Government Integrity Project

Is Dan Akerson Driving GM Off a Cliff?

Akerson photoAs Karl Marx once said, history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. In last year's epic auto chronicle, Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster, author Paul Ingrassia wrote about the catastrophic decline of the American automobile industry in the seventies:

Just as General Motors was led by financial people, Honda would always be led by engineers... Put another way, the bean counters ran GM, while the car guys ran Honda. It would make a crucial difference between Honda's success and GM's failure.

Why the Indian Bureaucracy Should Be Dismantled

BIA logoIf ever a federal agency were a candidate for termination, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) would make for a good choice. The BIA combines patronage, outright corruption and ethnic separatism into a single package, wasting sizable tax dollars in the process. Yet few in Congress have the stomach for a fight with supporters of the bureau, now with a roughly $2.7 billion annual budget. That's not the only Indian agency in need of serious downsizing.

Modica: Will State & Muni Bondholders Get Crushed to Benefit Unions?

During an appearance on Fox Business Network on Tuesday, NLPC Associate Fellow (and GM bondholder) Mark Modica warned that the GM bankruptcy may provide a model for insolvent states and localities to crush bondholders and taxpayers to protect politically-connected unions. "Follow the Money" host is Eric Bolling. Here's a transcript:

Did Harbinger Hedge Fund Buy Influence With White House?; Probe Asked of FCC Spectrum Giveaway

Falcone photoToday we asked the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate actions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that benefitted Harbinger Capital Partners after its founder Phil Falcone (at right) made large contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

As we describe in the letter to the Committee's ranking members, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NJ):

Chrysler Loses Money, Gives UAW Bonuses

bailout graphicChrysler recently reported a 4th quarter loss of $652 million. So what does a UAW majority owned company that is losing money do? How about a bonus for UAW workers?

Current Chrysler ownership breakdown puts the UAW at a 63.5% ownership stake while the US Treasury holds a 9.2% stake. Italy's Fiat currently owns 25%. Bonuses planned for UAW workers are estimated to average $750.

Paranoid Rangel Claims We Broke Into His Office

One of the more bizarre elements of today's Washington Post profile of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), by Wil Haygood, is this:

Rangel has genuine vitriol for the National Legal and Policy Center, which filed complaints against him with the Federal Election Commission, the IRS and the House Ethics Committee. He claims that investigators for the group followed him to the Dominican Republic and broke into his office.

Rangel has made no secret of his contempt for the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), but this is the first time he has libeled us or accused us of committing a crime.

Rangel 'Lays Blame' on NLPC for His Ethics Problems

Rangel photoWashington Post reporter Wil Haygood today examines the plight of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) since his Censure in early December. Haygood sat down with Rangel for two recent interviews, and reports Rangel's "answers were full of contradictions that seem to defy easy explanation." Also:

Rangel has genuine vitriol for the National Legal and Policy Center, which filed complaints against him with the Federal Elections Commission, the IRS and the House Ethics Committee.

Haygood paints a picture of a bitter and confused politician who seems unable to accept the fact that his time has long passed:

Is Ford's Earnings Miss a Harbinger of a GM Disappointment?

car plunge graphicFord stock is taking a hit today after reporting earnings that missed analysts' estimates. European losses accounted for much of the earnings disappointment. General Motors is also known to have major issues with its European brand, Opel. GM recently assigned Alix Partners to oversee their European unit's "turnaround" plan. Alix Partners is a bankruptcy consulting firm that was hired by GM prior to their own bankruptcy filing. This is just one of many risk factors that have been glossed over by media coverage.

GM's 'Looming Train Wreck'

GM logoUpbeat reports of GM's "progress" have prompted politicians to pronounce the auto bailout a "success" and rocket the share price to 37. But do these reports reflect reality? The unrelated declines of both the American automotive and daily newspaper businesses have resulted in even less reporting on a beat that was thinly covered to begin with.

Right now, news about GM is what GM says it is. Business editors have little choice but to recycle GM press releases. They do not have the troops to do actual reporting. Even in the heat of the IPO coverage, GM's financial data was uncritically repeated, never mind that the company could not even attest to its own financials.

Will GM's Politicized Bankruptcy Become a Model for States?

man in barrelThe New York Times reported last week that policy makers are working behind the scenes on ways to allow states to declare bankruptcy. States are currently banned from seeking protection in federal bankruptcy court.

One has to wonder if General Motors' bankruptcy outcome will embolden lawmakers to pursue a similar course for states that are overburdened with pension obligations and municipal bond debt. In the case of the GM outcome, union pension obligations were given precedence over creditor claims. The precedents set by the Obama Administration's manipulation of GM's bankruptcy will continue to have far-reaching, negative implications.

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