Trump Issues EO on Overcriminalization

On his last full day in office, President Donald Trump issued an executive order attacking the scourge of federal overcriminalization.

From the text:

In the interest of fairness, Federal criminal law should be clearly written so that all Americans can understand what is prohibited and act accordingly. Some statutes have authorized executive branch agencies to promulgate thousands of regulations, creating a thicket of requirements that can be difficult to navigate, and many of these regulations are enforceable through criminal processes and penalties. The purpose of this order is to alleviate regulatory burdens on Americans by ensuring that they have notice of potential criminal liability for violations of regulations and by focusing criminal enforcement of regulatory offenses on the most culpable individuals.

Specifically, the order increases agency transparency, provides clarity in liability for violations, and addresses mens rea when absent from the text of a given regulation.

The order is worth reading in full here. Let’s hope President-Elect Biden and his administration respect this important and very welcomed order.