A letter is circulating Capitol Hill requesting Labor SecretaryThomas Perez open another 15 to 30 day comment period after theagency makes changes to its proposed fiduciaryrule.

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Originating from the office of Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, theletter articulates support for Perez and Labor’s efforts tofinalize a new best interest standard.

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Read: Several House Democrats concerned over DOlfiduciary rule

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The proposed rule seeks to limit the conflicts of interests itssupporters say are systemic to the financial advice given to IRAaccount holders and sponsors of workplace retirement plans.

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“Given your Department’s commitment to transparency and publicinput, we request that upon determining the specific changes theDOL will make to the Rule, you open a 15-30 day comment periodprior to finalizing the Rule,” writes Polis in the letter.

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“Otherwise, it will be harder to discern if the Rule can beimplemented without unintended consequences, particularly regardingthe provision of high-quality financial advice to low and middleincome American families,” said Polis.

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Polis, one of 52 House members of the New Democrat Coalition, acaucus that advocates for “pro-growth, fiscally-responsible” publicpolicy, argued in the letter that the supplemental comment periodwould not disrupt DOL’s intention to implement a new rule by theend of 2016.

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He also said the additional comment period would assure a newrule complies with the Administrative Procedure Act, the law firstenacted in 1946 that oversees how government agencies implement newregulations.

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Polis did not vote for the Retail Investor Protection Act this week, whichpassed through the House with only three votes fromDemocrats.

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That law would insist the Securities and Exchange Commission bethe lead regulator in crafting a new best interest standard, andrequire the DOL to postpone its rulemaking effort. The White Househas vowed to veto the legislation if it were to pass theSenate.

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Some opponents of DOL’s rule have suggested that the changes theagency is currently crafting are expected to be substantial enoughto require the rule be pulled and re-proposed in order to complywith the APA.

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Supporters of the rule say thatargument amounts to nothing more than a stall tactic. Those whowant to see the fiduciary rule killed are hoping to delay itsimplementation until after President Obama leaves office, on thehope a prospective Republican administration will craft a uniformfiduciary standard more favorable to Wall Street.

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Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, anadvocacy for transparency in financial markets and a vociferoussupporter of DOL’s rule, is circulating its own letter to membersof Congress, urging them not to sign Polis’ letter.

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“Regardless of the intentions of the authors and cosigners, thepractical effect of reopening and extending the comment periodwould be the same outcome that the Koch Brothers and Wall Streetare trying to achieve: delaying, watering down and, ultimately,killing a rule that protects hardworking Americans’ retirementsavings,” according to the letter from Kelleher.

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Polis’ letter says a supplemental shortened comment period haslegal precedent, citing a 2001 decision by the Fifth Circuit Courtof Appeals in Texas Office of Public Utility Counsel v. FCC.

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Kelleher, who formerly was a litigator with Skadden Arps beforeserving as chief counsel to the Chairman of the Senate DemocraticPolicy Committee, says Polis’ request for an added comment period“has no basis in law.”

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“Such a request may sound reasonable and benign, but courtsstrongly disfavor this practice because it degrades the rulemakingprocess by making agencies fear that they could find themselves‘stuck in an infinite feedback loop of public comments’,” wroteKelleher, referring to a 2003 decision from the Seventh CircuitCourt of Appeals in Alto Dairy v. Veneman.

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That ruling said, “the law does not require that everyalteration in a proposed rule be reissued for notice and comment,”according to court documents.

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In his letter, Kelleher added that a supplemental comment periodwill “needlessly delay and likely kill the best interest rule,which will help tens of millions of Americans who are trying tosave for a dignified and secure retirement.”

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Read all our coverage on the DOL fiduciaryrule

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