When the Labor Department officially delayed full implementation of its fiduciary rule until July 1, 2019, it said the extension would give the department more time “to consider public comments.” Now it turns out that many of those public comments were probably fake, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal.
The newspaper hired research firm Mercury Analytics to survey 345 commenters among more than 3,100 who “appeared to be unaffiliated with industry or consumer groups or firms” and whose comments were critical of the fiduciary rule. Fifty people responded and 20 of them, or 40%, said they had never sent a comment to the Labor Department.
Mercury Analysis said the survey results indicate “that the practice of submitting comments without the approval of the individuals identified occurs with frequency,” according to the Journal story. It quotes several of the survey respondents who were falsely identified as commenters, none of them happy with the fraudulent use of their names and other personal information.
It’s not clear who is behind the fraudulent comments that the Labor Department received.