CPR Member Scholar Rena Steinzor reacted to today’s announcement of a settlement between General Motors and the Justice Department over charges stemming from the company’s failure to disclose a deadly ignition defect it millions of its cars. Steinzor said:
This settlement is shamefully weak. GM and its executives knew for years that they had a big problem with the ignition switch, which caused cars to stall at high speeds, depriving drivers of power steering, brakes, and airbags. The company’s dysfunctional culture convened committees to palaver about it, while nothing was done, a culture described by Mary Barra, GM’s CEO, as “the GM nod.” But daunted by the company’s size and prestige, U.S. attorney Preet Bharara blinked, collecting $900 million as a cost of doing business, but excusing GM from admitting its criminal wrongdoing. This kind of sweetheart deal shows that justice in America is anything but blind.
Steinzor is the author of Why Not Jail? Industrial Catastrophes, Corporate Malfeasance, and Government Inaction.