This article employs section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act, popularly known as the Volcker rule, to examine agency level activity during the pre-proposal rulemaking phase – a time period about which little is known, despite its importance to policy outcomes. By capitalizing on transparency efforts specific to Dodd-Frank, I am able to access information on agency contacts whose disclosure is not required by the APA and, therefore, not typically available to researchers. 

I analyze the roughly 8000 public comment letters received by FSOC in advance of its study regarding Volcker rule implementation, and the meeting logs of the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, CFTC, SEC, and FDIC prior to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This analysis reveals significant public activity, but also a stark difference in investment by financial institutions versus other actors in influencing Volcker rule implementation. It also reveals a greater unity of interest among financial market participants than would be suggested by press reports and the provision’s legislative history. Finally, the data shed light on the efficacy of the notice and comment process as a means for federal agencies to engage the general public.

Kimberly D. Krawiec, Don’t ’Screw Joe the Plummer’: The Sausage-Making of Financial Reform, 55 Arizona Law Review, 53–104 (2013).