Washington, D.C.– U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, pushed the White House to explain whether auto companies who received massive government funding should continue to lobby Congress.
General Motors and Chrysler both received government funding to avoid bankruptcy and both are members of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) lobbying group that advocates for controversial climate change legislation in Congress. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers – both members of the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry – Sensenbrenner asked if any taxpayer money was used on lobbying and whether law and policy allowed for such use of government funds.
“The federal government threw these auto companies a lifeline, but it looks like they are trying to use the rope to tie the American economy down,” said Sensenbrenner, who voted against the American Climate and Economic Security Act because it would raise costs across the economy and result in job losses. “Every taxpayer helped bail out these struggling companies because no one wanted to see all of those jobs lost. Government money shouldn’t be used to influence government policy. It’s time for GM and Chrysler to focus on selling cars, not on ways to continue government support.”
In June, Sensenbrenner asked Attorney General Eric Holder to clarify whether these companies could continue their lobbying practices, including their membership in USCAP. The Department of Justice has not yet replied to Sensenbrenner’s letter.
“It’s absurd that GM and Chrysler would be supporting this legislation since it will clearly lead to higher manufacturing costs, which is the last thing these struggling companies need right now,” Sensenbrenner said. “I call this carbon regulation scheme ‘cap-and-tax’ because it will sneak a hidden tax into the electric bill of almost every American. Why should taxpayer dollars go towards a lobbying effort that advocates raising taxes?”
Click here for the letter.