Investigators for the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform are asking the White House official who oversaw the government bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler whether he told the truth in recent testimony before the committee. Ron Bloom, Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy, is quoted in a 2009 newspaper account and a 2010 book saying of the auto bailouts that he “did this all for the unions.” But when Bloom appeared before the committee on June 22, he flatly denied ever saying those words. Other White House officials have reportedly defended Bloom by suggesting that he did indeed say those words but was joking. And that has led committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa to ask what is going on.
So the question is: Did Bloom say it, not say it, or did he say it and it was a joke? Bloom says he didn’t say it. But ABC News reports that a White House source is referring reporters to Rattner’s book, adding that Rattner “clearly writes that Bloom made the comment as a joke.”
Now Issa has written a letter to Bloom, giving him “an opportunity to clarify” his testimony to the committee. “Despite your five denials, two independent sources documented you saying these words,” Issa wrote. “It appears that either a respected reporter and your former boss in the Obama administration have both given inaccurate accounts of your comments to the public, or your testimony was not completely truthful. Therefore, if you would like to amend or clarify your testimony for the record, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible.”