing national office 
project designs and proposals to ensure that they reflect objectivity 
and balance. The Staff Director also reviews State Advisory Committee 
reports for balance and objectivity.
    .04 In conducting social science studies and evaluation of federal 
civil rights enforcement programs, the Commission may combine original 
research with secondary analysis of existing data or may rely solely on 
the latter. The sources of existing data may be other federal 
government agencies, advisory committees, or other organizations and 
individuals. The Commission expects that these entities will subject 
information they submit to adequate quality control measures. Prior to 
using existing data from outside sources, the responsible program 
office shall review and verify the data as necessary and appropriate. 
Data collected at briefings may be verified by requiring the outside 
sources to submit testimony upon oath or affirmation. Being subject to 
these guidelines does not necessarily mean that the material the 
Commission publishes is a policy statement of the United States 
government.
    .05 When the responsible program office determines that the 
information it will disseminate is influential social science, 
financial, legal, or statistical information, it shall take extra care 
to include a high degree of transparency about data and research 
methods to meet OMB's requirement for the reproducibility of such 
information. In this context, influential means that such information 
will have or does have a clear and substantial impact on important 
public policies pertaining to civil rights issues or important private 
sector decisions that have civil rights implications. A high degree of 
transparency for disseminated information here means that the 
methodology used to derive the results is readily understandable to 
persons experienced in the appropriate field of study. In determining 
the appropriate level of transparency, the responsible program office 
will consider the types of data that can be practically subjected to a 
reproducibility requirement given ethical, feasibility, 
confidentiality, and national security constraints. In making this 
determination, the responsible program office will hold analytical 
results to an even higher standard than

[[Page 68561]]

original data. It is important that analytic results have a high degree 
of transparency regarding:
    (a) The source of the data used;
    (b) The various assumptions employed;
    (c) The analytic methods applied; and
    (d) The statistical procedures employed.
    .06 The Commission may contract, from time to time, with 
organizations or individuals to conduct research and analysis in 
support of its mission and mandate, but Commission policy does not 
influence their results. The responsible program office that 
disseminates contractor-prepared information will maintain records on 
data sources, data collection methods, and statistical techniques used 
in analysis, and retain all data and documents employed in preparing 
contractor reports. The Commission expects that contractors will adhere 
to research standards set forth in section V.03 and .04 above. When the 
Lead Office anticipates that the contractor-prepared information it 
will disseminate is influential social science, financial, or 
statistical information, it will ensure that the contractor adheres to 
section V.05 above.
    .07 The clearance process contributes in important ways to the 
objectivity of disseminated information. The Commission's 
Administrative Instruction 1-6, National Project Development and 
Implementation, at sections 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 provides a rigorous, 
multi-phased quality control clearance. Where appropriate, the 
Commission will seek substantive input from other government agencies, 
nongovernment organizations, scholars, and the public. The Commission 
also will determine if peer review is appropriate and, if necessary, 
the Lead Office will coordinate such review;
    .08 Public dissemination of hard-bound information and all 
information published in final form on the Commisson's Web site at 
http://www.usccr.gov shall occur only after clearances are obtained 
from the Office of the Staff Director, and, if appropriate, with the 
approval of the Commissioners.
    .09 These guidelines focus on procedures for the dissemination of 
information, as those terms are defined herein. Accordingly, procedures 
specifically applicable to forms of communication outside the scope of 
these guidelines, such as those for correspondence, press releases, or 
to other federal employees, among others, are not included.
    .10 Integrity of Information
    (a) Integrity refers to security, that is, the protection of 
information from unauthorized access or revision in order to ensure 
that it is not compromised through corruption or falsification. 
Information technology is essential to the Commission as it seeks to 
fulfill its mission and mandate. A critical component of information 
integrity is protecting information technology systems from 
unauthorized access that could compromise information stored therein.
    .11 Consistent with Administrative Instruction 4-18, Information 
Technology and Systems Management, the Commission shall ensure that 
ASCD coordinates and works with all offices in the National Office, the 
Regional Offices, and SACs to guarantee the integrity of information 
residing in its technology systems.
    .12 To assist in fulfilling its mission, the Commission's Office of 
Civil Rights Evaluation and Office of General Counsel conduct studies 
on issues with civil rights implications. They may collect information 
for analysis and/or obtain existing information from other sources. 
These program offices shall protect such information from unauthorized, 
unanticipated, or unintentional modification. They shall use 
appropriate controls to safeguard draft reports and confidential 
information, such as interrogatory responses, from improper 
dissemination.

Section VI. Administrative Procedures for Pre-Dissemination Review

    .01 Each Commission's program office in the National Office and 
each Regional Office shall incorporate OMB and Commission information 
quality principles into their existing pre-dissemination review 
procedures as appropriate.

Section VII. Administrative Mechanism for Correction of Information

    .01 The Commission shall allow any affected person to request the 
correction of Commission-disseminated information that does not comply 
with applicable OMB and Commission information quality guidelines. An 
affected person is an individual or an entity that may use, benefit 
from, or be harmed by the disseminated information at issue.
    .02 Information Correction Requests
    (a) In the Commission's correction request process the burden of 
proof rests with the requester. An affected person who believes that 
information the Commission disseminates does not adhere to the 
information quality guidelines of OMB or the Commission, and who would 
like to request correction of specific information, needs to submit a 
Petition for Correction with the following information.
    (1) Name, mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, and 
organizational affiliation (if any) of the individual or organization 
submitting a petition;
    (2) Detailed description of the information the requester believes 
does not comply with the Commission's guidelines, including the exact 
name of the report or publication, the date, and a description of the 
specific item in question;
    (3) Description of the requester's interest in the information and 
how the requester is affected by the information in question;
    (4) Description of reason(s) that the information should be 
corrected, including the elements of the information quality guidelines 
that were not followed; and
    (5) The specific corrective action sought, including (if 
applicable) temporary corrective action pending full resolution of the 
complaint.
    (b) The Petition for Correction should be sent to the Deputy Chief 
Information Officer (DCIO) for Information Management at the following 
address: Deputy Chief Information Officer, U.S. Commission on Civil 
Rights, 624 Ninth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20425.
    (c) Alternatively, requesters may submit an e-mail request to the 
following address: qualityinfo@usccr.gov. Requesters should indicate 
that they are submitting an Information Quality Request in the subject 
line of the e-mail.
    .03 The DCIO will review the request and determine whether it 
contains all the information required for a Petition. If the request is 
unclear or incomplete, he/she will seek clarification from the 
requester.
    .04 If the request is complete, the DCIO will forward it to the 
appropriate program office(s) for a response. The responsible office(s) 
will determine whether a correction is warranted, and if so, what 
corrective action it will take. The answer will take into consideration 
the importance of the information involved, the magnitude of the error, 
and the cost of undertaking the correction.
    .05 The Commission is not required to change the content or status 
of information simply based on the receipt of a Petition for 
Correction. The Commission may reject a request that appears to be made 
in bad faith or without justification, and is only required to 
undertake the degree of correction that is appropriate for the nature 
and timeliness of the information involved. In addition, the Commission

[[Page 68562]]

need not respond to requests involving information not covered by the 
information quality guidelines.
    .06 The Commission will respond to all Petitions for Correction 
within sixty (60) calendar days of the receipt of the request by the 
DCIO, unless there is a reasonable basis for an extension. The 
requester will be told of the right to appeal the decision.
    .07 Appeal
    (a) If the requester is not satisfied with the Commission's 
decision on the request, he/she may appeal to the Commission's CIO 
within thirty (30) calendar days of the receipt of the Commission's 
decision. This administrative appeal must include a copy of the initial 
request, a copy of the Commission's decision, and a written narrative 
explaining why the requester believes the Commission's decision was 
inadequate, incomplete, or in error.
    (b) This appeal will be sent to the Commission's CIO at the 
following address: The Chief Information Officer, Staff Director's 
Office, RE: Information Quality Appeal, Room 700, 624 Ninth Street, 
NW., Washington, DC 20425.
    (c) All appeals will be impartially reviewed by parties other than 
those who prepared the Commission's decision. The Commission will 
respond to all appeals within sixty (60) calendar days of the CIO's 
receipt of the appeal.
    (d) If the appropriate Commission official, whether at the initial 
or appeal stage, decides that the requester is correct and the 
information should be corrected, he/she will notify the Staff Director 
who will instruct the official to take appropriate corrective actions. 
Appropriate corrective actions may take a number of forms, including 
(but not limited to): Errata pages, personal contacts via letter or 
telephone, form letters, press releases or postings on the Commission's 
Web site. Corrective measures, where appropriate, should be designed to 
provide reasonable notice to affected persons of such correction.The 
Commission will also post information quality correction requests to 
its Web site. The specific information will include a copy of each 
correction request, the Commission's formal response(s), and any 
communications regarding appeals.

[FR Doc. E7-23526 Filed 12-4-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6335-01-P