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Easter Recess… And Rotten Eggs

The Senate is out for Easter recess now.  Which means the White House might be planning to hide some rotten eggs — by giving out recess appointments that would give a lot of power to some unacceptable special interests.

Rotten Egg #1: Susan Dudley

One of them might be Susan Dudley.  You might remember Dudley: she spent her career arguing that if we truly valued protections like air bags or privacy rights, then corporations would already be giving them to us… so there’s no need for any regulation to protect us.

Bush nominated her to an office where she would have power to weaken and eliminate all those pesky regulations, like air bags and privacy rights, which Dudley thinks we don’t really need.

Your calls and letters to the Senate last year were successful:  the Susan Dudley nomination wasn’t even allowed to leave the committee.  And the Republican Senator who chaired that committee last year actually told the press that the president would be within his rights to send the nomination back in 2007… but it would just be a waste of time.

So did Bush learn his lesson?  Nope.  Bush is at it again in 2007 – nominating, once again, Susan Dudley to become the regulatory czar.  But even that wasn’t enough:  while the Senate is looking again at her nomination, Bush decided to put her in power through the backdoor, by making her a “senior advisor,” so that she can go ahead and do the job that the Senate decided last year she shouldn’t be allowed to do.

Remind the Senate that Dudley is unfit to have such enormous power to ruin your health and safety, and tell the White House not to use the Easter recess to give her a recess appointment.

Rotten Egg #2:  Michael Baroody

President Bush would be hard-pressed to find a more inappropriate nominee to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), the government agency charged with protecting consumers from dangerous products, than Michael Baroody.  Why?  Because Baroody has spent the past decade lobbying to undermine consumers’ rights.

As the head of advocacy efforts for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Baroody has spearheaded campaigns at both the federal and state levels to limit the ability of regulatory agencies like CPSC to protect us, and to bar consumers who have been injured from being able to go to court and demand justice.

NAM advocacy efforts include a wide-ranging strategy to influence elections. In conjunction with the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) and other groups, NAM helps run the “Prosperity Project,” an effort to elect pro-business candidates.  2004 was a busy time for NAM and its “Prosperity Project” – which NAM claimed was a neutral voter education effort, although University of Minnesota political scientist Lawrence Jacobs thought otherwise:  “This is not nonpartisan, evenhanded campaign material,” he said, about literature distributed by Prosperity Project companies and associations.  “It’s material that’s subtly but clearly promoting one candidate at the expense of another.” While Baroody told the National Review that NAM did not endorse candidates, Baroody slammed 2004 Democratic nominees John Kerry and John Edwards as being “virtually in a league by themselves,” in terms of their credibility gap with manufacturers.

The White House has likely calculated that Baroody won’t pass the smell test in the Senate.  Tell the White House that a recess appointment of Baroody stinks.