NLPC: GM Buying PR, Awards For CEO Mary Barra
Since becoming General Motors CEO last January, Mary Barra has netted a few awards for herself, something the National Legal Policy Center sees troubling.
According to Autoblog, the organization believes the numerous awards bestowed upon Barra are a sign that the automaker is buying positive publicity amid its long slog through 2014 after the recalls began in February.
Of note are the awards where GM made a monetary contribution — either through underwriting or donations — to the organizations and events where such things were to occur, like the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s “The Appeal of Conscience” award bestowed upon Barra in 2014 for “encouraging a standard in which corporate America and global corporations accept responsibility.” There, GM paid $100,000 to underwrite the event, which occurred months after the automaker was taken to the woodshed over its handling of events that led to the February 2014 ignition recall crisis.
Should said contributions be linked to the awards won that year, the NLPC says both the automaker and the charities benefiting from GM’s contributions would find themselves in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Per president Peter Flaherty:
If the campaign is designed not only to enhance GM’s image with the public, but also to strengthen Ms. Barra’s position within the company, it is inappropriate because it is being conducted with corporate assets.
Flaherty hopes GM will disclose their charitable given voluntarily, but if not, he says his organization will file a shareholder resolution to force the issue during the automaker’s annual meeting in June.
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