Despite General Motors admission the other day that “organizational dysfunction” was the leading cause why its ignition switch recall didn’t happen when it was supposed to, a senator from Connecticut still isn’t happy.
Senator Richard Blumenthal said the internal report that was compiled by former US Attorney Anton Valukas, a consultant for General Motors, failed to answer certain questions and did not identify a compensation plan for victims.
The report “amounts to circling the wagons to marshal a legal defense. It’s the best report that money can buy. It absolves upper management and limits culpability. This report leaves really critical questions unanswered. It’s a failure to come clean and acknowledge full responsibility,” said Blumenthal during a conference call with reporters.
Yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a compilation of the report, which found no evidence of a conspiracy by General Motors to cover up the failure of issuing a recall for ignition switch issues, which the company had known about for 11 years. However, GM CEO Mary Barra admitted the report and its highlighting of the company’s misgivings were “extremely tough, brutally tough and deeply troubling.”
But Blumenthal is not yet satisfied. “Clearly, the number is more than 13,” Blumenthal said, remarking about the number of deaths that have resulted with cars with faulty ignition switches. “As much as compensation is important, public acknowledgement of those victims is also critical … You would think the investigation would help to shape the fund in determining how many victims there were, how many should be compensated and how many injuries and others who were harmed, but there are none of those relevant results from this investigation.”
Blumenthal has co-sponsored pending legislation with Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, titled “Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act of 2014,” Markey also has been critical of the Valukas report. “We need more than an accounting of past mistakes. We need to ensure accountability and that permanent measures are put in place to prevent future deaths. An internal investigation alone is not nearly enough to ensure that a decade-long tragedy like this never happens again. Until we end the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ culture that enabled these tragedies, we risk the potential that auto manufacturers will again keep deadly secrets.”