At least four U.S. investigations into unintended acceleration by Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles were ended with the help of former regulators hired by the automaker, warding off possible recalls, court and government records show.
Christopher Tinto, vice president of regulatory affairs in Toyota’s Washington office, and Christopher Santucci, who works for Tinto, helped persuade the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to end probes including those of 2002-2003 Toyota Camrys and Solaras, court documents show. Both men joined Toyota directly from NHTSA, Tinto in 1994 and Santucci in 2003.
While all automakers have employees who handle NHTSA issues, Toyota may be alone among the major companies in employing former agency staffers to do so. Spokesmen for General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Honda Motor Co. all say their companies have no ex-NHTSA people who deal with the agency on defects.
Possible links between Toyota and NHTSA may fuel mounting criticism of their handling of defects in Toyota and Lexus models tied to 19 deaths from 2004 to 2009. Three congressional committees have scheduled hearings on the recalls.
“Toyota bamboozled NHTSA or NHTSA was bamboozled by itself,” said Joan Claybrook, an auto safety advocate and former NHTSA administrator in the Jimmy Carter administration. “I think there is going to be a lot of heat on NHTSA over this...read on
Toyota has only lost almost 28 billion in market capitalization. The influence of former employees from government agencies directly tied to their new jobs is a disgrace.
It’s that revolving door between government agencies and those major corporations in the industries they are meant to regulate. Throw in a few lobbyists and a few million dollars in K Street money and you’ve got a very cozy scenario, indeed. It's all just so "Club For Growth," isn't it?
No wonder our government is broken: it’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America. And Corporate America doesn’t care about real Americans, just their money.
Hey Toyota: dead Americans don’t buy cars.
I'm sure Grover Norquist is happy that Tinto and Santucci did their best to stop the government from doing their job, because those government probes are just so bad for corporate America. I mean, the free markets will magically help raise the people that died because of Toyota's problems from the dead--probably on Halloween. That's always a good day for resurrections.
Hey conservatives: How's that "small government" thing working out for ya?