Senators Pressure Justice Department To Take More Action in GM Recall | Edmunds

Senators Pressure Justice Department To Take More Action in GM Recall


Just the Facts:
  • Five U.S. senators want the U.S. Justice Department to require General Motors to set up a victims' compensation fund and take steps to "ensure consumers are adequately aware of operating defective vehicles prior to repair" in the wake of a recall of 2.6 million vehicles for defective ignition switches.
  • A Friday letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder by the senators says: "We believe the federal government has a moral, if not legal, obligation to take all necessary steps to protect innocent consumers."
  • GM last week retained Kenneth Feinberg, a victim compensation expert, but has not said whether it will compensate the families of victims.

WASHINGTON Five U.S. senators want the U.S. Justice Department to require General Motors to set up a victims' compensation fund and take steps to "ensure consumers are adequately aware of operating defective vehicles prior to repair" in the wake of a recall of 2.6 million vehicles for defective ignition switches.

A Friday letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder by the senators says: "Given the crucial role the United States government played in creation of the current General Motors Corporation, we believe the federal government has a moral, if not legal, obligation to take all necessary steps to protect innocent consumers."

GM last week retained Kenneth Feinberg, a victim compensation expert, but has not said whether it will compensate the families of victims.

The letter was signed by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Barbara Boxer (D-California), Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts).

The letter asks the Department of Justice to require GM to establish a fund to fully compensate victims, intervene in pending civil actions to oppose any action by GM to deny responsibilities for damages and ensure consumers are adequately aware of operating defective vehicles prior to repair.

"We write to request your immediate intervention and assistance on behalf of victims of severe damage (financial harm, physical injury and death) resulting from serious ignition switch defects in General Motors cars," the senators told Holder. "Without your active involvement, they may have no meaningful remedy."

The defective switches can disable the airbags in the affected cars. GM said 13 people have died as a result of the defect. GM on Thursday expanded the repair of its small cars to replace ignition cylinder locks. The automaker says the cars are safe to drive if the ignition key only is used.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in New York has launched a criminal investigation into GM's handling of complaints of ignition-switch problems.

Edmunds says: The pressure grows on the federal government to take a more active role in the massive GM recall.

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