Guidance on Ex Parte Communications
Guidance on Communication with Parties outside of the Federal Executive Branch (Ex Parte Communications) This document covers informal rulemaking, agency adjudications, and a wide variety of other administrative proceedings undertaken by the Department, as well as public contacts in litigation.
Ex Parte Guidance: Informal Rulemaking Overview
- DOT acts as the receiver of information.
DOT personnel cannot: negotiate or provide any substantive, non-public information.
DOT personnel can:
- Listen and ask clarifying questions.
- Answer factual questions about public documents.
- DOT dockets information for transparency.
For ex parte communications that occur prior to publication of an NPRM, DOT:
- Includes in the rulemaking docket information on the date of the communication, participants, and name of the rulemaking(s) discussed.
- Includes in the preamble to the proposed rule more detailed discussion of any communications – specifically, a summary of the issues discussed sufficient to provide an understanding of the key points made and key supporting information or reasoning offered.
- Includes in the rulemaking docket any materials provided by the outside parties that serve as a basis for the proposal.
For ex parte communications that occur after publication of the NPRM, DOT:
- May request that the outside party prepare a memorandum memorializing the meeting or communication.
- In addition to the date of the communication, list of attendees, and name of the rulemaking, the memorandum should include the issues discussed in sufficient detail to provide an understanding of the key points made and key supporting information or reasoning offered.
- Any materials provided by the outside parties should be included as attachments to the memorandum.
- Reserves the right to supplement a memorandum with additional information or request that the party making the filing do so.
For all ex parte communications, DOT:
Will docket information or memoranda memorializing communications as soon as possible (with the goal being within one week of the meeting). DOT’s intent is to ensure that other interested parties have notice of any ex parte meetings and an opportunity to comment on any information submitted during an ex parte meeting.