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Friday March 15, 2024

House Commerce Republicans Question CPSC's Participation in ICPHSO

Republicans chairing the House committee and subcommittee that oversee CPSC March 4 asserted that the agency puts policy announcements behind a paywall when speaking before the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO). A letter by Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) explained:

"In previous years, and in 2024, CPSC leadership made policy announcements at the conference and for a limited audience who pay the admission fee, which is at least $1,000 a person. Making such policy announcements behind a paywall runs counter to government sunshine policies and CPSC's goal of providing the public with more transparency."

A footnote points to a 2024 blog post from Crowell & Moring and numerous PSL stories from 2018 to 2024.

 

The letter, addressed to Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, also asks, "Has CPSC explored hosting such a day of programming at their headquarters, and making it open to the public and free of charge?"

 

That question was among twelve that the two representatives seek answers to by March 18. The others:

  • Whether there were policy announcements made in 2024, including whether there first was consultation with other commissioners and outside stakeholders and what CPSC will do to alert those not attending.
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  • How many CPSC personnel spoke, staff hours used for preparation, and related matters like expenditures, itineraries, and other functions attended.
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  • How many CPSC staff attended without speaking, staff hours used for preparation, days attended, and requirements for actually attending session if going.
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  • Existence of any meeting logs "that would have to be disclosed publicly if they were not held during the conference" including informal gatherings.
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  • Whether there was free or discounted access to sessions that included CPSC speakers, including past conferences, and effects on agency transparency.
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  • Whether CPSC staff paid to attend and whether they had government or ICPHSO member discounts.
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  • Itemized costs to CPSC of attendance.
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  • Staff hours and costs of ICPHSO participation.
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  • A list of sponsors and if they included regulated firms, including any with pending litigation before CPSC.
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  • Whether those with pending litigation sponsored sessions with CPSC speakers and if that was a conflict of interest.
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  • A list of CPSC staff with ICPHSO leadership or board positions, their duties/tasks, time spent, whether related activity occurs during work hours, and whether people from regulated companies – including those with pending litigation – also hold leadership or board positions.

McMorris Rodgers chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, Bilirakis chairs that panel's Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee. Hoehn-Saric was the only commissioner to attend although some staffers did too.