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GM Resumes Political Giving

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The recipients may (not) surprise you.

Antonia Kraus begins a test drive of the new Chevrolet Volt Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010, outside the state Capitol building in Lansing, Mich. (AP)

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that General Motors Co. has once again started to contribute to political campaigns, marking the end of a once self-imposed ban on political spending.  The automobile manufacturer accepted taxpayer dollars last year to help finance bankruptcy restructuring and remains majority-owned by the U.S. government.  GM plans to return to public trading next year, allowing the U.S. to begin unloading its 61 percent share of the company.

In the meantime, however, GM spokesman Greg Martin defended the company's political donations despite a potential conflict of interest.  "As we've emerged as a new company, we're not going to sit on the sidelines as our competitors and other industries who have PACs are participating in the political process," Martin told the Wall Street Journal.  GM's political action committee, he said, is "an effective means for our employees to pool their resources and have their collective voice heard."

In deciding what criteria the company should use to determine which candidates should receive contributions to their campaigns, Martin said the company supported candidates who "approach issues thoughtfully" and "support a strong auto industry."

So far, the company's $90,500 in political contributions have favored mostly Midwestern Democratic candidates, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich.  The list also included House Republican Whip Erick Cantor.

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