Though General Motors has made a big deal about allegedly paying back their bailout loan to the federal government, the fact is that most of the bailout money was turned into equity, which means the government — and ultimately the taxpayers — are the majority shareholder in the car maker. That’s why some members of Congress are a little upset about GM’s continued practice of destroying important documents.
The two republican Congressmen, Darrell Issa of California and Jim Jordan of Ohio, fired off a missive to GM CEO Ed Whitacre yesterday, requesting that the company put a hold on destroying any more documents pertaining to bailout money, and specifically to the government’s investigation into the controversial ad where Whitacre brags about having paid off the government loan in full and well in advance of the deadline.
From the letter to Whitacre:
In light of these ongoing investigations, we are deeply disturbed to learn that GM is engaging in a continuous process of destroying documents relevant to the Committee’s oversight efforts.
While the two Congressmen admit they have no evidence that the destruction of documents is a deliberate attempt to stall lawmakers, they do say that if GM doesn’t put a halt to the practice, they would consider such behavior as “evidence of criminal misconduct” and alert the U.S. Department of Justice.
GM’s own attorney recently testified that the company’s policy was to delete all electronic communication after 60 days. Congressmen Issa and Jordan want to put a stop to this, at least while taxpayers have a majority stake in the company.
More from the letter:
Until such time as U.S. taxpayers have been divested of all financial interests in GM, we request that you immediately stop destroying documents and begin preserving all records and communications referring or relating to GM’s status as a taxpayer-owned company, its relationship or interaction with government officials, and any issue that could be relevant to public policy.
Congressmen say GM is destroying documents [Detroit News]