For years there has been an unhealthy and, in my opinion, unethical “revolving door” between government agencies and the industries they supposedly regulate. The perception is that the regulators go easy on the industries, hoping to land fat contracts with the industries when the bureaucrats leave government service. It’s a great temptation, and surely hard to resist.
Now a bill has been introduced by California Senator Barbara Boxer that would restrict the transition from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration employee to automaker employee. The bill would bar former NHTSA employees from taking certain jobs with the automakers for three years after leaving the agency. The prohibited jobs would be any that required written or oral communication with the NHTSA.
This bill was surely written based on the recent revelations that many former top-level NHTSA administrators were employed by Toyota, and were the ones who negotiated limitations on the scope of safety examinations by the NHTSA into Toyota’s actions. This bill is a good first step on the path to locking that revolving door.