Corruption not really corruption says Bush nominee

Michael Baroody isn't interested in the money, rather he wants somebody to think about the children. And besides, Crony Capitalism is what got Mr. Baroody the job in the first place - why wouldn't he expect, nay demand a a little taste.

Cold Lucid Indifference

Bush Pick Gets Extra Payment From Old Job
A lobbyist for manufacturers chosen to enforce consumer laws called his severance an “extraordinary payment.”

A senior lobbyist at the National Association of Manufacturers nominated by President Bush to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission will receive a $150,000 departing payment from the association when he takes his new government job, which involves enforcing consumer laws against members of the association.

The lobbyist, Michael E. Baroody, wrote recently to the commission’s general counsel that the severance was an “extraordinary payment” under a federal ethics rule, requiring him to remove himself from agency matters involving the association for two years. Under the rule, a payment is “extraordinary” if an employer grants it after learning that the employee is being considered for a government position and it is not part of an established compensation or benefits program.

Mr. Baroody said in the letter that the payment would not prevent him from considering matters involving individual companies that are members of the manufacturers’ association, many of whom are defendants in agency proceedings over defective products or have other business before the commission. Nor would it preclude him from involvement with smaller trade groups like those representing makers of home appliances and children’s products that have alliances with the association.

Oh really? How brazen.

The nomination of Mr. Baroody, executive vice president at the association, has provoked heavy criticism from Democrats and consumer groups. He is the latest in a line of industry officials and lobbyists to be given senior jobs by Mr. Bush at federal safety agencies that oversee matters like workplace and mine safety and transportation as the administration has sought to roll back hundreds of regulations that businesses viewed as excessive.

As a major trade organization for the largest companies in the country, the National Association of Manufacturers often has issues before the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It recently prevailed on the agency, for instance, to relax the requirements for when companies must notify the agency about defective products. The White House, Mr. Baroody and the commission would not make available the letter that Mr. Baroody wrote describing the $150,000 payment. A copy was provided by a Democratic Congressional aide who found it in Mr. Baroody’s nomination file in the Senate.

Government ethics experts said people occasionally received a severance payment when they left the private sector for a government job, but it could be problematic when the person was going to a post whose mission was to regulate the former employer. Mr. Baroody’s nomination will be before the Senate Commerce Committee next week. He is opposed not only by consumer groups but also by trial lawyers, firefighters and pediatricians. They have highlighted what they say are repeated actions taken by Mr. Baroody and the association on behalf of companies that have made consumer products less safe.

Mr. Baroody “not only represented the interests of the nation’s manufacturing firms — often in direct opposition to the interest of consumers — but led efforts to weaken the C.P.S.C. and opposed numerous initiatives to protect children and the public from unsafe products,” said Dr. Jay E. Berkelhamer, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in a letter opposing the nomination.

So in other words, no wonder the Bush administration nominated Mr. Baroody.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on May 16, 2007 5:52 AM.

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