Newly minted GM CEO Fritz Henderson will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, appearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Along with Chrysler President James Press and National Automobile Dealers Association Chairman John McEleney, Henderson will testify on the economic impact of the recent Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, which are expected to slash the number of auto dealerships around the country.
GMs announcement that it is axing its outside lobby team would appear to satisfy watchdog groups like Public Citizen but not entirely. Craig Holman, a Public Citizen lobbyist, said the now-taxpayer-owned GM should be treated as a quasi-government organization, much like Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. The two mortgage giants, which were put into conservatorship last year, both had their political and lobbying operations dismantled entirely by the federal government.
General Motors should not be trying to operate itself as a special interest distinct from the publics interest. They are a public entity and, quite frankly, the government had to take over to make sure the public interest is ensured here, Holman said.
General Motors should not be operating as an independent special interest group ... no more than a government agency should be allowed to make lobbying expenditures or campaign contributions.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.