• Mar 12th 2010 at 10:01AM
  • 15

One of the most interesting sidebars that came out of Toyota's recent recall woes and the subsequent Congressional hearings on the subject was the Japanese automaker's relationship with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Actually, the interesting part of the relationship with the regulatory body had more to do with the fact that Toyota hired former NHTSA employees who subsequently negotiated terms of safety investigations with former co-workers.

While current federal law prohibits an employee of the Executive branch from leaving a government post to represent a matter in the private sector in said employee's previous official area of responsibility, at least one former NHTSA executive feels tougher standards are in order. ABC News reports that Joan Claybrook (in pink, above), who ran NHTSA during the Carter administration, feels that the Obama administration needs to crack down on her former department because it's become too cozy with the auto industry it is tasked with overseeing.

In a prepared statement before her testimony in front of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, Claybrook said automakers including Toyota treat NHTSA "with contempt." But while some of her testimony will center on Toyota's dealings with the government agency, the former safety boss says she has found a total of 40 former NHTSA or Department of Transportation employees who currently work in the auto industry. Claybrook says all three domestic automakers as well as BMW, Honda, Suzuki and various trade associations all have ex-NHTSA or DOT employees on staff.

[Source: ABC News | Image: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Joan Claybrook? Ick.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you think government can run well on name and appearance alone then you are sadly mistaken. I think its about time someone who is or has good contacts by being formally among Capital Hill start talking about this issue and I honestly hope this can actually set a good precedent for dealing with other executive agencies that are too pervasively fraught with the interests they are meant to oversee. Or it will merely come down to more pointless banter that will give C-SPAN something to cover and major media an anecdote to fill in the void with between headlines.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They're all a bunch of crooks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Gee.... corruption, collusion, favors, graft, and cronyism... and conflicts of interest taller than the Washington monument...

      Sounds like a regular day in Washington DC.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Too cozy?
      You think?

      The NHTSA is more corrupt than any individual Auto Maker since it sleeps with all of them.

      What a joke of an Administration...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go git'em Joan!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Government is corrupt ? really what else is new.....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Amen to that.

        pentagon defense contractors

        fda big pharma

        irs accounting firms

        sec banks/brokerages

        like it or not, its the system we have in place pretty much everywhere.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wonder what we've paid these fabulously ineffective bureaucrats for their superior work?
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