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Car Czar: 'I Did it All for the Unions'?

"You know that you're under oath here?"

A Congressional oversight committee has asked Ron Bloom, White House advisor and former 'car czar,' to clarify his response to a question during a recent hearing. Bloom was asked whether he made the statement "I did it all for the unions" back in 2009 in the middle of the auto bailout controversy. He vehemently denied saying it.

The problem is, Bloom's denial contradicts two otherwise credible sources, including a book written by his car czar predecessor, Steve Rattner, and a published account in the Detroit News. Both claim that Bloom did in fact make the comment in question, though both accounts also agreed that it was made in jest.

Here is video from the June 22 Oversight hearing showing the exchange. Representative Burton clearly disbelieves Bloom's fervent denials:

And in this clip, we have a longer discussion that gives context to the Oversight hearing, and the reasons why saying I "did it all for the Unions" would be quite unfunny to a huge swath of the country. It seems not only did Bloom, as the Obama administration's car czar, take money from bondholders and hand it directly to the Unions -- the decision was also made to slash and burn salaried employee benefits while giving strangely deferential benefits to the Unions in the middle of a bankruptcy.

Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee,  is not letting this whole comment fiasco slide. He wants clarification and sent Bloom the following letter outlining his verbal exchange during the Committee:

Dear Mr. Bloom:

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee considers the veracity of witness testimony essential to conducting serious oversight of the federal government and how taxpayers’ dollars are spent.

We want to give you an opportunity to clarify a series of statements you made under oath before the Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending on June 22, 2011, if necessary. During that hearing, you had the following exchange with Representative Dan Burton:

Rep. Burton: 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.”

Mr. Bloom: No I did not say that.

Rep. Burton: You didn’t say that?

Mr. Bloom: No sir.

Rep. Burton: So, you were misquoted?

Mr. Bloom: That’s correct.

Rep. 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?

Mr. Bloom: I’m fully aware.

Rep. Burton: You made no comment like that at all?

Mr. Bloom: No sir.

Despite your five denials, two independent sources documented you saying these words. Davide Shepardson wrote in the Detroit News on November 24, 2009, that you said you “did this all for the unions.” Furthermore, Steven Rattner – your former boss at the Auto Task Force – wrote in Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry, that at a “celebratory dinner” at Rosa Mexicano on July 21, 2009, that you said “I did this all for the unions!”

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. Therefore, if you would like to amend or clarify your testimony for the record, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible.


Darryl Issa

Dan Burton

Jim Jordan

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