WASHINGTON -- With the General Motors scandal as a backdrop, Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) has signed onto a bill that could send executives to jail for up to five years if they conceal information about their products’ known dangers.
“What this legislation will do, among other things, is to impose a measure of accountability which we shouldn’t have to impose,” Casey said at a Wednesday news conference. “The reason for this is very simple: someone has knowledge of a defect or a problem, and that knowledge is not followed by action.”
Casey, a co-sponsor, unveiled the bill alongside Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), the measure’s original sponsor. Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) is also a co-sponsor.
Casey said G.M. is the most prominent recent example of a company withholding information about danger (it knew about a potentially deadly ignition switch defect for years but took no action), but he and Blumenthal cited Toyota and Vioxx – the pain relief drug made by Merck -- as other examples among many.