According to the Center for Auto Safety, the data on the US Treasury’s role in having General Motors – the largest US carmaker – shielded from auto-related lawsuits stemming after the 2009 bankruptcy bailout should be public.
A federal judge in Washington was asked through a filling to order the US Treasury Department to come up with documents, including e-mails from Treasury employees that might have counseled GM to shed responsibility for any accidents that happened prior to the bailout. The safety association’s president, Clarence Ditlow, has said that his group has been seeking the documents as far back as 2009 even though they are not confidential and should be readily available for the public. The CAR believes the US Treasury might have asked the automaker to make sure it could not be held accountable for any defect that led to accidents or parts failures happening before the bailout process started. The association has started to investigate GM’s ignition-switch defects, with millions of affected cars being produced before the establishment of “New GM”.
So far, the center has already presented a 2014 filing by GM that showed the US seeking the company to abandon almost all of its predecessor’s liabilities – including for accidents happening before 2009 or any economic losses stemming from defective vehicles. Ditlow filed a lawsuit on the matter back in 2011 and the Treasury has already asked the federal judge to dismiss it on the grounds of the information being untouched by the Freedom of Information Act. The Treasury argued that information from the company could hurt future chances of negotiating rescues for other companies deemed essential to the economy – as was the case with GM’s $49.5 billion bailout.