Eric Holder to bring the hammer down on Tesla! Will nail companies who “confronted a public safety emergency as if it was simply a public relations problem”
In his speech today, Eric Holder stated that DOJ is bringing the pain to all car companies who “….intentionally concealed information and misled the public about safety issues,” Holder said at a news conference in Washington, adding: “Rather than promptly disclosing and correcting safety issues about which they were aware,
“….made misleading public statements to consumers and gave inaccurate facts to members of Congress.”
The Justice Department stated that it is now willing to aggressively pursue automakers under a 2000 law giving it the power to prosecute those who mislead federal regulators about safety problems. Holder said he hopes the case serves as a warning for other automakers (like Tesla).
“The announcement that I am making today, I think, is reflective of the aggressive nature we will take in looking at these kinds of charges,” he said. “I think this is a sign for the industry that we take these matters seriously and that individuals and corporations will be held accountable.”
“Put simply, …conduct was shameful. It showed a blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to look after the safety of consumers.” said Holder
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) praised the deal.
“The Justice Department’s settlement with Toyota should put all automakers on notice: There is absolutely no excuse for misleading the public or concealing information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “Lives are at risk when this happens. Safety must always be the first priority for manufacturers, regardless of how it affects profit margins.”
The head of the NHTSA, Strickland, recently quit after being confronted with charges he protected Tesla by overlooking bad safety reports.
A close associate from Covington & Burling LLP, the law firm and lobby group that placed Eric Holder in office, said: “he is the right guy to do this job”.