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Obama Fills CPSC Posts

By Ed O'Keefe

President Obama named new leadership to the Consumer Product Safety Commission today and announced plans to expand the size of the safety panel from three commissioners to five later this summer. The president also asked Congress for $107 million for the agency, which falls short of his campaign pledge to double its budget, but increases it by almost three-quarters, according to the White House.

Inez Moore Tenenbaum
Then-Senate candidate Inez Moore Tenenbaum at a debate in Charleston, S.C. on Oct. 3, 2004. (Photo by AP)

“It is a top priority of my administration to ensure that the products the American people depend on are safe. We must do more to protect the American public -- especially our nation’s children -- from being harmed by unsafe products," the president said in a statement.

He will nominate former U.S. Senate candidate and South Carolina schools chief Inez Moore Tenenbaum to chair the commission. She lost a 2004 race against Jim DeMint to replace Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D) and recently decided not to run for South Carolina governor next year. She's currently a special counsel to the McNair Law Firm, focusing on public school finance issues.

If confirmed, Tenenbaum would replace acting chairwoman Nancy Nord, who was appointed to the commission in 2005 and said last fall that she plans to serve out her term as a commissioner, which ends in 2012. Nord has faced criticism from lawmakers of both parties for lax enforcement of toy safety laws and for repeatedly taking costly trips at industry expense, as first reported in a 2007 Washington Post investigation.

The president also tapped Robert S. Adler to serve as a commissioner on the board. He will fill one of the two new spots on the panel if Congress approves its expansion. A professor of legal studies at the University of North Carolina, he served on the Obama-Biden transition team focusing on CPSC issues and previously spent 11 years as an attorney-adviser to commission members. he has also been elected six times to the board of directors of Consumers Union, publisher of the popular Consumer Reports magazine.

CPSC is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., and has approximately 430 employees. It oversees about 15,000 products, ranging from children's knitted hats to hair dryers to Dinosaur play sets.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 5, 2009; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door  
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I just want to say what an excellent selection the president has made. I also wish to express my deepest hopes that under Ms. Tenenbaum's stewardship, a degree of sanity will be injected into the great "CPSIA debate." Goodness knows, we have gone far too long without it.

Posted by: DanHaggarty | May 5, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Here is more information on the new posts at the CPSC and the tasks facing them:

Posted by: muckraker462 | May 7, 2009 3:13 AM | Report abuse

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