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Lawyers Group Paid CPSC Chiefs’ Meeting Travel

Posted Nov 2, 2007 1:56 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The Defense Research Institute is among the groups that have bankrolled trips for the acting chief of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and her predecessor.

The lawyer members of the DRI often represent manufacturers in product liability lawsuits.

Former CPSC chairman Hal Stratton and current acting chairman Nancy Nord have accepted almost 30 trips paid for by industry groups and manufacturers, the Washington Post (reg. req.) reports. The CPSC defends the trips as a way for regulators to hear the concerns of manufacturers. But critics say the travel can promote cozy relationships with regulated industries.

Nord, a former corporate lawyer at Eastman Kodak, received $2,000 for travel to New Orleans to attend a DRI conference on product litigation trends, the Post says. Stratton, who oversaw Lawyers for Bush in New Mexico, accepted $915 for his Barcelona hotel room to attend the group’s 2004 meeting, the Post reports.

Steve Coronado, a former chairman of the group's product liability committee, told the newspaper that Nord spoke in New Orleans about changes to CPSC rules and regulations.

Stratton told the Post that DRI "wanted to know where the CPSC was going on various product issues, and they wanted to know what the companies [the lawyers represented] could expect, what the government was thinking in regard to their issues."

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