Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I am surprised at the ease with which I am surprised. Some things are just par for the course, and yet I stand, mouth agape, unable to believe that which is in front of my face.

The latest example is with the Bush Nominee to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The nominee is Michael Baroody, a senior lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers otherwise known as the people the CPSC is supposed to monitor.

It seems that Baroody received a severance package worth $150,000 for leaving his job to work for the government. According to the NYT story,

Experts in executive compensation said it was unusual for someone to be paid under a severance agreement for voluntarily leaving to take a top position at another organization.

You don't say. Fortunately the Bush Administration has determined everything is above board.

A spokeswoman for the White House, Emily Lawrimore, said the administration was satisfied that Mr. Baroody “has taken the steps necessary to avoid any conflict of interest in the event he is confirmed.”

Well that's good enough for me. But some people aren't as trusting as I am. Among the doubting Thomi are "consumer groups but also by trial lawyers, firefighters and pediatricians."

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.

What a surprise.

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