Under the terms of the Justice Department's $900 million settlement, no GM executives will be prosecuted for covering up the faulty ignition switch linked to at least 124 deaths. The deal is the latest in a string of deferred prosecution agreements between the Obama administration and corporations accused of criminal activity. We speak to longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader, "Why Not Jail?" author Rena Steinzor and Laura Christian, the mother of a GM crash victim.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: On Thursday, General Motors CEO Mary Barra held a 15-minute news conference in which she discussed GM's agreement to pay $900 million to end a U.S. criminal ignition switch probe.
MARY BARRA: We let those customers down in that situation. We didn't do our job. And as part of our apology to the victims, we promise to take responsibility for our actions. So we accept the penalties being announced today, because that's what it means to be held accountable. But apologies and accountability won't count for much if we don't change our behavior. But we can be proud that we have.
AMY GOODMAN: That's General Motors' CEO. And I want to turn to Ralph Nader. Ralph Nader, your response to this settlement?
RALPH NADER: Well, it's a absurd settlement. It doesn't deter future behavior by General Motors. Nobody went to jail, nobody is indicted. The company wasn't indicted. The Justice Department under Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Obama administration have created a new doctrine. It's called "crimes without criminals." They charge GM with a crime, but the company was not indicted, and no officials were indicted. Imagine individuals being able to get away from that. That's a double standard between the privileges and immunities that are dedicated to corporations by the U.S. government and the way individuals are treated. It went so far, Amy, that there are motorists who were charged with vehicular manslaughter because they were involved in crashes due to GM's defect. As the Corporate Crime Reporter pointed out, GM did the crime, the drivers do the time. And so I think the focus has got to be on Congress. The pending highway bill has to include criminal penalties for auto companies for violating safety standards for cars and parts, if they do so willfully, knowingly, so, as Rena Steinzor has said, they can be prosecuted and sent to jail.