The Honorable Nancy A. Nord
Acting Chairman, Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814
Dear Chairman Nord:
Today's Washington Post article highlighting Commission trips funded by companies or interest groups regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) greatly concerns us all. These trips raise very serious concerns that certain segments of industry may be exerting undue influence over the decision making-process at the CPSC. We are particularly concerned about reports of a trip you took to New Orleans earlier this year to make a presentation to the Defense Research Institute, an organization defending companies involved in product liability cases.
As you are aware, we have been working diligently to reform the CPSC and provide solutions to systemic problems at the agency, including additional authority to protect children from lead in toys and additional funding to protect consumers from dangerous imported products. We have appreciated your input during this process. However, we believe these industry-funded trips require Congressional consideration and additional public scrutiny. For these reasons, when the CPSC Reform Act of 2007 is considered on the Senate floor, we will seek legislative changes to the bill to ban travel paid for by companies or industries regulated by the CPSC.
Many agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission have similar rules restricting industry sponsored travel. As Congress considers the best solutions to fix and bolster the CPSC, we believe we should free the CPSC from any appearance of impropriety or undue influence from regulated industries. Leaving the Commission vulnerable to such charges is unacceptable.
In the meantime, we would request that your agency conduct a full internal review of CPSC travel and make appropriate administrative changes in anticipation of legislation.
Thank you for this opportunity to express our concerns. As always, we are willing to discuss these issues further with you and welcome constructive feedback.
Senator Mark Pryor Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Charles E. Schumer
Senator Claire McCaskill
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Richard J. Durbin
Senator Robert Menendez