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September 24, 2019

President Donald J. Trump

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Trump:

The undersigned organizations dedicated to promoting free markets, limited government, and
constitutional principles write to raise serious concerns about Notice No. 176, a new rule proposed by
the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) that will, by violating your administration’s
deregulatory mandates, pose significant harm to small businesses and consumer choice.

TTB is an obscure but powerful agency within the Department of Treasury. It was created to “provide the
consumer with adequate information as to the identity and quality of the products.” Unfortunately,
however, Notice No. 176 seems more interested in advancing the regulatory agenda of the Obama
administration than it does in addressing the concerns of American consumers.

TTB contends that it released Notice No. 176 to “eliminate unnecessary regulatory requirements and
provide consumers broader purchasing options.” Although cloaking it as a deregulatory effort, No. 176
would add two and a half times the number of regulations governing the distilled spirits industry. This
comes in stark violation to Executive Order 13771 that you signed on February 3, 2017, which directs all
agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new one proposed. Given that Notice No. 176 has also
been said to create hundreds of millions in new business costs, it also seemingly violates Executive Order
12866, which states that the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs must review any new
significant regulatory action before it is formally proposed.

In no way can the new directives found within Notice No. 176 be said to streamline existing law. In fact,
TTB declined to modernize labeling to meet twenty-first century norms, as an array of consumer groups
have requested, citing “complexity.” Instead, it opted to impose more burdensome mandates on small
businesses. From dictating what barrel sizes distilleries can use, to micro-managing exactly where
statements must appear on product labeling, Notice No. 176 will help to ensure that no stone is left
unturned in the present-day regulatory state.

Although TTB may operate with the best of intentions, it presently embodies all the worst features of the
modern-day regulatory state. Its arbitrary and capricious directorial standards, along with its broad
authority to issue hefty civil penalties without justification, can punish, weaken, and even bankrupt small
businesses without cause – destroying competition and consumer choice in the process. The Bureau is in
desperate need of reform, not more regulatory power. And yet, Notice No. 176 will provide it with the
latter. The looming, never-ending threats the rule’s uncertainty will present to small businesses is as much
of a moral issue as it is an economic one.

Notice No. 176 appears to be a continuation of the flawed policies and self-serving bureaucracy of past
administrations. We implore you to work with the Treasury Department in ensuring TTB pulls it back and
replaces it with a rule that is aligned with your government reform goals and desire to put consumers


Andrew Langer, Seton Motley

President, Institute for Liberty President, Less Government

Norm Singleton George Landrith

President, Campaign for Liberty President, Frontiers of Freedom

Judson Phillips Richard Manning

President, Tea Party Nation President, Americans for Limited Government

Peter Ferrara David Williams

Senior Policy Advisor, National Tax-Limitation President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Matthew Kandrach
Chuck Muth President, Consumer Action for a Strong
President, Citizen Outreach Economy

Charles Sauer Steve Pociask

President, Market Institute President, American Consumer Institute

Sean Noble
President, American Encore

Cc: Steve Mnuchin, Secretary, Department of the Treasury

Cc: Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Management and Budget
Cc: Russ Vought, Deputy Director, Office of Management and Budget