The Virginia General Assembly is well known nationwide for how badly they can mess things up and make themselves public laughingstocks (abuser fees, anyone?). Well, it appears they are at it again- on an even bigger scale- this time jeopardizing the entire $25,000,000,000 (BILLION) national auto bailout.
SB1410 doesn't look that harmful on its face. But dive into the bill, and you will be shocked at what one "Republican" is proposing to do to the free market. Basically, the bill requires that if an auto manufacturer decides to stop producing a line of cars, they are required to buy back all of the unsold inventory that dealers have. This bill eliminates all risk for auto dealers- and puts the entire risk on the manufacturers. Why would anyone want to make any business totally risk free? This makes no sense.
So, why introduce this bill now in 2009? That answer is easy. Car makers just received $25,000,000,000 (BILLION) in cash from the federal government. The point of this cash outlay was to give them time to reorganize without declaring bankruptcy (i.e. possibly eliminate some lines of under-performing brands). So this bill is basically a money transfer from the auto makers to the auto dealers should a line of cars be done away with. If every state did this, the entire federal auto bailout would go to car dealerships instead of the manufacturers!! But worst of all IT IS YOUR MONEY that went to the manufactures to save the industry that Norment is trying to grab!!! Will Congress have to pass a SECOND AUTO BAILOUT because greedy state leaders stole the federal cash they got to the manufacturers?
This legislation just stormed through the Senate 40-0 as no one apparently realized what a big deal this was. Why is Tommy Norment so interested in this issue? As Jeff Schapiro points out today- he is an auto dealer- and would directly benefit from the cash outlay in this bill. Norment is literally appropriating money to himself through this new law. You can even see here where Norment lists his ownership of Grafton Dodge on his old website.
This should be (and might already be) criminal. Tommy Norment is not only voting for- but he is sponsoring a bill that would directly result in his own enrichment. What makes it worse is the money he is taking is FEDERAL TAXPAYER FUNDS that have been given to auto manufacturers in efforts to save the industry.
The FBI ought to come frog-march this SOB out of the Senate and into an orange jumpsuit in a federal prison where the other people who are caught defrauding the government go.