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Lawmakers Question Valukas Report “No Cover-Up” Conclusion

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Tina Robinson3 years ago

As GM CEO Mary Barra returned to Washington to testify for a second time before a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee, lawmakers had plenty for skepticism for the Valukas Report’s conclusion that there was no cover-up of the ignition defect at GM.

‘That Smacks of Big Cover-Up to Me’

According to the LA Times, the so-called Valukas report, named for its author Anton Valukas, simply didn’t answer all the questions asked by Representatives as to how and why GM failed to repair 2.6 million vehicles with defective ignition switches for more than a decade. The report, released on June 5, was compiled by Valukas at the behest of GM and concluded there was no cover-up, but rather incompetence and inaction.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) noted the report could not “identify one individual in a position of high leadership who was responsible for these systemic failures.”

Adding to the skepticism was Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), “I find it hard to believe that out of 210,000 employees not a single one stood up and said, ‘I think we are making a mistake here.’” He added, “Perhaps this report should have been subtitled, ‘Don’t assume malfeasance when incompetence will do.’”

The more than 300-page Valukas report identifies employees who acted slowly or with incompetence and places much of the blame on one lone engineer. Ray DeGiorgio, the engineer largely responsible for the Cobalt’s ignition system, was found to have approved the switches despite their failure to meet specifications. Later, DeGiorgio approved a redesign of the switch without supplying the new switch with a new part number and would “fail to recall” doing so in the future.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) concluded, “That smacks of a big cover-up to me.”

‘A lot more than 15 people should have been terminated’

In the wake of the Valukas report, GM has said it fired 15 employees who were either incompetent or failed to act appropriately to the defect; five other employees were disciplined.

Yet, lawmakers wondered how the culture at GM could truly change with most of the personnel at GM remained the same. As Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) put it, “As I through this it looks like a lot more than 15 people should have been terminated.”

Barra, however, insisted the company has taken dramatic steps to reverse the underlying culture at GM. She pointed out safety programs and organizational restructuring that she insists is proof of a change. 


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