McCaskill: GM approaching “moment of truth”

posted at 12:01 pm on April 7, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Claire McCaskill declared that the “corporate culture” prompted GM to ignore and cover up years of defect-related crashes, but that’s not the whole story. “You don’t need an investigation to understand that they had a defective switch,” McCaskill told ABC’s This Week, “and someone at GM in the engineering department changed that switch and didn’t change the part number.” McCaskill even manages to bring in Citizens United as part of her outrage. Yet McCaskill never mentions that the “federal regulators” — NHTSA — knew about the defect and didn’t do anything about it at all.

Jon Karl challenges McCaskill on that point, at which she tries changing the subject (at the five-minute mark):


ABC US News | ABC Business News

Instead of talking about the NHTSA’s lack of action, McCaskill offers a non-sequitur about engineers hiding information and executives perhaps conspiring to join them in doing so. That, however, doesn’t negate the fact that the NHTSA knew about the defect and the deaths, and did nothing about it. Karl doesn’t follow up on the question, and the ABC report linked above doesn’t even include that exchange. The transcript does:

KARL: Well, let me ask you about those government regulators and those executive offices. Of course government regulators knew about this and for various degree going back several years. And remember, GM was a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States government following the bailout.

What is the government, the U.S. government responsibility for what happened here?

MCCASKILL: Well, I think a lot of this depends on when the knowledge that we know the engineers had was in fact transferred up the chain.

And that’s what this — these investigations will show.

It is possible that these engineers were so interested in covering themselves, especially this Mr. Ray DeGiorgio who perjured himself a number of times in his deposition — he lied over and over again. Because afterwards, we found the document where he signed off on the changes, a document which was never given to the lawyers in that case, by the way.

So when did that information that was in the engineering sector move to the executive level of General Motors. That’s what we don’t know. That’s what Mary Barra refused to talk about until the investigation is complete. That’s why her — I put her on the spot and said will you come back in front of this committee after this investigation is over. And she committed on the record that she would.

No, this doesn’t depend on “up the chain” issues. We already know that NHTSA had the data on the defect and its impact, yet chose to do nothing about it while they went after GM’s top competitor Toyota over its sudden-acceleration issues. David Harsanyi wrote about it last week:

As early as 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) knew that there may be problems with air bags but never launched a formal investigation. The NHTSA’s acting chief, David Friedman, testified that GM never told the agency that faulty switches were at the root of the air bag problem. Fine. Before plowing billions of tax dollars into saving the United Automobile Workers, did the car czar or any other Obama officials take extra care to review DOT records to ensure that taxpayers would not be funding the preventable deaths of American citizens? Would DOT and Holder exhibit the same zealousness for safety with GM as they did when it came to Toyota?

In the midst of the bailout debate and subsequent “turnaround,” news of a cover-up and major recall would have been a political disaster.

So it’s difficult to understand why this isn’t a huge scandal. If every obtuse utterance by an obscure Republican congressman gets the media juices flowing, surely the possibility of this kind of negligence is worth a look. Can anyone with access to the administration ask some of these questions? Because if you take credit for “saving” a company (actually, an “industry,” as no one would have ever driven again if Obama hadn’t saved the day), you also get credit for “saving” the real-life unscrupulous version of the company.

“I placed my bet on the American worker,” Obama told union workers in 2012. “And I’ll make that bet any day of the week. And now, three years later, that bet is paying off.”

Betting $80 billion of someone else’s money to prop up sympathetic labor unions isn’t exactly fraught with political risk. Unless it turns out that your administration is less concerned about the safety defects of the company you own than it is about the company you dislike. That would be corruption.

By 2011, there had been 204 complaints lodged with the NHTSA over the air-bag issue with GM cars. Did NHTSA turn a blind eye to GM’s defect because of the ownership position of the federal government? Why isn’t McCaskill pursuing that issue as well as GM’s “corporate culture” and bemoaning Citizens United, another complete non-sequitur?


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The scumhag s/b in prison.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Both scumhags s/b in prison, McCaskill and the CEO of GM. The latter should include obama, who’s the ‘owner’ of GM.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

It was malicious. The whole thing.

Bigbullets on April 7, 2014 at 12:06 PM

The government is complicit McCaskill. Come clean.

itsspideyman on April 7, 2014 at 12:06 PM

as GM goes, so goes America

corrupt, bankrupt and all that

DanMan on April 7, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Government Motors can do no wrong.

Never ever buy a GM car, as you don’t know what issues are going on that they sweep under the carpet.

I hope this is the death of GM.

txdoc on April 7, 2014 at 12:14 PM

“Moments of Truth” are where you find them. That hypocrite tool, McCatkill needs to face her’s in Nov.

vnvet on April 7, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Did NHTSA turn a blind eye to GM’s defect because of the ownership position of the federal government?

Of course they did. It’s not coincidence that this stuff is only coming out now that the government has divested itself of its stake in government motors.

Happy Nomad on April 7, 2014 at 12:16 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

allstonian on April 7, 2014 at 12:16 PM

OT – two fools

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Wait a second! Isn’t she running for re-election?

So the polling shows that most Americans hate the GM debacle. So Ms. Clever figures that the whole thing is going to go down anyway so there’s no downside to piling on.

Under that scenario, Claire needs to declare the fair market value of the publicity GM is providing to her per FEC regulations.

platypus on April 7, 2014 at 12:22 PM

That, however, doesn’t negate the fact that the NHTSA knew about the defect and the deaths, and did nothing about it.

I have no problem holding the GM executives criminally liable. But do the same with the federal bureaucrats who knew and did nothing.

rbj on April 7, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Breaking: Casablanca…none

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Both scumhags s/b in prison, McCaskill and the CEO of GM. The latter should include obama, who’s the ‘owner’ of GM.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Truthfully, Bammy’s entire admin and every one of his appointed federal bureau chiefs should be in prison. I’d suggest repurposing Gitmo for the honor of holding them all.

hawkeye54 on April 7, 2014 at 12:25 PM

By 2011, there had been 204 complaints lodged with the NHTSA over the air-bag issue with GM cars. Did NHTSA turn a blind eye to GM’s defect because of the ownership position of the federal government?

…that needed to be asked?

KOOLAID2 on April 7, 2014 at 12:25 PM

East German Trabant, Soviet Zaporozhets, Yugoslavian Yugo and now The Chevy….Wonderfully built cars brought to you by the government.

dirtseller on April 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Just use the Lerner/Clinton defense.

“I did noting illegal, and I plead the 5th.”

“What difference, at this point, does it make?..We just want to make sure this doesn’t happen again”.

Mimzey on April 7, 2014 at 12:28 PM

OT – what for?

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 12:31 PM

It should be embarrassing that a craven and crass McCaskill can so transparently posture and spin a complete load of crap without pointing a finger at the feckless federal government / Obama Administration for their role in this tragedy.

But, unfortunately, for the progressives, their intellectual, moral, and ethical bankruptcy knows no boundaries. It’s all about pointing the finger elsewhere…and the sycophants in the media cannot / will not ask the tough questions over who are responsible for what should be criminal neglect – in GM and in the Obama Administration.

Athos on April 7, 2014 at 12:32 PM

The moment of truth is coming up for McCaskill and the democrats.

The democrats are painting GM as the bad guy now to distract from the crappy job market and ObamaCare.

If the democrats are so smart – they should have done do diligence before “saving” GM.

Obama structured the bankruptcy so that GM was shielded from lawsuits against the “old” GM.

However I think GM said they would own up to lawsuits against the ignition switch problem.

If anything – it should give car buyers around the world pause when they consider the purchase of a GM vehicle.

redguy on April 7, 2014 at 12:32 PM

By 2011, there had been 204 complaints lodged with the NHTSA over the air-bag issue with GM cars. Did NHTSA turn a blind eye to GM’s defect because of the ownership position of the federal government?

…that needed to be asked?

KOOLAID2 on April 7, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Yes, it needs to be asked because the MSM won’t……

The government was busy trashing Toyota. This is what communists do.

SHIELD has been compromised.

redguy on April 7, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Wait a second! Isn’t she running for re-election?

So the polling shows that most Americans hate the GM debacle. So Ms. Clever figures that the whole thing is going to go down anyway so there’s no downside to piling on.

Under that scenario, Claire needs to declare the fair market value of the publicity GM is providing to her per FEC regulations.

platypus on April 7, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Nope. She won in 2012 running against that famous endocrinologist, Todd Akin.

butch on April 7, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Obama structured the bankruptcy so that GM was shielded from lawsuits against the “old” GM.

I believe the big issue at that time was a recall of a couple of years of the Chevy Impala starting in 2007. They were looking at recalling two or three years worth of these cars and the restructuring absolved them of it. This looks like collusion between the feds, GM and the unions to me.

DanMan on April 7, 2014 at 12:46 PM

American Leyland to soon join its British cousin.

Bin Laden is dead, and so is GM!
I hope the lads in Bowling Green are lining up buyers for the plant, and brand.

Another Drew on April 7, 2014 at 12:49 PM

I Blame Booooooooosh

roflmmfao

donabernathy on April 7, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Let me put it this way – had the Treasury Department been a private investor, it would be investigated by the Securities and Exchanges Commission because it dumped its position just before the NHTSA finally ordered the recall.

Steve Eggleston on April 7, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Both scumhags s/b in prison, McCaskill and the CEO of GM. The latter should include obama, who’s the ‘owner’ of GM.

Schadenfreude on April 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

You’re leaving out a few people there.

Steve Eggleston on April 7, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Get ready for GM Bailout MK2 Mod1.

BigWyo on April 7, 2014 at 1:11 PM

GM, following the DimocRat’s playbook for cover-ups, ENABLED by the GM takeover and bailout by the Dims and the Dims feigning outrage…classic.

Meople on April 7, 2014 at 1:19 PM

You’re leaving out a few a whole lotta people there.

Steve Eggleston on April 7, 2014 at 1:03 PM

From what we’ve seen in this admin’s thugocracy, there should be hundreds if not thousands who’s POV should be from behind bars, in matching neon orange jump suits.

hawkeye54 on April 7, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Who wants to bet me that Mr. Ray DeGiorgio is a Republican or has donated to Republican candidates?

ExpressoBold on April 7, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I have been suspicious of just how much control the government has over GM since I needed a routine repair on my Pontiac. It needed new O rings. Now, I’m no mechanic, but the dealership said they had to order them from Detroit and they were drop shipped because they were considered hazardous parts and could not be flown overnight. I had to wait 10 days for those O rings for a one day repair which was quoted at $200 for parts and labor. It turned into a $600 repair because of the rental car. Even I know O rings are not hazardous and could probably have been purchased locally even if they don’t make Pontiacs anymore.

lea on April 7, 2014 at 1:51 PM

As a Missourian, I formally apologize to the rest of the nation for the idiots in my state who voted in this shrill harpee twice.

Mo_mac on April 7, 2014 at 2:13 PM

lea on April 7, 2014 at 1:51 PM

A lot of it is simple price-gouging. A decade ago, the V-6 on my mid-Eighties 4×4 lost its balancer- that’s the ring-shaped widget at the front of the crankshaft. The GM dealership said that they’d have to order it from the factory for $470.

Since my 4×4 was used anyway, I checked with my mechanic, who used to work at GM before becoming an owner-operator of his own garage. He replaced the widget with the same part for the same V-6 engine on the same model year Camaro. The difference was that the Camaro part number checked through the GMAC system at $35 brand new.

When I asked him what the difference was, he said, “GM’s brass think 4×4 owners are dumb rednecks who deserve to be gouged.”

clear ether

eon

eon on April 7, 2014 at 2:20 PM

“and someone at GM in the engineering department changed that switch and didn’t change the part number.”

This is true. Call the parts counter at any GM parts dept. at a dealership. They will tell you, no part number for recalled ignition part.

Bmore on April 7, 2014 at 2:23 PM

As early as 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) knew that there may be problems with air bags but never launched a formal investigation.

There’s your out, Claire. Just blame Bush. It seems to work every time you Democrats get into a tight spot, so why not just go back to the well one more time?

So, the next time some “journalist”* (aka Democratic Party Operative) accidentally commits a random act of journalism and asks you if NHTSA’s reluctance to disclose all of this and act on it has anything to do with the fact that GM during the past few years was basically Democrat Party Motors, you can say with a straight face, “why, yes, the government dropped the ball on this -the Bush NHTSA didn’t want to cause problems for the 1%’ers running the auto industry back in the bad old pre-Obama days, so they buried the information, and it’s only by a stroke of luck that some hardworking Obama NHTSA appointees rediscovered the truth.” Another potentially messy inconvenient truth wrapped up and sent down the memory hole.

* this isn’t a slam directed at Jon Karl. From what I understand, he’s actually a halfway decent journalist who isn’t a reflexive Democrat water-carrier.

djm1992 on April 7, 2014 at 2:58 PM

McCaskill has as much familiarity with the moment of any truth as a man has with the physical feeling of menstruation. Yeah, we both have the general idea of the thing and maybe can even describe it to a certain extent, but when it comes right down to it we’ll never truly understand or experience the thing.

deepdiver on April 7, 2014 at 3:12 PM

GM is alive and Al Qaeda is on the run. If voters in 2012 only knew. But, Benghazi and GM corruption was hidden by the most transparent administration…EVAH.

Techster64 on April 7, 2014 at 5:02 PM

GM may have a ‘moment of truth’, but if they are your typical corporate backstabbers you can bet they’ll turn it on the government as well. They won’t be stuck out on that limb all by themselves.

I hope in their desperation GM lays out the level of corruption in their collusion with the government over the last 8 years at minimum. That’ll make for some interesting hearings.

Diluculo on April 7, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Bureaucrats, in charge of our safety. What could go wrong?

(Well… your safety. I drive a Ford.)

ReggieA on April 8, 2014 at 4:35 PM