If you’re an American taxpayer, you’re doubtlessly overjoyed to be an involuntary shareholder in General Motors. You’ll be even happier to know that the company is squandering funds on political causes. In other words, they have enough money to be greasing the palms of politicians, but somehow don’t have enough money to survive without stealing money from us. But this does give us a teachable moment (albeit a very expensive one). The behavior of GM illustrates how politicians manage to get kickbacks whenever they give away our money (though the story didn’t mention the biggest source of kickbacks – the money and other forms of political support from the United Auto Workers). This is Washington’s version of recycling. Politicians take money from us, give it to some interest group, and then the interest group gives a slice of the money back to the politicians. Everybody wins. Except people with ethics.
When General Motors went through bankruptcy last year, it suspended its political donations. Now that it’s owned by the U.S. government, it’s donating to lawmakers’ pet projects again. The carmaker gave $41,000 to groups associated with lawmakers, the vast majority of it — $36,000 — to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the company reported on a disclosure form last week. The CBC Foundation is a charity with 11 members of the Congressional Black Caucus on its board. …The U.S. government now has a 60 percent stake in the reformed company. …General Motors has not reactivated its political action committee, which can give to election campaigns, according to the latest reports with the Federal Election Commission. The PAC contributions come from senior employees who give to support the company’s political goals.