Sucking the air from the whistle

Steve Henn Nov 2, 2007


Lisa Napoli: Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are pushing hard to beef-up the power of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But another bill in the House would ditch whistle-blower protections. Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports.

Steve Henn: Industry groups hate the proposed whistle-blower protections and lobbied against them.

But Danielle Brian at the Project on Government Oversight says she was still surprised when House leaders left those protections out of their bill.

Danielle Brian: The Consumer Products Safety Commission has become such a hobbled agency. That’s why you need whistle-blowers coming forward.

The Commission has been under fire for lead in Chinese toys and dragging its feet on recalls.

And today, the Washington Post reported that two commissioners accepted nearly $60,000 in free trips — many paid for by the business groups they regulate. One $11,000 jaunt to China was paid for by a fireworks testing organization that’s now asking the Commission for a rules change.

Brian: You can’t have people with a financial interest funding these trips.

Federal rules forbid commissioners from accepting free trips if they raise questions about the agency’s integrity.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.