(Washington) – During a Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection hearing a Senate panel pummeled General Motors CEO Mary Barra on Wednesday, April 2, with accusations including an illegal cover-up by GM and an engineer lying under oath.
It was Barra’s second day of rough handling by Congress and it was tougher than the grilling Tuesday by a House panel in hearings into why GM took so long to recall of 2.53 million older small cars for ignitions that can suddenly shut off the engine and disable air bags and power assist for steering and braking. Thirteen deaths and 32 crashes have been linked to the defect.
Prior to this hearing U.S. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, a former prosecutor who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, gave her thoughts on the General Motors accusations during a radio conference call:
During the hearing Sen. McCaskill also brought up a court deposition from April 2013 in a case involving a Georgia woman killed in a Chevrolet Cobalt in 2009. In it, Ray DeGiorgio, GM’s switch engineer for the car, said he never signed off on changes to the ignition.
Sen. McCaskill went on to share how this suspected cover up became known to the public:
General Motors may face punitive action according Sen. McCaskill, who continued to say that they certainly should be held responsible:
Sen. McCaskill concluded her thoughts on GM by explaining how these corporations play “Whac A Mole” with lawsuits across the country:
According to an article in USA Today GM CEO Barra has said she didn’t learn of the problem until January of this year, just before the recalls were ordered, despite warnings involving faulty ignition switches in these cars dating back to 2001 and numerous complaints, internal investigations and other red flag warnings.