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Senate Finance enters Volkswagen fray
The Senate Finance Committee opened a new front in investigations into Volkswagen on Tuesday, questioning whether the automaker's rigging of emission control systems cost the Treasury millions in wrongly issued subsidies.
Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), noted that Volkswagen told the IRS that diesel cars thought to have had their emissions systems manipulated were eligible for a tax credit for fuel efficient vehicles.
The two senators suggested that owners of certain 2009 and 2010 Volkswagen models received well over $50 million in subsidies from a $1,300 per vehicle credit established roughly a decade ago.
Almost a half million vehicles in all were rigged to wrongly pass emissions tests through "defeat devices" that Volkswagen has admitted to installing.
"This activity raises questions of whether Volkswagen made false representations to the U.S. government in its certification for federal tax subsidies," Hatch and Wyden wrote.
Hatch and Wyden pressed Volkswagen for a wide range of information by the end of the month, including any discussions between the automaker and the Treasury Department over the vehicles and documents asserting to certify the vehicles' eligibility for the tax credit.