Congressman Questions Ford Over Bailout Ad

September 30, 2011

Ford, it seems, can’t catch a break these days. First, the automaker drew flak for running an unscripted “press conference” ad, featuring an F-150 owner who was critical of automakers taking bailout money.

Earlier this week, Ford pulled the ad from rotation on television, and even pulled it down from YouTube for a brief period. The Detroit News alleged at the time that Ford pulled the ad due to White House criticism, since the current administration wants to portray the automaker bailout as one its major successes.

Ford insists that it simply rotated the ad out of circulation, and that White House pressure had nothing to do with it (although that wouldn’t explain why the clip disappeared, albeit briefly, from YouTube).

It would seem that the matter is now closed, and that we can all move on to more pressing matters, right?

Not just yet. The Detroit News now reports that a Republican congressman from California has requested a “full and complete explanation of Ford’s decision to stop running the advertisement.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who’s chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, wants to know if any federal employee discussed the ad with any Ford employee, “via any manner of communication,” and has given the automaker until October 12 to respond.

Ford certainly doesn’t need the distraction, since it’s about to enter into critical labor negotiations with the UAW. Unlike GM and Chrysler, Ford isn't protected from UAW labor actions through 2014, putting them at somewhat of a disadvantage for not taking bailout assistance (which included a no-strike clause with the UAW).

What’s your take on this? Is a government inquiry necessary, or is this nothing more than partisan politics at its worst?

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