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Tag Archive: US PIRG

HeathyToys.org

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The massive and numerous recalls of Chinese-made toys because of lead-based paint and other toxins naturally have parents worried, especially this time of year. There was another recall announced just yesterday, this time of toddler potty training seats tainted with lead paint. This latest recall makes 99 recalls for 2007 totaling more than 16 million products, according to OMB Watch. The so-called federal watchdog, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is underfunded and largely toothless. Maybe this is part of the problem?

Then there is the issue of the former and acting chiefs of the CPSC, and their close relationship with industries they were responsible for regulating. Last month, The Washington Post reported that the agency's acting chairman, Nancy Nord, and the previous chairman, Hal Stratton, had "taken dozens of trips at the expense of the toy, appliance and children's furniture industries and others they regulate." In May, Bush's nominee to head the CPSC, Michael Baroody, was forced to withdraw his nomination when it became clear that he would not win confirmation in the Senate Commerce Committee because he was a senior lobbyist with the National Association of Manufacturers.

In the face of the feds' dereliction of its duty, activist groups are jumping into the breach.

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New Reports Shine More Light

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Two new reports shine light on waste, corruption and the buying of influence in Washington.

Earlier this week, U.S. PIRG released a report showing how the federal government continues to waste tens of billions in the process of outsourcing work to private companies. "Forgiving Fraud And Failure: Profiles In Federal Contracting" reports on how the feds continue to work with companies that did shoddy work and or were found to have committed fraud.

Last year, the federal government spent $422 billion outsourcing work to private companies, a 100 percent increase since 2000, all with precious little oversight. U.S. PIRG reports that loose rules, lack of competition, and limited accountability are the problems. PIRG's suggestions: increase the disclosure of contract information; increasing competition among multiple bidders; and strengthening the screening of bad actors.

Our friends at POGO have been refining their "Federal Contractor Misconduct Database", a valuable tool for investigative journalists and citizens who want to see the rap sheets on companies our government hires. The fact that these contractors are also large campaign donors just rounds out the equation.

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