In a memo to staff, CBO’s founding director, Alice Rivlin, emphasized the importance that the agency's work is objective, impartial, and nonpartisan.
CBO takes many steps to ensure that its work remains objective, impartial, and nonpartisan, and it enforces strict rules that prevent employees from having financial conflicts of interest and that limit their political activities.
CBO encourages open discussion of analytic issues under consideration. The agency’s analysts carefully read relevant research and examine data collected by government agencies and private organizations. All of CBO’s products undergo rigorous review by people at different levels of the organization. Furthermore, CBO’s reports are reviewed by outside experts who specialize in the issue at hand. The agency also explains the basis of its findings so that outside analysts can understand the results and examine the methodologies used.
The outside experts who consult with CBO represent a variety of perspectives and include professors, think-tank analysts, industry group representatives, other private-sector experts, and federal, state, and local government employees (see CBO's Panel of Economic Advisers and Panel of Health Advisers). In choosing members of its panels of advisers and in weighing their input, CBO considers whether members and potential members are engaged in substantial political activity or have significant financial interests that might influence, or might reasonably appear to influence, their perspective on the issues about which CBO is seeking their advice. Although CBO draws on many outside experts, the agency’s findings are based on its own judgments, and it is solely responsible for them.
Finally, CBO makes no policy recommendations, because choices about public policy inevitably involve value judgments that the agency does not and should not make.