• Apr 29, 2010


Toyota's
very public recall problems have cast light on what critics suggest is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's sometimes cozy relationship with automakers. A new report in The Detroit News shows that new legislation is being proposed that aims to curb workers transitioning between the government agency and the automakers which NHTSA oversees. On Wednesday, Senator Barbara Boxer of California (above) introduced legislation that would increase the amount of time NHTSA employees would have to wait to work for an automaker to three years. The legislation, if passed, would reportedly only block NHTSA employees from working with OEMs in any capacity that included oral or written interaction with the government agency.

The Democrat senator called the movement of employees from NHTSA to OEMs a "revolving door," giving automakers "undue influence on agency decisions." Violators of the proposed requirements could face a fine of up to $55,000, while automakers could be fined $100,000 or more.

The legislation comes after news of some automakers hiring ex-NHTSA employees became public knowledge. In the case of Toyota's unintended acceleration recalls, it was discovered that two ex-NHTSA employees working at Toyota were directly involved with the administration's investigation into possible safety defects. Ex-NHTSA head Joan Claybrook said in a prepared statement delivered to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection that all three domestic automakers as well as Honda and Suzuki were among the automakers hiring workers from the government agency.

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Alex Wong/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd like another bill proposed: Senators and Congresspersons should be prevented from taking jobs at any firm that has any stake in national politics whatsoever for three years. Lobbyist groups, national corporations, boards, committees, panels, anything. This is such a ridiculous case of the pot calling the kettle black. At least NHTSA employees don't craft policy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually agency rules and policies, if blanket-adopted by congress, can in fact take on the force of law. And Congress does usually blanket-approve policy packages as a part of their oversight over federal agencies like NHTSA and DOT, and hundreds of other bureaucratic federal departments.

        The congressmen usually don't come up with those rules on their own, unless they have a cause to champion. They mostly approve the rules that the bureaucrats write for them, sometimes blindly, sometimes with a bit of pork-barrel quibbling.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a start, but it should be 5 years before and 5 after. And all other politicians need to have at least the same restrictions, if not more. If any company was part of a lobby that contacted politicians, the politicians should be barred from working there years before and after. Sounds harsh, but corruption and pandering is quite rampant and hard to staunch.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think they should also be forced to stare at her face for ten minutes before accepting a job with an automaker. Problem solved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Luis Corporate Executives????????????? Am i crazy or your buddy out raise Old guy 3 to 1, for every dollar M took O took 3 times as much. Now you talk about Corporate Executives, do law firm executive fit that profile, because they sure run the show now. What about Goldman Sachs, because some people took a million dollars from them and from JP Morgan and Citi and Morgan Stanley.

        Never let the facts stand in your way.

        3 to 1

        • 4 Years Ago
        If you actually believe Obama is working with the community then you have been grossly mislead.

        Obama is in the pockets of big companies (like the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries) just as much as Bush was. They are just two sides of the same coin.

        Back to the story- this is what happens when government regulates industries. The industries always worm in and get their way. Its happened with Big Oil, Big Railroads, Big Healthcare, and of course Big Automotive.

        What we need is regulation, and then the companies will have less power over us (because we can choose to use their products or not, unlike now where they can use the government's monopoly of force to their advantage.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        or sleep with janet reno
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I'd prefer to have serious politicians regardless of looks as opposed to dumb Barbies who (Sarah Palin, here's lookin' at you)."

        I also prefer serious politicians over community organizers who are ego maniacs.........
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'd prefer to have serious politicians regardless of looks as opposed to dumb Barbies who (Sarah Palin, here's lookin' at you).
      • 4 Years Ago
      Will this work?
      • 4 Years Ago
      This doesn't close the revolving door, this just puts a toll on it.

      Do you honestly think 50-100 grand to put a person on NHTSA, or to bring someone in from NHTSA is more than a speed bump?

      Damn D.C. cesspool.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oops, first line should read, "So are you more upset about the fine because its too SMALL?"
        • 4 Years Ago
        So are you more upset about the fine because its too big? Would you be happier if it were a much larger penalty? Or would you then be mad because government is getting in the way of free enterprise and the rights of Americans if they did? Or no matter what they did you'd be upset about it, right?

        I honestly don't know if I care or not. Just because these people seek work in the private sector after they "retire" from government doesn't automatically say they are going to do something corrupt and that we need laws that fine them, but I guess I'm just a dreamer.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What does the Crypt Keeper have to do with Congress? Oh...nevermind.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "I'd prefer to have serious politicians regardless of looks as opposed to dumb Barbies who (Sarah Palin, here's lookin' at you)."--------------You mean like Barbara (Barbie) Boxer...........lady on the picture?

      While we are at it why not apply the same law to politicians, once you leave the Senate you can not get a job as a lobbyist for 3 years. Senator Dorgan announced his retirement and has already hinted that he will become a lobbyists. Boxer will be voted out in November so i hope she will also wait 3 year.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Barbara Boxer may be the only boxer that I am an ANTI-fan of.

      Be sure not to call her "Ma'am", or anything but "Senator". After all, she worked for that position. It takes a lot of work to get influence-peddlers to finance your purchase of, er, I mean election to a California Senate seat.

      And don't challenge her if she uses you as a racial token, instead of an expert witness.

      Remember, she chastised Brigadier General Michael Walsh, and demeaned the National Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry Alford, on separate occasions, respectively.
        • 4 Years Ago
        She needs to be voted out.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why not make it 10 years?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dude... ten years? You know that there is like one government, in usa, and dozen of automakers right?

        Government jobs also have less mobility compare to the private sector. If i get kicked off of a government job or want to make more money, by going private sector, I have to wait ten years?! What the hell am I going to do? Stay unemployed? Flip burger because my only skill was in automotive industry but I'm barred at it for 10 years!

        3 years is already harsh enough and I understand but 10 years is crazy.


      • 4 Years Ago
      They obviously didn't get the best shot possible of her. However, it is good to see a policy implemented to curb NHTSA to automotive companies.

      I will admit, it is smart on the part of Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, and others to hire from the NHTSA for their benefit or either meeting the bare minimum or having potential sway in safety ratings (if either occurred).
      • 4 Years Ago
      HEY LOOK GANG!

      It's the Senate's dumbest member.

      M'am.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Zombie Boxer?
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