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

in Local

American Business Club of Springfield Waiting for State Fair Money

State Fair Vendor

Owed thousands by the state, one of the Illinois State Fair vendors is giving money away anyway.

in Local

St. John’s, Memorial Hospitals Help Enos Park

enos park

Springfield's two hospitals are on the first step of a three-year joint initiative that for now will help provide better access to health care in the Enos Park neighborhood.

in Local

Former Gov. Ryan Calls for Criminal Justice Reform


Former Gov. George Ryan is using examples from his own time in prison to call for changes to the criminal justice system.

in Local

Students from China Help Champaign-Urbana

university illinois

More than 5,200 students from China attend the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana.

in Local

Kent Gray Named Trump’s Illinois Campaign Director

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in Manhattan after he signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee in the 2016 general election, ruling out a third-party or independent run.

Featuring: Donald Trump
Where: New York, New York, United States
When: 03 Sep 2015
Credit: Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/

**Not available for publication in Germany, Poland, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia**

Gray directed reporters' inquiries to Hope Hicks, a national communications director for Trump, who wouldn't let us talk to him.