WE HAVE NO MORE SACRED CHARGE AT THE U.S. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION THAN TO PROTECT VULNERABLE POPULATIONS, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN.
-ELLIOT F. KAYE
Elliot F. Kaye was sworn in as the 10th Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on July 30, 2014. President Barack Obama nominated Mr. Kaye on March 31, 2014, and he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 28, 2014. He served as Chairman until February 8, 2017, and then as Commissioner until August 27, 2021.
Mr. Kaye has a robust record of executive leadership in public service. As a father of two sons, Mr. Kaye is strongly devoted to children’s health and safety issues. During his time as Chairman, his highest priority was relentless pro-consumer action, using every tool available to protect the public from dangerous products. Mr. Kaye drove modernization across the agency, installing and enhancing rigorous and consistent decision-making procedures. He implemented an agency-wide renewed focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and employee engagement, and instilled a culture of civility at the Commission level despite its partisan composition.
His major safety initiatives included:
- Building out CPSC’s risk-assessment capacity and inter-agency cooperation at U.S. ports to interdict more harmful products prior to entry into the United States;
- Forging deep and collaborative relationships with safety regulators from Canada, Mexico, the European Commission and other international jurisdictions to drive global harmonization of regulations to the highest levels of safety;
- Strengthening agency enforcement activities and increasing civil penalties, in line with Congressional direction and as the facts supported, to hold companies more accountable for violations of consumer product safety laws;
- Tackling persistent deadly hazards, especially to children, by bringing all agency resources to bear to address decades of children strangling to death from window cord blinds, and driving industry innovation and consensus-based standards work to reduce deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators as well as from off-road vehicles;
- Advancing negotiations with product manufacturers and distributors to achieve more consumer-friendly recall remedies such as full and fast refunds, free home pick up, in-home installation of repairs and additional testing to determine full repairs;
- Calling for safety innovation in product design by launching his Chairman’s Challenge;
- Pushing the agency and the stakeholder community to more quickly recognize and address safety concerns associated with emerging technologies, including smart-connected consumer products;
- Initiating a paradigm shift to address children’s exposure to harmful chemicals in consumer products; and
- Addressing brain injuries in youth sports, including gathering the commissioners of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS along with the then-Director of the CDC to discuss an all-sports approach.
Upon removal as chairman by the Trump White House, Mr. Kaye used his position and platform as a commissioner to advocate for continued consumer-focused decision-making.
Throughout his tenure, Mr. Kaye promoted and encouraged responsiveness to CPSC’s stakeholders, consistently calling for respectful and civilized, but honest and robust, discourse. He regularly met with consumer advocates and industry partners. He tirelessly promoted open dialogue between staff and outside parties through workshops and other forums that fully explored the technical and legal concerns of all stakeholders. Mr. Kaye maintained a keen focus on evidence-driven prevention science to guide policy decision-making and to inform rulemaking.
He regularly appeared on major network morning shows and national evening news programs to address national-level product safety concerns, conducted numerous press conferences regarding high profile product recalls and testified before Congress eight times.
Previously, Mr. Kaye served as CPSC’s Executive Director from 2013 until his confirmation as Chairman. Prior to that, Mr. Kaye served as Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel to former Chairman Inez Moore Tenenbaum in 2013, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to the Chairman from 2012 to 2013, and as Senior Counsel to the Chairman from 2010 to 2012.
Before coming to the CPSC, he practiced as an attorney at Hogan Lovells and Cooley Godward Kronish LLP. During his time in private practice, Mr. Kaye took on challenging pro bono cases representing vulnerable clients. He also was a Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Sterling Johnson, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Mr. Kaye also served as Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for U.S. Representative John Tierney, Chief of Staff and Communications Director for U.S. Representative Pat Danner, and held a number of positions with U.S. Representative Earl Hutto.
He received a B.S.J. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law.
Mr. Kaye is a native New Yorker who currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, their two very active sons and their Old English Sheepdog. Among his many responsibilities at home, the demand is highest for his weekly, freshly-baked bread.
SELECTED TESTIMONY AND SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
- Hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, titled “Oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission” (June 20, 2019)
- Hearing before the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, titled “Protecting Americans from Dangerous Products: Is the Consumer Product Safety Commission Fulfilling Its Mission?” (April 9, 2019)
- Speech at the Consumer Federation of America’s (CFA) 2016 Consumer Assembly, Washington, DC (March 25, 2016)
- Hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, titled “Oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission” (June 17, 2015)
- Hearing before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, titled “Oversight of the Consumer Product Safety Commission” (May 19, 2015)
- Keynote Speech at the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization’s (ICPHSO) 2015 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium, Orlando, FL (March 2, 2015)
SELECTED PRESS AND MEDIA APPEARANCES
- Federal Safety Officials Sound Alarm on Hidden Home Dangers, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS (June 20, 2019)
- Samsung, CPSC Recalling 2.8 Million Top-Loading Washing Machines Due to Risk of Explosion, ABC NEWS (November 4, 2016)
- Fire Risk Prompts Safety Agency to Recall Some Hoverboards, THE NEW YORK TIMES (July 6, 2016)
- Jason Pierre-Paul Stars in New Safety PSA; Says ‘Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals’, GOOD MORNING AMERICA (June 30, 2016)
- IKEA Chest and Dresser Recall Press Event, National Press Club, Washington, DC (June 28, 2016)
SELECTED STATEMENTS AND POLICY PAPERS
- Statement on the CPSC’s Plan to Create an e-Filing Program for Imported Consumer Products (February 2, 2021)
- Statement on the Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Plan (November 16, 2020)
- Statement on Ending Persistent Safety Hazards (April 3, 2019)
- Statement Regarding a Framework of Safety for the Internet of Things (January 31, 2019)
- Statement on the Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Plan (October 16, 2018)
- Statement on the Status of Urgently-Needed Federal Playground and Artificial Turf Safety Efforts (December 12, 2017)
- Statement on Consumer-Friendly Product Recalls: Six Basic Principles That Will Put Safety First and Improve Effectiveness (July 19, 2017)
- Statement Regarding the Window Covering Manufacturers Association’s Plan to Revise the Safety Standard for Window Coverings (June 29, 2016)