CPSC Heads Receive Gifts From Industry

We’ve been critical of the Consumer Products Safety Commission for its failures in regulating dangerous products (see posts here, here and here). Now, the Washington Post reports that manufacturer groups have paid for numerous trips for CPSC executives:

The chief of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and her predecessor have taken dozens of trips at the expense of the toy, appliance and children’s furniture industries and others they regulate, according to internal records obtained by The Washington Post. Some of the trips were sponsored by lobbying groups and lawyers representing the makers of products linked to consumer hazards.

The records document nearly 30 trips since 2002 by the agency’s acting chairman, Nancy Nord, and the previous chairman, Hal Stratton, that were paid for in full or in part by trade associations or manufacturers of products ranging from space heaters to disinfectants. The airfares, hotels and meals totaled nearly $60,000.

Not surprisingly, these gifts included trips to China, in part financed by the Toy Industry Association.

The article went on to note that Ann Brown, who served as CPSC chairman from 1994 to 2001, traveled only at the expense of the agency or of media organizations that sponsored appearances where she announced product recalls, refusing to accept gifts from those that the commission regulates. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Food and Drug Administration have similar bans on accepting gifts from those it regulates.

Thanks to Bill Childs at the Torts Prof Blog for the heads up.

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