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Dealergate 8: Look who’s concerned now

House Dems follow RedState in asking why top dealers were closed.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Daniel Maffei, in a letter today to President Barack Obama, expressed their “growing concern” over the closings of GM and Chrysler dealerships. Moreover, the three congressional Democrats say they want to hear a “compelling justification” how closing healthy dealerships will improve the ailing automakers’ fiscal situation. The three were asking their Capitol Hill colleagues to sign their letter today.

The full text of the letter is posted at Politico.com, but we have singled out some excepts that are quite revealing:

“We are writing to express our concerns about General Motors’ and Chrysler’s decision to close profitable automobile dealerships across the country, and urge you to ask GM and Chrysler to delay final action on proposed closures pending further review of the decision to consolidate dealerships and the process by which Chrysler and GM selected the dealerships to close.”

As RedState.com, some of our new media colleagues and the dealers themselves have been saying, it makes no sense to put some of your best dealers out of business. Many of the dealerships being closed are among the cream of the crop in terms of profitability, sales volume, customer satisfaction and other key criteria the companies insist determined which franchises made the cut. Now, some top House Democrats are saying the same thing.

In the second paragraph of the letter, the congressmen state:

“We also question the criteria being used to determine which dealerships should be closed and the fundamental fairness involved in this effort.”

As have we, though we see some different motivations behind the selection process used to pare down the dealer networks:

“…we are concerned that manufacturers are closing profitable dealerships to circumvent current contracts which could require expensive buy-outs under normal conditions. We are also concerned about allegations that dealers that have previously stood up for their rights against the manufacturers are being targeted by these closures.”

We can’t help but fundamentally disagree with these three Democrats, however, on what they believe will be a major step toward cleaning up this Dealergate mess:

“We believe that the forced closures of profitable dealerships needs to be scrutinized by the Task Force to prevent additional future financial loses to General Motors and Chrysler and job loses across the United States.”

No, Congressmen. The president’s task force is part of the problem, not the solution. You gentlemen, as representatives of the people, have the authority to launch a full congressional investigation into how Chrysler and GM dealers were targeted for closing. That’s your job, not that of President Obama’s auto task force. If you do not exercise some oversight and do it now, nothing about this broken process will be fixed.

- JP

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