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No surprise – Rangel broke ethics rules

February 26, 2010

Surprise – They actually called him on it.

The House ethics committee accused Rangel on Thursday of accepting corporate money for trips to Caribbean conferences in violation of House rules. The committee said it couldn’t determine whether Rangel knew about the financing, but found that his staff did — and concluded Rangel was responsible for learning the truth.

Ironically, as the ethics committee was finalizing its report, the New York Democrat was attending President Barack Obama’s bipartisan summit in an attempt to rescue the party’s health care bill.

Rangel’s case is certain to raise questions of whether the 20-term lawmaker, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, can retain his post in an election year.

(…)

If this was Rangel’s only ethics problem, it might not be crippling to Democrats. But still looming is a much larger ethics investigation. That one is focusing in part on Rangel’s use of official stationery to raise money for a college center in his name; and his belated financial disclosure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in previously unreported assets and income.

The unreported assets included a federal credit union account worth between $250,001 and $500,000; a Merrill Lynch account valued between $250,000 and $500,000; tens of thousands of dollars in municipal bonds and $30,000 to $100,000 in rent from a multifamily brownstone building in New York.

(h/t)

-elsewhere-

Ed Morrissey agree with John Stossel that UL could perform the functions of the FDA given their performance in areas such as burglary / fire alarms and electrical safety. Like the Classic Liberal, who made a similar point awhile back, Morrissey misses the fact that in many cases NRTL testing (UL is an NRTL lab) is mandated by law. The NEC calls out NRTL compliance and it is adopted wholesale by most jurisdictions. 29 CFR also mandates NRTL compliance for certain classes of product. If manufacturers didn’t have to comply with these provisions they wouldn’t. Believe me I know. My previous employers constantly tried to skip the NRTL certification. (That isn’t to say some testing wouldn’t be done due to international requirements but in many cases that testing is voluntary and can be skipped if the manufacturer is willing to run the risk and just sign the declaration of conformity). Another point that both Morrissey and Stossel overlook is that before the FDA there were voluntary organizations that regulated things like Food Safety. They were inefficient because there was no reason for manufacturers to comply. I’m not saying that there isn’t a private market based solution out there, but UL isn’t the model to use. It has never in it’s history really been forced to compete. Stossel mentions Consumer Reports as another possibility, but they only test products after they are on the market.

Speaking of the Classic Liberal, he fires a shot in the Boob Wars following a salvo from Camp of the Saints

Colonel Rebel being replaced by Admiral Ackbar? What’s the world coming too? (BTW don’t tell George Lucas or he will constantly want to go back and remake every game film)

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. bobbelvedere permalink
    February 26, 2010 5:12 am

    Thanks for the link.

    Know that: I may not have started this here war, but I’m sure fixin’ to end it.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      February 26, 2010 6:36 am

      Your welcome, but I think you are in for a long and bloody battle.

  2. February 26, 2010 6:40 am

    In some areas, like ISO certification, UL competes with other companies (TUV comes to mind, there are others).

    But yeah, I’m all free-marketeer and all that, but I don’t think we could or should get rid of the FDA. It needs some major reform certainly, and a LOT less politicization.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      February 26, 2010 1:30 pm

      True but on the NRTL side the competition is artificially restricted by the need for OSHA approval.

  3. John David Galt permalink
    February 26, 2010 4:39 pm

    Why should consumers have to wait for certification before they can buy a new product? Some of us are competent to judge the safety of many products for ourselves. Others need a product (for example, a drug that claims to cure a serious disease) badly enough that we’ll risk it.

    The whole point of being an adult is having the right to make your own risk/reward choices.

    Of course, before the present situation of overregulation can be fixed, the buzzards with briefcases^W^W^Wproduct liability lawyers will need to be put in their place and kept there.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      February 26, 2010 5:32 pm

      I didn’t say anything about that. I just pointed out that Consumer Reports only tests products that are on the market.

      If you are willing to take your chances on something like Thalidomide or Propecia (which can cause horrible birth defects in pregnant women who just touch it) while waiting for a multi-year evaluation to be concluded that’s your business, but most people aren’t competent (in the technical sense) to interpret the lab reports, clinical trials etc. are you seriously going to deny them the right to sue a company that put an unsafe product on the market. Why should the company get a free pass on their behavior?

      • xbradtc permalink
        February 26, 2010 7:32 pm

        Caveat Emptor.

  4. jenn1964 permalink*
    February 26, 2010 8:17 pm

    Great theory hard in practice. As I said I’m not saying there is no market based solution, just that the one John Stossel prescribes isn’t it. In fact in order for a market based solution to work on the unregulated model that many people seem to want you would have to make it much easier to sue drug companies and damages would have to be greatly increased in order to ensure some measure of compliance. I don’t see that being particularly good for the economy.

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