General Motors is still in business today because taxpayers gave it $50 billion as part of President Obama's 2009 auto bailout in exchange for a huge chunk of stock in the company.
Whether that makes GM a "Government Motors" subsidiary of Uncle Sam or not may be analogous to Medieval Scholastics arguing over how many angels fit on the head of a pin, but there is no doubt that taxpayers have a stake in how the company is managed these days.
Nathan Bomey in USA Today and the Detroit Free Press wonders if GM's long-established corporate ethics policies are still in force. He notes that GM just told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it "recently" learned that an advertising firm owned in part by the wife of Dan Ammann, the corporation's CFO, won a "one-off" $600,000 contract.
"The company has a detailed policy in potential conflicts of interest which says, in part: Deals of more than $120,000 in which a top executive's spouse has a financial interest must be approved by CEO Dan Akerson and Senior Vice President and general counsel Michael Millikin. The arrangement must then be reported to the GM board of directors' Governance Committee, which annually reviews each top executive's independence," Bomey said.
"The deal for agency Mother New York, which employs Pernilla Ammann, involved creative work around Chevrolet's 100th anniversary last fall, the Free Press has confirmed," he said.
Bomey quoted a GM statement in which the firm said Ammann was not aware of the contract award when the corporation's most recent SEC filing was made.
"This transaction has been properly ratified under our Related Party Transaction Policy, but not all the required procedures were followed," the GM statement said.
For more from Bomey, go here.
A skeptical Seton Motley, writing on the Breitbart Big Government site, observes:
"I know GM is a big company - even after the thousands and thousands of employee firings the Obama Administration ordered as a part of the bailout bankruptcy. But seriously, someone can write a $600,000 check - to the CFO’s wife’s company - and no one else notices?