Based upon increasing public pressure, yesterday lobbyist Michael Baroody removed his name from consideration to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In another post, I questioned whether a lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) should head an organization which has conflicting objectives. The National Association of Manufacturers lobbies on behalf of many companies whose conduct is subject to oversight by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to Florida Senator Bill Nelson,
“If you want to guard the interests of the hens, you don’t put the fox in charge of the henhouse,”
Increasingly, other Senators and organizations agreed. Illinois Senator Richard Durbin pointed to the following example of conflicting objectives between the CPSC and NAM:
Durbin pointed to the National Association of Manufacturers’ efforts to fend off regulations that would have expedited recalls of dangerous children’s products and toughened requirements for reporting product hazards.
I have previously suggested that perhaps Mr. Baroody would not be the best choice to head a consumer safety agency when his lobbyist position often required him to oppose CPSC objectives. While this person may be extremely competent and well-qualified to understand the issues involving the safety of consumer products, perhaps the mere appearance of a conflict of interest could have created subsequent problems heading this consumer protection agency. I applaud Mr. Baroody for withdrawing his name from consideration at this time and hope that whoever ultimately heads the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the future has the objective ability to assist the organization in:
protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.