15 U.S. Code § 657. Oversight of regulatory enforcement
(a) DefinitionsFor purposes of this section, the term—
(b) SBA Enforcement Ombudsman
Not later than 180 days after March 29, 1996, the Administrator shall designate a Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman, who shall report directly to the Administrator, utilizing personnel of the Small Business Administration to the extent practicable. Other agencies shall assist the Ombudsman and take actions as necessary to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section. Nothing in this section is intended to replace or diminish the activities of any Ombudsman or similar office in any other agency.
(2) The Ombudsman shall—
work with each agency with regulatory authority over small businesses to ensure that small business concerns that receive or are subject to an audit, on-site inspection, compliance assistance effort, or other enforcement related communication or contact by agency personnel are provided with a means to comment on the enforcement activity conducted by such personnel;
establish means to receive comments from small business concerns regarding actions by agency employees conducting compliance or enforcement activities with respect to the small business concern, means to refer comments to the Inspector General of the affected agency in the appropriate circumstances, and otherwise seek to maintain the identity of the person and small business concern making such comments on a confidential basis to the same extent as employee identities are protected under section 7 of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.);
based on substantiated comments received from small business concerns and the Boards, annually report to Congress and affected agencies evaluating the enforcement activities of agency personnel including a rating of the responsiveness to small business of the various regional and program offices of each agency;
(c) Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards
(2) Each Board established under paragraph (1) shall—
meet at least annually to advise the Ombudsman on matters of concern to small businesses relating to the enforcement activities of agencies;
prior to publication, provide comment on the annual report of the Ombudsman prepared under subsection (b).
Each Board shall consist of five members, who are owners, operators, or officers of small business concerns, appointed by the Administrator, after receiving the recommendations of the chair and ranking minority member of the Committees on Small Business of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Not more than three of the Board members shall be of the same political party. No member shall be an officer or employee of the Federal Government, in either the executive branch or the Congress.
A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business, but a lesser number may hold hearings.
(d) Powers of Boards
The Board may hold such hearings and collect such information as appropriate for carrying out this section.
Members of the Board shall serve without compensation, provided that, members of the Board shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5 while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Board.
References in Text
Change of Name
Committee on Small Business of Senate changed to Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship of Senate. See Senate Resolution No. 123, One Hundred Seventh Congress, June 29, 2001.