SEPTEMBER 12, 2007
In a move that raises serious ethics questions, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has accepted a job as head of a powerful trade group that represents major firms her government agency regulates.
As head of the FAA for the last five years, Marion Blakey has been the nationâ??s top aviation regulator and she has overseen and awarded lucrative federal contracts to many of the firms that her new employer represents.
An example is the FAAâ??s recent award of a nearly $2 billion contract to revamp the nationâ??s ailing air traffic system. The FAA has also issued emergency safety orders on Boeing jets and pushed federal lawmakers to approve fees to fund future air traffic improvements. Blakelyâ??s new employer will be impacted by all of the moves.
The company (Aerospace Industries Association) also lobbies for the aviation industry on government spending policy because it represents the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military and business aircraft, helicopters, aerial vehicles, space systems, aircraft engines, missiles and information technology.
In a few months, Blakey will quadruple her government salary when she becomes the companyâ??s president and chief financial officer. She was sworn in to head the FAA in 2002 and her term ends this month. Before heading the FAA, Blakey was chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
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