Today I sent this letter to Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT):
We strongly urge you to re-introduce legislation similar to the Government Settlement Transparency Reform Act (S.1654) in the 113th Congress.
As you know, the death toll from General Motors’ failure to act on an ignition switch defect continues to climb, now at 87. Although GM's decision to create a fund to compensate victims and their families is a step in the right direction, we are troubled by GM’s ability to write off the cost as an expense for federal tax purposes.
Because of the government-directed bankruptcy and restructuring, GM is now shielded from much of its liability incurred beforehand. In order to ensure at least some semblance of accountability, Congress must make sure that GM’s future payouts for its recklessness are not simply the cost of doing business.
As the families of GM's victims have emphasized, no … Read More ➡
The verdict is in from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on General Motors’ corroding brake line problem. Despite having received thousands of complaints from motorists regarding brake failure due to brake line rust, the agency claims GM does not have higher failure rates than other manufacturers. The clear evidence to the contrary makes this a classic case of what economists call "regulatory capture." First identified by Nobel laureate George Stigler (in photo) in 1971, it's when a government agency tasked with protecting the public interest instead acts to the benefit of an industry or particular company.
In this case, it's a particular union. The ersatz GM bankruptcy and taxpayer bailout were orchestrated by the Obama Administration with the goal of preserving the political power of the United Auto Workers. Since that time the administration has sought to prop up GM in every conceivable way, with NHTSA just one … Read More ➡
A stimulus-backed Department of Energy loan program that has not been tapped for four years, and was deemed unwanted two years ago by the Government Accountability Office, is suddenly ready and willing to dole out more taxpayer millions again – to a corporation that doesn’t need it.
In fact, Alcoa’s expansion project for which the funding is targeted – to produce special aluminum for automotive companies in Tennessee – has already been underway for 19 months and was first revealed almost two years ago.
DOE announced on Thursday that the renewed activity out of its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program will deliver a $259 million loan to the multinational conglomerate. The excuse for the financing – considering that ATVM’s purpose was to support production of alternative energy-powered automobiles – is to produce “high-strength” aluminum for automakers “looking to lightweight their vehicles.” Yes, they used “lightweight” as a verb, … Read More ➡
CNN reporter Chris Frates has identified “plenty of red flags” that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush should have seen before he joined in a business relationship with a company called InnoVida, headed by Claudio Osorio, who is now serving a 12 ½-year prison sentence for defrauding investors. Osorio's mug shot is at right.
While Osorio’s efforts to cozy up to politicians in both parties have been previously reported, the CNN report includes important new facts. From the report:
"It's hard to imagine any due diligence investigation that would have missed lawsuit after lawsuit against Osorio alleging fraud, misrepresentation and ethics violations," said Ken Boehm, the chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group that reviewed public records with CNN. "Even if they were doing due-diligence lite, they would have found the lawsuits. These lawsuits weren't hidden. They were in his home county."
… Read More ➡
For a first-hand lesson in the timidity of corporate America, look no further than Intel Corp. This January, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker announced it would set aside $300 million by 2020 for hiring, training and promoting “underrepresented” racial minorities and women. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich revealed the plan at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas only weeks after he and other top company officials had met privately with Jesse Jackson. The announcement was a triumph for Jackson’s Silicon Valley shakedown campaign. “It’s a huge first step,” he declared, urging other tech firms to follow suit. Given the acquiescence of eBay, Google and Facebook to Jackson at shareholder meetings last May, it is no surprise those companies are doing just that.
National Legal and Policy Center long has shone a spotlight on Jesse Jackson. The Chicago-based civil-rights hustler and former presidential candidate, through his nonprofit Rainbow/PUSH, … Read More ➡
Depositions for General Motors’ executives, including CEO Mary Barra, will begin in May, according to the Detroit News. The testimonies will be at the center of class-action lawsuits (set for trial in January, 2016) against GM for its ignition switch defect cover-up and are slated to conclude in early October of this year. It will not be the first time Barra has testified under oath about the recall debacle which is now blamed for having caused 74 deaths.
Attorneys for plaintiffs now claim they have evidence that GM executives knew about (and covered-up) the defects long before they admitted they did. Barra has testified under oath on four occasions before congressional committees regarding her knowledge of the deadly ignition switch defect that went unaddressed by GM for years. Barra has stood by her testimony that she only learned of the ignition switch defect in December of 2013, despite her having … Read More ➡
The death toll for General Motors’ defective ignition switch cover-up has reached 67. Up to now, you were more likely to hear crickets chirping than you were to hear calls for justice for those who died as a direct result of GM’s actions (or inaction) in the case.
That may finally be coming to an end as major news outlets are reporting today that GM has officially been accused of a huge cover-up, and that the proof is still being hidden from the public.
Bloomberg reported on the GM cover-up and quoted attorney Lance Cooper, who played a key role in bringing the ignition switch defect to light when he represented one of the many GM victims. Here’s a succinct excerpt:
General Motors Co. executives participated in a cover-up of ignition-switch defects for years before 2014 recalls, according to lawyers for a family whose wrongful-death lawsuit led to the callback
… Read More ➡
I have sent this letter to Brian France, Chief Executive Office of NASCAR:
We ask that NASCAR end its financial support of Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN).
According to programs for the NAN national convention, NASCAR has served as a sponsor of the event in recent years, which is Sharpton’s primary annual fundraising event.
The cold-blooded murder of two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, followed weeks of Sharpton’s vilification of law enforcement personnel. Now two police officers have been gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri.
This is not the first time that violence and loss of life have followed Sharpton’s agitation, such as in the 1991 Crown Heights riots and the 1995 Freddy’s Fashion Mart incident. Sharpton’s involvement in these and other abhorrent episodes, such as the Tawana Brawley hoax, are a matter of record.
I have enclosed a new book … Read More ➡
Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon website today details the saga of something called the Clean Energy Project. Founded and staffed by for former aides to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the nonprofit collected donations from corporations which received hundreds of millions in federal grants and loan guarantees at Reid’s urging. From the article:
Their donations to the CEP suggest “a vehicle to promote pay-to-play politics,” says Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group.
“It is run by Reid insiders, funded by those who want Reid’s political favors, and there’s a track record of Reid dispensing favors to those who fund it,” Boehm said in an email. “As the late Senator [Sam] Ervin said, sometimes things are what they look like.”
Also from the article:
Rebecca Lambe, Reid’s top political strategist who has been directed by Reid to take the lead
… Read More ➡
A Consumer Watchdog is trying to expose another unaddressed safety issue with some General Motors’ vehicles. The problem, once again, involves loss of steering and occurs on later model year Chevy Malibus, Chevy Cruzes and Buick Veranos. Also, once again, GM and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are aware of the dangerous defect and choose to issue a “service bulletin” instead of recalling the vehicles with safety problems.
Christine Young is the Consumer Watchdog that has written about the newest GM safety concern on timesleader.com. Ms. Young tells the story of a frustrated Chevy Cruze owner who is afraid to drive his vehicle because of problems with power steering. GM’s response to the problem belies the perception that the company is properly addressing safety issues on its vehicles.
You see, GM has sent letters and issued a service bulletin that admits a dangerous defect exists. However, owners are … Read More ➡