TOPIC: Revolving Door

After San Bruno explosion, trying to force regulators to do their jobs

San Bruno, CA October 2010

Assailing federal and state regulators, San Francisco’s city attorney is threatening to file a federal lawsuit both the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the California Public Utilities Commission for lax oversight, regulatory capture and a cozy relationship with Pacific Gas & Electric Co., according to reporting by Jaxon Van Derbeken of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “The public is at risk because the mandates of federal law have not been followed by PG&E or enforced” by regulators, [San Francisco City Attorney Dennis] Herrera said, adding, “it has become increasingly clear that regulators bear some fault here and were either asleep at the switch or too cozy with the industry they are supposed to regulate.”   Herrera said the goal of the suit he intends to file is to prompt regulatory authorities to do their job or be forced to do so — under court-ordered supervision. (more…)

Blackwater, the Afghanistan War, and the Revolving Door

The New York Times’ James Risen and Mark Mazetti broke the news last night that the company formerly known as Blackwater actively participated in CIA raids against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blackwater also transported detainees for the CIA. This is despite the fact that that Blackwater’s CIA contract stipulated that the private security contractor should only participate in defensive operations. And also that government contracting law and common sense dictate that private companies shouldn’t be fighting wars.

After the Jack Abramoff scandal in 2006, there was a lot of talk about the “revolving door” in Washington between lobbyists and lawmakers. It became a familiar narrative that members of Congress or former Congressional staffers would leave Capitol Hill and take a lucrative job in the private sector where they proceeded to influence their former Hill colleagues. What the history of Blackwater has demonstrated is the “revolving door” between the Pentagon, intelligence agencies and the coterie of private security contracting companies. (more…)

That revolving door hits hard when it comes back around

The federal government is in something of a recruitment crisis.  And it looks like the government’s own hiring and contracting practices are partly to blame. (more…)

Knowing the Rules of the Road – the Revolving Door

As a federal retiree, I’m directly affected by Washington’s so-called “revolving door” environment.

In short, this refers to those who once worked for the federal government and are now employed in the private sector working on and supporting government programs, sometimes even projects which these people were intimately involved in when they worked for Uncle Sam.

Ethics rules exist to prevent abuses or the appearance of same, as discussed in Jenny Mandel’s article in Government Executive.

However, as Ms. Mandel reports, it’s not always that simple to determine who is violating what law or principle upon reengagement with the bureaucracy.

Are you clear about these rules?  Would you report an abuse, even if the person involved was a recent co-worker?