Issa: Government "Absolutely" at Fault in Toyota Mess

(CBS)
Rep. Darrell Issa said the U.S. government "absolutely" shares the blame for Toyota's safety issues that are linked to 34 deaths and spurred the recall of 8.5 million vehicles worldwide.

"There's no question that they [the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration] are guilty of welcoming in its revolving door former [auto company] employees and case after case abandoning investigations they already decided had some merit," Issa, R-Calif., said on CBS' "The Early Show" Wednesday.

Issa is a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which will hear testimony Wednesday from Toyota's CEO, Akio Toyoda.

Read Akio Toyoda's Prepared Remarks for Congress

Issa also cautioned fellow lawmakers and government officials not to base their treatment of Toyota on the government's majority stake in General Motors, one of their prime competitors.

"I believe that we have to really push back on the tendency to support an American brand, American unions and American tax dollars invested in General Motors," Issa said. "To do the right thing we have to admit that Toyota is simply the anecdotal example today. This isn't the first recall that was too long in coming in the auto industry and unless we make changes, it won't be the last."

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith noted that some in Congress can be scrutinized for potential conflicts of interest, particularly those with ties to the auto industry. Issa was the CEO of Directed Electronics, a California-based manufacturer of automobile security products.

"Well, I think anyone who has ever been a first- or second-tier supplier to the auto companies … want to see things straightened out in the auto companies. Although we made our livings from them, we're very aware of the shortcomings in Detroit, and in this case Japan," Issa responded.

More on Toyota at CBSNews.com:
CBS News Exclusive: Toyota Study Disputes Acceleration Problem
Toyota's Recall Success No Sure Bet
Toyota Has Donated to Investigating Reps.
Toyota Victim Recounts "Near Death" Trip
Issa: Toyota Hearings Will Be Fair
Are Electromagnetic Fields to Blame?
  • Daniel Carty

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