GM CEO Mary Barra defends general counsel in congressional hearing

Jul 17, 2014

Credit General Motors

Today brought the fourth appearance for General Motors and CEO Mary Barra before angry members of Congress.

This time a Senate subcommittee took a deeper dive into the ignition switch recalls and didn't like what it saw in GM's legal department.

Michigan Radio's auto reporter Tracy Samilton followed the event.

According to Samilton, GM's chief counsel Michael Millikin was in the "uncomfortable Senate spotlight" today.

When senators asked why Millikin still kept his job, Barra said she "respectfully" disagreed with them, and she defended Millikin as a man of "incredibly high integrity."

She said Millikin "had a system in place." Unfortunately, in this instance "it wasn't brought to his attention."

Samilton said that Delphi supplied the ignition switches and its CEO Rodney O’Neil was also there before the Senate panel. He said that their products met the requirement of the customer, and that Delphi had no responsibility.

Barra also said that GM is the only company that's responsible.

Samilton said there will be another hearing where David Friedman will be called back for more questions.

Friedman is the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

* Listen to full interview above.