Friday, November 02, 2007

More corruption in Bush's Washington

I just posted the other day about the crook who is running the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Rational Resistance: It's not just the big things Actually, it wasn't that clear that she's crooked, it was just clear at the time that she is opposed to the very mission of the agency she heads, and she demonstrates that by opposing legislation that would make her agency more effective, expand its budget and staff, and thereby make American consumers safer.
Just a day later, and what do we find out? Of course she's crooked, we just didn't know it yet. Now we do. A story in today's Post shows that the CPSC people have been going crazy taking junkets paid for by the industries they're supposed to be regulating:
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, and the destinations included China, Spain, San Francisco, New Orleans and a golf resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

How can you justify this? Obviously, you can't, which isn't to say she doesn't try. Nancy Nord was on McNeil-Lehrer tonight, and they interviewed her about this scandal, and she tried to justify it, partly because it's entirely within the proper realm of the agency to be communicating with the industry they regulate, and these junkets were the way to do that. Naturally, one giant hole in that argument is that she's also arguing against giving her agency more money, and if she thinks there are things the agency should be doing, that somebody else needs to be paying for it, then maybe they should really be getting an adequate budget.

Of course, it's worse than that. With these guys it's always worse than it looks at first, right?
Take a look at what she said about addressing industry groups: But at this point, our agency needs to be talking to our constituencies to make sure that they understand their obligations under the law.
"Our constituencies."
The people the CPSC works for, at least in the eyes of Nancy Nord, are the people who make dangerous products, toys made with lead, and other products that poison or kill American consumers.
She's right, of course, but this is just one more sign of what's so vicious about the Republicans.


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