Issa probes lawmakers' work to sway GM

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) launched a probe Wednesday into lawmakers' efforts to sway General Motors' business decisions, writing GM's CEO to ask for documents relating to the automaker's decision to open and close several plants.

Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked GM CEO Fritz Henderson to produce documents by Aug. 5 on the extent to which Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Michigan lawmakers sought to influence GM to preserve or create jobs in their district or state.

"I am troubled by recent news reports which suggest that [GM] may be making business decisions based on inappropriate political interference," Issa wrote in a letter to Henderson. "The American people have a right to know that their money is being spent wisely and is not being used to satisfy the narrow interests of  individual politicians or special interest groups."

Frank had trumpeted having convinced GM to suspend closing a small service-and-parts operation plant in his district that the automaker had said it would close by the end of this year under its government-backed bankruptcy proceedings. Frank, as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is a key figure in overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds from which support for GM is drawn.

Issa also sought documentation from Michigan lawmakers' ultimately successful efforts to convince GM to build its new, small cars plant in their state. The entire Michigan delegation had organized to win the new contract, led by freshman Rep. Gary Peters (D), whose "Make it in Michigan" campaign managed to bring the new GM plant to his district.

Issa asked Henderson to provide all documents relating to GM's consultation with lawmakers, the Obama administration's auto task force and leaders of the United Auto Workers (UAW) in making its decisions about the Massachusetts and Michigan plants.