Leftists Disinterested in Real Conflicts of Interest

It’s really been something watching the government go after Toyota for a gas pedal problem that even a Consumers Union official described as “putting an awful lot of effort on a very small risk.”

Has a head of the U.S. Department of Transportation ever previously told a group of vehicle owners not to drive their cars until they’re fixed? After doing just that, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he misspoke. But the damage was done.

Or was it really “mission accomplished”?

Observers wouldn’t be asking that question if the government didn’t control General Motors and Chrysler, two of Toyota’s largest competitors, and if those two entities hadn’t gobbled up over $100 billion in government money and creditor assets in the past year. But it does and they have, which makes raising the issue perfectly fair to everyone except far leftists and apparently the vast majority of establishment media journalists (but I repeat myself). The only wire report I’ve seen that has addressed the issue -- and to its credit, did so aggressively (“Is U.S. bullying Toyota on recall?”) -- is this one from AFP. I hope for her sake that AFP reporter Mira Oberman has built up a comfy financial reserve.

Now it seems that Honda is going through its own costly, possibly defensive recall, “even though recent testing of [airbag] units from this production process performed correctly.” Meanwhile, this historical list of recalls shows that GM and Chrysler, even though they were collectively involved in efforts relating to over 8.9 million vehicles from 2004 to 2008, have not been involved in any since Uncle Sam began sending them money. How convenient. Maybe GM and Chrysler are benefitting because their safety watchdog has been instructed to bark only at companies not controlled by the boss.

Leftists and journalists almost never acknowledge drop-dead obvious conflicts of interest when bringing them to the public’s attention might hurt their pet causes. Have you seen anyone bring up the point that Ford, in negotiating with the United Auto Workers union last year, was bargaining with an entity that through benefit plan affiliates has an ownership interest in two of its competitors? Not surprisingly, Ford was unable to strike a bargain with UAW negotiators that the rank and file was willing to support. Excuse me for speculating that the union agreed to an offer it knew Ford’s hourly workers would refuse.

Faced with a video-driven scandal that threatened its very existence, the political activist organization ACORN nonetheless shunned doing the logical thing, which would have been to hire an independent CPA firm to conduct a comprehensive financial review. Instead, it chose former Massachusetts attorney general and, uh, political activist Scott Harshbarger. Seemingly focused only on the work of James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles and not the organization’s awful to nonexistent financial controls and chronically illegal electioneering, Harshbarger found that, in the words of the Apparatchik, er, Associated Press, “There was no criminal conduct by employees who offered advice on how to hide assets and falsify lending documents.” Harshbarger said in a statement that “no action, illegal or otherwise, was ever taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers.” That’s very clever wording, because giving people illegal advice may not be an “action,” but it is, well, illegal. Whether it could be successfully prosecuted is irrelevant to the question of legality.