By Patricia Lee Sharpe
Like most everyone else I chortled as the U.S. car company executives squirmingly confessed to Congress that they’d made their brazen begging missions to Washington on individual corporate jets. You might say, they’d stubbed their well-shod toes rather badly.
Like everyone else I didn’t exactly fall for the hang dog contrition act when the Detroit suits left Washington, begging cups empty, promising to come back with detailed plans for bailout-worthy car production. (Hint: not the promise of a high-powered $40-50,000 hybrid jobbie to tempt the still super rich in 2010!)
However, I missed GM’s very sneaky next act, most likely because it took place while I (and many of you, probably) were caught up in preps for a long Thanksgiving weekend with our families and friends, some of us thankful for a semblance of solvency, others trying to be glad to be alive despite lost jobs and homes.
It seems that GM management quickly came up with at least one plan. Or should I say scheme? You see, assuming the FAA cooperates with a quickly-filed GM request, the next time the chief executive swoops into town on a comfy company jet, Congress (and we taxpayers) will be in the dark about it. It will be a stealth flight, all but invisible, unless someone submits an instant Freedom of Information Act request based on a corporate or bureaucratic leak. Thus, reported BBC at on November 28, the Friday after Turkey Day, “General Motors has asked the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) not to allow tracking of its private jets.”