The Consumer Product Safety Commission is supposed to keep watch over companies that make products and businesses that sell them to you — so you don’t end up buying dangerous goods. An important job, since their website says faulty products cost Americans $700 billion a year.
They’ve gotten kids’ flamable pajamas off the market and they recall dangerous child car seats and toys that could choke children to death.
The CPSC just held a public meeting to come up with new safety guidelines. But guess who the bigwigs at CPSC went out to dinner with the night before – lawyers representing the people they’re supposed to regulate.
CPSC Chairman Harold D. Stratton, compliance chief John “Gib” Mullan, and general counsel Page C. Faulk sat down to dine behind the closed doors of the Ceiba restaurant’s private Blue Room with lawyers and lobbyists of AFLA International. This is the bunch representing the manufacturers and retailers who’d be affected by those new rules. The room is usually reserved for banquets with catering at around $40 to $60 a head. About 20 folks total were at the closed door dinner.
Compliance chief Mullan says it was just a friendly little sit-down with out-of-town lawyers.
Consumer groups say at the very least, the meeting should have been put on the Commission’s public calendar. CPSC policy says they’re supposed to notify the public in advance of any meetings agency people go to where issues the Commission deals with should come up.
Consumer advocates are angry. Maybe they missed a meal and are just cranky. But they say when you have three top honchos of a regulatory agency hooking up with top lawyers of the people they regulate the night before they discuss new regulations — you gotta question the timing.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is supposed to protect us from dangerous products. We still don’t have a commission to protect us from dangerous products of Washington’s “buddy-buddy” system.
[Crossposted at Watching Washington]