Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I'm is scheduled to be on KCRW radio program talking about my article on Cheney's son-in-law, Phil Perry, and chemical security. See the local listings and times list below:...But it's being taped, so there's no guarantee I will be broadcast. Station List — KCRW | 89.9FM

Also, Salon columnist Joe Conason mentioned my article in his recent column:

But the true scandal of Perry's career in government and law is less about blatant nepotism and more about corporate cronyism.

As the Washington Monthly reveals in its current issue, Perry has spent the past few years at DHS obstructing federal and state regulation of the nation's chemical industry, which still remains vulnerable to a devastating terrorist attack -- and which has paid millions of dollars to Latham & Watkins, the Washington law firm where he has been a partner and lobbyist, earning as much as $700,000 a year. (Having just resigned from Homeland Security last month, Perry could soon return to Latham, thus completing his third circuit through the revolving door.)

Perry's crowning achievement in the months before he quit the federal government is a set of laws and regulations that permit chemical manufacturers to decide whether and how to improve the notoriously lax security at their plants. Last fall, with Perry overseeing the legislative process, Congress passed a feeble bill that was supposed to force reform before a disaster occurs. The hardworking Perry made sure that the bill was rendered even more toothless when he and his staff set up the regulations to enforce it. Those rules include a special provision designed to frustrate vulnerable states such as New Jersey from passing stronger regulations, which will be preempted by the weak federal law.

In an interview with the Washington Monthly, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., furiously excoriated the Bush administration for coddling its corporate friends. "In order to please their cronies in the chemical industry, the Bush administration is willing to put the health and safety of millions of people at risk," he said of Perry's handiwork.

Or as Art Levine himself put it in his article: "A flippant critic might say the father-in-law has been prosecuting a war that creates more terrorists abroad, while the son-in-law has been working to ensure they'll have easy targets at home. But it's more precise to say that White House officials really, really don't want to alienate the chemical industry, and Perry has been really, really willing to help them not do it."

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