New Web Tool Provides Easy Tracking of Rulemaking Comments
by Katie Greenhaw, 2/6/2013
A new online tool allows users to better follow the rulemaking process and monitor the public comments agencies receive on proposed rules. Docket Wrench, launched by the Sunlight Foundation, provides access to more than 3.5 million regulatory documents. The tool is intended to help the public follow the influence of special interests in the rulemaking process by tracking and grouping their comments.
Docket Wrench collects rules, comments, and supplemental materials contained in rulemaking dockets using Regulations.gov’s recently enhanced application programming interface(API) capabilities. Users can view individual submissions as well as the total number of comments included in each docket. An especially useful new function of the tool is its ability to group similar comments within a rulemaking docket and identify commonly used comment language. This will allow users to spot form letter comments and follow commenting trends.