Safety Commission trips paid by industries

Nov. 2, 2007 at 7:10 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Internal records from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission showed the agency's chief has taken multiple trips paid for by regulated industries.

Nearly 30 trips taken by the agency's acting chairman, Nancy Nord, and the previous chairman, Hal Stratton, since 2002 have been paid for at least in part by trade associations and manufacturers in the toy, appliance, children's furniture and other industries, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The total cost of airfare, lodging and meals for the trips to China, Spain, San Francisco, New Orleans, a South Carolina golf resort and other destinations totaled nearly $60,000.

The trips included an $11,000 visit to China and Hong Kong by Stratton during his tenure at the head of the commission. The expedition was paid for by the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory, a Bethesda, Md., company with laboratories in Asia.

The agency said the fireworks company had no pending regulatory requests at the time of the trip but an organization newsletter revealed the company has since entered a pending request for the CPSC to adopt its safety standards.

Travel restrictions imposed on government agencies state that departments shouldn't accept money for travel from sources other than the federal government if the compensation "would cause a reasonable person ... to question the integrity of agency programs or operations."

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