A letter from National Legal Policy Center president Peter Flaherty to GM chairman Tim Solso said the different awards given to Barra from charitable organizations are a way for Barra to buy publicity following its ignition switch recall catastrophe. The organization also requested GM turn over records of its charitable donations.
The NLPC also criticized Barra two months ago when the National Women’s History Museum gave her a “Living Legacy Award” in the wake of the deadly ignition switch crisis. Family members of those killed in GM cars with faulty switches spoke out against the award, seeking to have it revoked.
The Daily Kanban has also published an article highlighting multiple suspicious awards given to Barra. In one case, an “Appeal of Conscience” award was given to GM not long after its ignition switch scandal broke, and a local news outlet pointed out GM was an “underwriter” sponsor at the event. The automaker also gave $70,000 to the Michigan Women’s Foundation in 2013, which gave Barra a “Women of Achievement and Courage” award in April of last year.
If it is found the awards were given in exchange for of monetary contributions, GM and the charities may be in breach of Internal Revenue Service regulations. GM is being asked to release its charity records, with the NLPC saying it will file a shareholder resolution at GM’s shareholder meeting in June if it does not.