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)
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