Manufacturing Consent on Product Safety Nominee

A controversial nominee to head the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just got more controversial. Michael E. Baroody, currently a senior lobbyist at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), "will receive a $150,000 departing payment" from NAM "when he takes his new government job, which involves enforcing consumer laws against members of the association." Baroody informed CPSC of the "extraordinary payment" (as it's called under federal ethics rules), and will "remove himself from agency matters involving the association for two years." However, Baroody says he can immediately consider "matters involving individual companies that are members" of NAM -- "many of whom are defendants in agency proceedings over defective products or have other business before the commission" -- and matters involving smaller trade groups aligned with NAM. At NAM, Baroody lobbied to limit asbestos makers' liability and advocated against state safety standards for cigarettes. Consumer groups, firefighters, lawyers and doctors oppose Baroody's nomination, as do several Democrats. The American Academy of Pediatrics warned that Baroody has "led efforts to weaken the C.P.S.C. and opposed numerous initiatives to protect children and the public from unsafe products."