or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Letter To The Honorable Timothy Geithner, Secretary, Unitled States Department Of The Treasury and Dr. Larry Summers, Director, National Economic Council

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Garrett Expresses Concerns Auto Dealership Closures

Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) demands greater transparency about auto dealership closures from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, National Economic Council Director Larry Summers and the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry.

As a result of reports that the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry pressured Chrysler and General Motors to downsize their dealer networks, Garrett is demanding answers about the methodology used to make decisions.

The dealership closures "represent the direct loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to local economies," Garrett states in his letter. "They affect young dealerships and old, small towns and large cities, red states and blue states. The Chrysler closings alone include four dealerships in my Northern New Jersey district: Jeep Eagle 17 in Paramus, Westwood Chrysler Jeep, Tenafly Chrysler Jeep, and Wyckoff Chrysler Jeep. Though the full list of GM dealer closings has not been revealed, I know several hundred more of my constituents may soon find themselves unemployed."

Garrett has been a strong fighter for the free market and against the government interference in the auto industry, and wrote a letter to President George W. Bush in December expressing concern over the possibility of funding from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) being used to bail out the auto manufacturers. He also warned that opening the door to government action in these companies would set a dangerous precedent of government interference in the marketplace.

The text of the Geithner-Summers letter is included below.

June 16, 2009

The Hon. Timothy Geithner
Secretary
United States Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20220

Dr. Larry Summers
Director, National Economic Council
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Messrs. Geithner and Summers,

This week, approximately 25% of Chrysler's domestic dealerships closed their doors for the final time. In the coming months, over 1,100 General Motors dealerships will meet a similar fate. These closures represent the direct loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to local economies. They affect young dealerships and old, small towns and large cities, red states and blue states. The Chrysler closings alone include four dealerships in my Northern New Jersey district: Jeep Eagle 17 in Paramus, Westwood Chrysler Jeep, Tenafly Chrysler Jeep, and Wyckoff Chrysler Jeep. Though the full list of GM dealer closings has not been revealed, I know several hundred more of my constituents may soon find themselves unemployed.

Immediately following the dealership closings, reports surfaced that the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and other members of the Administration placed pressure on Chrysler and GM to downsize their dealer networks. Leonard Bellavia, an attorney representing some of the terminated dealerships, said that, in deposing Chrysler President Jim Press, it became clear that this "really wasn't Chrysler's decision. They are under enormous pressure from the President's Automotive Task Force." It is unclear if these reports are accurate, and, if they are, to what extent the White House or the Auto Task Force influenced Chrysler and GM's decisions.

I would like to know two things: 1) Did the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry place pressure on Chrysler and General Motors to downsize its dealer network, and 2) What role, if any, did the Task Force play in deciding which dealers to close? Additionally, if the Task Force did not recommend which dealers to close, did it have a say in how many dealers to close or when to close them? Even if the Task Force did not directly order the dealership closings or choose which locations to discontinue, the people have a right to know if the administration exerted any kind of pressure on the companies to reduce its dealerships, as Mr. Bellavia claims.

Serious questions remain as to the what methodology was used to decide which dealers should close. Some of the dealers that closed in my district, for example were highly rated and high-performing. I ask that information about the methodology be shared with those dealers as quickly as possible.

I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to working with you in the future to ensure that this crisis is addressed effectively and in accordance with democratic principles. If I can be of further assistance, do not hesitate to contact myself or my Senior Legislative Assistant, Matthew Turkstra, at (202) 225-4465.

Sincerely,

Scott Garrett
Member of Congress

CC: Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry
United States Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20220


Source:
Back to top