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Congress asks Obama official to clarify testimony on unions

July 07, 2011|By Andrew Seidman | Washington Bureau
(Alex Wong / Getty Images )

Reporting from Washington — An Obama administration official who was the principal architect behind the federal government's bailout of General Motors Corp. in 2008 may have lied to Congress, lawmakers charged on Thursday.

Ron Bloom, former senior advisor to the Treasury secretary and now assistant to the president for Manufacturing Policy, reportedly told a journalist and an author that he "did this all for the unions."

During a June 22 congressional hearing about the lasting implications of the bailout, lawmakers asked Bloom if he ever made those comments. The following transpired:

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.): "Well did you say this at a dinner? There was a dinner and it was reported by David Shepardson, Washington correspondent for the Detroit News. At a farewell dinner of the Auto Task Force held in the restaurant Rosa Mexicano in late July 2009 that you allegedly said, 'I did this all for the unions.' "

Ron Bloom: "No, I did not say that."

Burton: "You didn't say that?"

Bloom: "No, sir."

Burton: "So, you were misquoted?"

Bloom: "That's correct."

Burton: "Well I'm going to call that guy up and ask him if you said that. You know that you are under oath here?"

Bloom: "I'm fully aware."

Burton: "You made no comment like that at all?"

Bloom: "No, sir."

Now lawmakers are asking Bloom to clarify his remarks.

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Burton wrote a letter to Bloom stating: "It appears that either a respected reporter and your former boss in the Obama Administration have both given inaccurate accounts of your comments to the public, or your testimony was not completely truthful."

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