Thursday, November 20, 2014

BIG NEWS: Senators introduce auto industry whistleblower bill


Detroit News reports the introduction of an auto whistleblower bill

The bells tolls for those lost as a result of the heavy silence imposed on all auto industry employees by the lack whistleblower protections to date. But it doubles as a liberty bell for the truth.

"Toyota Motor Corp. in March paid a $1.2 billion fine for its delayed recalls linked to at least four deaths after it was charged with wire fraud in New York. No executives were charged criminally. The Justice Department announced a deferred prosecution agreement with Toyota after it admitted it misled U.S. consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about safety. In theory, a Toyota whistle-blower could have collected a staggering sum of $360 million under the bill." [more importantly, just think of the lives that could have been saved.]

Last year, I made a quiet inquiry about introducing such a bill, not for my own sake (way too late) but for future auto safety. A friend who knows the Hill did a little serious research, and came back with the sorry news that "no one is interested." So more people had to die because of automaker and supplier cover-ups before Congress "got it" that whistleblowers can lead the way forward. I guess I could grit my teeth and say better late than never, but we can never bring back the beloved people who were lost in the meantime. The word "tragic" comes to mind, but that is not strong enough...

Question: Why does this whistleblower bill, just like all the others, limit itself to "employees" in the auto sector? There are thousands of people who are not employees who know a lot about covered up safety defects. 

Senators, please do not forget this important source of vital safety information. Please revise the bill to include protections and rewards for ANY whistleblower.

[Note: I am not supporting this bill for my own personal gain. It is too late.]