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Toyota, Congress, campaign contributions

Our Readers Who Comment are damning or praising the fact that 32 lobbyists are working on behalf of Toyota and its unstoppable accelerating product problem as members of Congress who have accepted Toyota campaign contributions get ready to hold hearings.

It's an interesting string on a solid piece by Kimberly Kindy, Peter Whoriskey and Madonna Lebling. Some readers see the hearings as a Big Government plot to prop up "Obama Motors," a reference to government stakes that helped save Chrysler and General Motors. Others say the media is the blowing the issue out of proportion -- that all automakers have recalls.

Several damn members of Congress for taking campaign contributions and call for term limits. Meanwhile, those of us who drive Toyota products, myself included, would like to be assured that this problem has really been solved.

We'll start with Hazewski, who observed that "Toyota is not responsible for the legalized corruption in congress; congress is responsible for the rampant corruption it allows with the laws that it passes and the ethics codes it fails to enforce... Every single currently seated member of congress, democrat and republican should be booted out of office. Terms limits need to be revived and legislated without grandfathering any of the greybeards. That will go a long way to fixing the problem."

And top2dogs wrote, "If anyone needs a more explicit example of why Americans are disgusted with the laughable ensemble that is Congress, one need look no farther than this article... Congress needs to make very sure its addiction (and that is what it is) to contributions from Toyota do not derail legitimate attempts to investigate..."

douglaslbarber blamed the media in writing, "...Even reports of Toyota defects utterly unsubstantiated by evidence are given broad play in mainstream media. Are there problems? I have no doubt. I strongly suspect, however, that similar problems happening with similar frequency would be turned up in any scientific study of the way, say, 2008 model year American made cars operate..."

whizkidz1 wrote, "A $135K, hardly a drop in Big Pharma's bucket, not to mention the Insurance Industry, or the Military Industrial Complex. WaPo, why don't you just cut to the chase and declare Toyota is the Antichrist?"

And pgr88 said, "Obama's message to Private Industry - don't oppose us or we will use the power of the US Gov't to destroy you."

fenoy wrote, "No matter how hard the US government attacks Toyota I am not going to buy a car from Obama Motors. If American it will be a Ford, if foreign it will be Japanese or German."

hz9604 said, "Recalls happen all the time and many times with American automakers. This is Obama's personal vendetta against a non-union shop..."

edbyronadams wrote, "Now that the US owns GM, the legislators to whom Toyota must now appeal sit on the board of directors of GM. While turning a profit on the investment of the taxpayers is probably not a member's strong suit, they should be able to understand the concept of undercutting competitors in the market for automobiles and trucks."

jewishmother said, "...It's pretty dangerous that this country totally run on bribes. This means that the government OKs drugs, cars and other product that will kill us. The solution would be government funding of campaigns, but the politicians will not even consider such an idea..."

jeffc6578 wrote, "The idea that Toyota can't go to the hill without a team of lobbyists alone will keep me from considering another Toyota - forever."

npsilver said, "I really don't think that Toyota has been able to equal the abuses practiced by the US Big Three automakers who for years had a direct pipeline to the Congress. What I am interested in is if they intend to to see the actual investigations into problems with their products to a successful conclusion... I just hope that these issues are properly addressed and that situations like this are addressed quickly by NHTSA."

Tambopaxi wrote, "...Oh, and the families of all of those dead and injured Toyota drivers? Well, they can forget their complaints because all those accidents were clearly caused by their relatives neglecting to take the car rugs off of the accelerator rugs, as Senator Rockefeller no doubt will find soon..."

sandynh said, "Toyota's problems will be fixed when people stop buying them until they do. Secondly, Congress has no business interrogating, investigating or questioning anything Toyota does; since they are in an obvious conflict of interest - after all they do already own Chysler and GM."

Casey1 wrote, "For once, I don't think the auto companies' generosity to politicians and their PACs will make any difference... What we're getting is a show. Every politician on these committees will be able to show his/her constituents just how tough they are on corporations (a foreign one at that) without actually doing anything ... like quit taking their money or going to their house parties."

Lefty_ said, "Now that the activist right wing of the Supreme Court has overturned 100 years of precedent and allowed corporations to invest unlimited monies in elections, this will be that last time that Toyota will ever be called to accountability by Congress. Elected officials do not bit the hand that feeds them..."

We'll close with veloboldie, who wrote, "The best message we can send to Toyota is with our wallets. Stop buying their products until Toyota comes clean and fixes their quality problems. Ford, Chevy and Nissan should be exploiting this weakness at nauseaum."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  February 22, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
 | Tags: Congress, NHTSA, Toyota  
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Jack brosnan
Mortgage Deals

Posted by: jackbrosnan18 | February 23, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with everyone.
Jack brosnan
Mortgage Deals

Posted by: jackbrosnan18 | February 23, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

There is speculation that sudden acceleration in some Toyota model cars is due to some software glitch. Which company provided this software? Is it some company to which Toyota outsourced this for cheap labor? Which other auto companies use the service of THIS software company so that the consumers must be aware off.

Posted by: Ravikar | February 22, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Toyota has lied to their customers. They continually try to get around their problems while people continue to have accidents and some even die. They also tried to buy off the officials that must deal with it.
Where is the justice. Toyota needs to have criminal charges brought against them for their actions. Nothing less than that will do.
I hope that all Toyota customers will quickly go to Ford,GM and others and get rid of these toxic cars that put all of us on the road at risk.

Posted by: AZdave | February 22, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Politico reported a Toyota memo calling Obama's NHTSA 'Activist,' 'Aggressive.' Toyota also hates the lawyers at NHTSA whom Toyota feels has 'less understanding of engineering' issues. And they ain't too happy with that support Obama has been giving Detroit. And, as noted by Bloomberg, only Toyota actually hired former NHTSA employees to run interference. This is beyond a PR mess at this point. It looks like they've been trying to control our government. And all the blog posts their lobbyists try to get out aren't gonna work.

Posted by: kravitzkravitz | February 22, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

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