News

GM ignition switch probe could lead to criminal charges

GM ignition switch probe could lead to criminal charges

GM:General Motors should make restitution to victims' families and face criminal action if merited for the way it handled defective ignition switches that caused fatal auto accidents, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill said on Sunday. Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Motors should make restitution to victims’ families and face criminal action if merited for the way it handled defective ignition switches that caused fatal auto accidents, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill said on Sunday.

McCaskill, as chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection and product safety, led a blistering round of questioning of GM chief executive officer Mary Barra last week. In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” show, McCaskill said GM now faced “a real moment of truth” as it pursues an internal investigation of the ignition switches and the automaker’s response to the problem.

At least 13 people were killed in accidents caused by switches that shut down cars. In 2006, GM changed the faulty part but did not change its identifying part number, which McCaskill said showed an intent to deceive.

Asked on Sunday if someone should go to jail in the matter, she cited a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that said the government cannot restrict political donations by corporations.

“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, a Democrat, said. “I know the Justice Department is taking a hard look at this.”

Another member of the subcommittee, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, said GM’s actions amounted to criminal deception.

McCaskill also joined those calling for GM to establish a victims’ compensation fund.

“Now it’s time for them to come clean, be transparent and most of all make all victims whole no matter when this deadly ignition caused heartbreak in their families,” she said.

(Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Jim Loney, Bernard Orr)

Recent Headlines

37 mins ago in Entertainment

Dan Aykroyd adapting ‘Blues Brothers’ for animated series

Fresh
danaykroyd391647313397

The animated project will also feature the band's original songs, as well as soul and blues classics, and new material recorded specially for the series, which Aykroyd will help to develop alongside "Saturday Night Live" writer Anne Beatts.

42 mins ago in Entertainment

‘Frozen’ fans want Queen Elsa to ‘come out’

Fresh
21-overlay-2

Fans are urging movie executives to make the film's snow queen Elsa a lesbian in the sequel.

49 mins ago in Music

Dolly Parton planning to renew vows on 50th anniversary

Fresh
dollyparton850993298558

The "9 to 5" singer had previously expressed her desire to throw another wedding bash to celebrate the milestone but said her famously reclusive husband, who has rarely been pictured with her in public, "really hates" the attention.

53 mins ago in Entertainment

It’s ‘Star Wars’ Day: May the 4th be with you

Fresh
starwarsday16125289429647

It's not a national holiday, yet it might be an intergalactic one.

60 mins ago in Viral Videos

An honest trailer for ‘Captain America’

Fresh
14-overlay-2

Let's celebrate this weekend's release of "Captain America: Civil War" by looking back on the 1990 never-released movie that gives the Dolph Lundgren "Punisher" film a painfully slow run for its money.