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Mr. Speaker, just south of Houston, there is a town called Alvin, Texas, where a Chrysler dealership called Rogers Dodge is making a lot of money selling Chryslers; but on June 9, they are going to close down because the auto task force gang has notified them that they have to close.
Rogers Dodge is on the list of 789 Chrysler dealerships around the country that are being closed down under questionable circumstances. There are five in the Houston area alone. The question remains: What are the criteria for closing down these dealerships?
The auto task force gang picks winners and losers, but they refuse to tell America how those decisions are made. Well, neither they nor the administration is talking. The blissful silence makes us wonder what's going on. Some of these Chrysler dealerships being ordered to close are profitable--others are not--but according to some news reports, there's one thing they all have in common except for one single exception found so far: they all have connections in some manner to making campaign contributions to Republicans.
Chrysler, an American institution, is no longer being run as a private-sector company. It has been taken over by the auto task force tyrants appointed personally by the administration. These individuals tell Chrysler what to do, and they have to do it because Chrysler took all that bailout money before they went into bankruptcy. Now the auto task force gang gets to run the company.
By the way, Mr. Speaker, we still don't know where that wasted bailout money went.
According to the Federal Election Commission Web site, there are reporters and bloggers around the country who have been digging through lists of donations. They have been comparing donor names on the lists with the names of owners of the Chrysler dealerships that have been forced to close. Some of these reports say that campaign contributions went to GOP candidates or to political action committees from the Chrysler dealerships that are being forcibly shut down.
Did this group of auto task force individuals discriminate against Republican dealerships in Chrysler-style or in Chicago-style paybacks? We don't know. How in the world can we square that with the reports that only one dealership being ordered to close down so far contributed to the administration's campaign--and that was only for $200? Campaign contributions appear to be the common thread in all of these ordered closures. That's some coincidence.
Rogers Dodge in Alvin, Texas, is one of the more profitable dealerships. Newspaper reports say they have increased their new car sales by 50 percent in just the last 4 months. That's a big accomplishment in this economy. They paid cash for their brand-new $3.7 million building 3 years ago. Along with many other dealerships, they bought millions of dollars of inventory after being pressured by Chrysler to help the company's financial situation so that Chrysler wouldn't go bankrupt. Now all of these assets paid for by these dealerships will be worth mere pennies on the dollar. One report in the Houston Chronicle said this inventory of cars that the dealerships were pressured to buy now will have to be sold as used cars. Some of these dealerships are fighting back against the Auto Task Force with a lawsuit of their own. According to the Houston Chronicle article, Nicholas Parks, the president of Rogers Dodge and a lawyer, says he's fighting the closure because he doesn't think the bankruptcy court should be used to close these vendors, especially those that are making money. How can you use the bankruptcy laws to shut down a vendor who is making a profit for Chrysler? This is very interesting. The American people are starting to ask a few questions on their own.
Are these Auto Task Force tyrants picking the winners and losers based on campaign contributions? Does the administration have a Nixon-style enemies list? All these questions because the Auto Task Force guys aren't talking and aren't telling us why they closed down certain dealerships and why they let others remain open.
We are now living in a time where the government controls both Chrysler and GM, which we should call Government Motors. And the government alone, not the free market, decides who wins, who loses, who stays in business and who must be forcibly closed down. Meanwhile, 100,000-plus Chrysler workers at auto dealerships who did nothing wrong will be out of work on June 9 thanks to government control. So much for the promise of new jobs.
And that's just the way it is.
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