General Motors has already received considerable heat for its failure to handle issues with defective ignition switches, but now in addition to cries for monetary compensation for those affected, Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, is calling for criminal charges against the company.
Those remarks came from McCaskill on April 6, during an appearance on ABC’s roundtable “This Week.” McCaskill says that the car maker faced a real moment of truth regarding the issues. At least six deaths have been attributed to the faulty switches.
“You know we had the Citizens United case where our Supreme Court said corporations are people … but if in fact they are people, there needs to be some criminal accountability depending on what the facts of the investigation show,” McCaskill, , said during the appearance. “I know the Justice Department is taking a hard look at this.”
McCaskill, who is a member of a Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, also said that now was the time for GM to come clean, suggesting that they be as transparent as possible about the mechanical issues and should work to make the families impacted whole.
The ignition switch issues are associated with vehicles suddenly having their engines cut off and there air bags deactivated.
The week of April 3, GM was grilled by members of Congress for delaying a recall that could have potentially saved lives. That probing session came following an announcement from GM regulators that the company had known about faulty ignition switches in its vehicles since 2001 and has yet to determine the full scope of the problem. Previously, the company had only announced recalls on vehicles manufactured in 2004 or after.
With up to 2.5 million cars currently in service that could be affected by this issues, there will likely be considerably more civil and criminal action taken against GM in the months and years to come.
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