Ranking Member Cantwell Demands Information Regarding the Alleged Suppression of Coronavirus Guidance From the CDC By Trump Nominee For Consumer Agency

In oversight letters to the Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General and the nominee herself, Cantwell also requests details surrounding Nancy Beck’s close ties to industry

May 13, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today asked Nancy Beck, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission, for information related to her alleged involvement in the suppression of COVID-19 safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other matters relevant to her pending nomination. 

Cantwell also sent a letter to Sean O’Donnell, the Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General, asking for an update on a long-standing ethics complaint filed because of Ms. Beck’s conflicts between her past work for the chemical industry and her efforts at the EPA to deregulate several toxic chemicals.

In her letter to Ms. Beck, Ranking Member Cantwell wrote, “…it appears that you have recently been involved in political decisions regarding the Federal government’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  On May 8, 2020, the Associated Press published a story detailing emails where you apparently used your position at the NEC to have the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) block the release of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding guidance to states and localities on safety and reopening measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This raises serious questions about whether you believe in preserving and respecting the scientific and professional integrity of scientists and health professionals that work at agencies like the CDC and the CPSC.”

Ms. Beck’s nomination to a consumer safety position has also raised questions due to her extensive background working for the manufacturers of some of the world’s most toxic chemicals in the private sector, and her advocacy for the deregulation of those same chemicals while working in the government.

“A review of your Committee questionnaire and recent media reports have raised questions about the scope of your involvement in efforts to deregulate several dangerous chemicals while serving at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and at the National Economic Council (NEC)… there are a number of unresolved questions regarding the overall scope of activities you have been involved with at prior employers, such as the American Chemistry Council (ACC), and how those activities may be influencing your current portfolio at the EPA and the NEC,” Ranking Member Cantwell wrote.

In her letter to Inspector General O’Donnell regarding Ms. Beck’s nomination, Ranking Member Cantwell noted that the EPA has not yet made an announcement regarding the “Request for Investigation” filed against Ms. Beck on October 31, 2017.

Ranking Member Cantwell’s full letter to Nancy Beck can be found HERE.