WASHINGTON — The Volkswagen diesel-emissions crisis is drawing the attention of two U.S. senators, who told the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday that officials at Volkswagen "should be granted no get out of jail free card."
Volkswagen admitted to manipulating the software in its diesel vehicles to skirt U.S. and California emissions standards. Approximately 482,000 of the cars, including the 2012-'15 Volkswagen Passat TDI and 2009-'15 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, have been sold in the United States.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch urged the Justice Department to "take strong civil and criminal actions against Volkswagen and any individual for any violations," adding, "The U.S. government needs to make it clear that these actions, whether involving safety defects, consumer deception or regulator violations, will not be tolerated by the American public."
The letter continues: "Volkswagen's actions resulted in the emission of tens of thousands of tons of additional pollution. Just as important, Volkswagen appears to have misled hundreds of thousands of customers about the car they were purchasing."
The two called for a "thorough but expeditious investigation," saying that VW violated the U.S. Clean Air Act.
The so-called "defeat devices" were installed on 11 million Volkswagen vehicles worldwide.
The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee said it will hold a hearing in the coming weeks on the Volkswagen emissions crisis.
At least 28 U.S. state attorneys general are investigating Volkswagen, while the EPA announced Friday that it will be bolstering its diesel-emissions testing process.
Edmunds says: The VW emissions crisis is drawing lots of attention in Washington, with some consumer advocates demanding a hard line from the Justice Department.