Senate to General Motors: Hide No Harm

Senate Democrats plan to slap General Motors with legislation that would make it a crime to conceal dangerous defects from the public.

In response to GM's massive but delayed recalls this year, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) on Wednesday will introduce the Hide No Harm Act of 2014, which serves as a swift rebuke to the automaker but is also intended to prevent future lapses of judgement from other companies.

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Blumenthal and Casey accused GM of covering up an ignition switch defect for 10 years before finally issuing a recall in 2014, leading to deaths and injuries that could have been prevented.

The senators also point to what they refer to as similar cover ups by Second Chance Body Armor and Simplicity for Children.

"In these cases, the corporate officers who knowingly concealed the defects suffered very little, if all all," according to a press release from Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group that is supporting the bill. "Meanwhile, their actions have had detrimental consequences to consumers, employees and shareholders."

Under the Hide No Harm Act, corporate officers that engage in such actions would face criminal charges of up to five years in prison and fines. Their bill would also include rules protecting whistleblowers from federal prosecution.

Blumenthal and Casey will be joined Wednesday morning by Public Citizen President Robert Weissman and Katherine McFate, president of the Center for Effective Government, in announcing the Hide No Harm Act.