Remember those GM ads that boasted how they had repaid all debts to the government?
Neither does Obama:
The federal government knew of deceptive advertising by General Motors well in advance, and tacitly approved of it. Only later did federal officials distance themselves from those deceptive claims, after they drew criticism from an inspector general, Republican members of Congress, and even some journalists at liberal newspapers. Not, however, before the Treasury Secretary himself had trumpeted GM’s deceptive claims, which the Treasury Department had plenty of time to review before GM made them.
Documents just released by the U.S. Treasury Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request make this clear. They show that General Motors and the Obama Administration coordinated PR strategy regarding GM’s much-criticized ad campaign in 2010, in which the car maker misleadingly claimed to have repaid what it received from taxpayers. In those ads, GM’s CEO at the time, Ed Whitacre, boasted that GM repaid its government bailout loan “in full, with interest, five years ahead of schedule.”
In May 2010, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed a deceptive advertising complaint with the FTC, and GM shortly thereafter stopped running the ads. CEI also filed a Freedom of Information request with Treasury for documents on the ad campaign. Those documents were finally released late last month, after a year of delay – far beyond the 20-day legal deadline for responding to FOIA requests.
“One year ago, the US Treasury Department aided General Motors in its fraudulent claim that it fully repaid its government loans,” said Sam Kazman, CEI’s General Counsel. “The detailed nature of their cooperation is demonstrated in the documents that the Department has finally produced, 12 long months after our original request. Now, the Treasury Department is re-enacting this smoke-and-mirrors routine on behalf of Chrysler,” he said.
The documents produced as a result of CEI’s FOIA request show GM coordinating PR strategy with the Obama Administration more than three weeks before launching the campaign. The Treasury Department sent some of those documents to the White House at least two weeks before the launch.
Didn’t we learn just yesterday that this was closer to the truth?
The White House said Wednesday that taxpayers could lose roughly $14 billion of the money spent on auto industry bailouts, despite the industry’s recent recovery.
The White House cites the potential losses in a report, “The Resurgence of the American Automotive Industry,” released ahead of President Barack Obama’s trip Friday to a Chrysler Group LLC facility in Toledo, Ohio.
The report said that of the $80 billion in bailout money supplied to the auto industry, less than 20%, or $16 billion, ultimately may be lost. That’s down from the 60% loss projected two years ago, the report said. The White House’s top auto and manufacturing adviser, Ron Bloom, later specified the loss at closer to $14 billion.
The U.S. could lose more than $10 billion in General Motors Co. alone if the government sold its remaining shares of the auto maker at current share prices.
If that’s “resurgence”, I’d hate to see “setback”. PU!
Anyway, the government publishes its own report acknowledging the billions in losses (aka “resurgence”) a year after co-conspiring with the automakers themselves to promote a bald-faced lie.
Wow. I have to give them credit. I can’t even imagine the ways in which they are sleazy. They keep surprising me!