Luxury jets flew pleading execs to Capitol

Nov. 19, 2008 at 3:25 PM
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DETROIT, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Private jets ferrying U.S. auto executives to Washington to ask for a federal bailout were a "slap in the face" to taxpayers, a watchdog group's president said.

"To come to Washington on a corporate jet, and asking for a hand out is outrageous," said Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste, ABC News reported Wednesday.

"This is a slap in the face of taxpayers," he said.

Rick Wagoner, chief Executive officer of General Motors Corp., used one of the company's eight luxury jets, a $36 million aircraft, to travel to a hearing in Washington Tuesday. At the hearing, Wagoner told the Senate Banking Committee GM could run out of cash by the end of the year.

With cash reserves dwindling, Wagoner said the automaker needed about $12 billion from the government. "We can't do it alone," Wagoner said.

Ford also maintains a fleet of eight private jets, one of which ferried Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally to Washington for Tuesday's hearing. Corporate aircraft also took care of Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli's commute to Washington.

"Now's not the time to do that sort of thing," said John McElroy, a commentator for "Autoline Detroit."

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