Up until now, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has been the Connecticut official who has been most outspoken about General Motors’ much-publicized problems with faulty ignition switches on GM vehicles.
But now state Attorney General George Jepsen is getting involved in what’s become a huge consumer issue.
“I can confirm that we are participating in a multistate investigation, and that the investigation is active and ongoing,” Jaclyn Falkowski, the director of communications for the Connecticut AG’s office, told the Law Tribune. “We have no further comment at this time.”
As initially reported by Bloomberg News, the attorneys general of Florida, Indiana, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Louisiana are also involved into the investigation as to why it took GM so long to recall 2.6 million vehicles with potential initial switch issues.
As many as 13 people have died because of the defect, which can cut power to a vehicle’s steering and brakes and prevent air bags from deploying in a crash. Company executives have acknowledge that they were aware of the defect for at least a decade before the recall.
Until now, the U.S. Congress had headed the government investigation into GM’s conduct. Company chief executve officer Mary Barra is scheduled to testify once again on June 18 at a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing. Former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas, who headed the company’s internal investigation into the faulty ignition part, will also testify.
Blumenthal has been outspoken in his criticism of GM since the ignition switch issue became public. Following the release of Valukas’ report, he accused the auto maker of being more concerned about its image rather than taking responsibility.
“The GM public relations campaign is pitching this report as an independent review,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “In truth, it seems like the best report money can buy. It absolves upper management, denies deliberate wrongdoing, and dismisses corporate culpability.”
There have been more than 85 lawsuits filed nationwide by car owners claiming their vehicles lost value as a result of the recall and more claims over injuries and deaths. Danbury attorney Agustinho Ribeiro, of Ventura, Ribeiro & Smith, is a member of one of several GM plaintiffs teams.