Bloggers Joey Smith, Doug Ross and others have uncovered the fact that 90% of the owners of these dealerships gave money to Republican candidates and causes, while only $450 was donated to Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
There are many instances of dealers who either gave to Republicans or did not donate anything at all being shut down, while another local dealer who had connections to the Democrats was the only dealership in the area chosen to avoid closure.
In particular, Joey Smith discovered two franchises who were chosen over their competitors in their markets: RLJ-McLarty-Landers and Lithia Motors. Thomas McLarty of the RLJ group was Bill Clinton's Chier-of-Staff, and Robert Johnson (also of RLJ) founded Black Entertainment Television; both donated and campaign heavily for Obama and other Democrats.
RLJ-McLarty-Landers has six dealerships, and all six will not be shut down. All other dealers in the area were closed. Lithia Motors has 29 dealerships; two will close, but they may gain five new franchises.
A lawyer for Chrysler dealers facing closure as part of the automaker's bankruptcy reorganization said on Tuesday he believes Chrysler executives do not support a plan to eliminate a quarter of its retail outlets.Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner points out the following:
Lawyer Leonard Bellavia, of Bellavia Gentile & Associates, who represents some of the terminated dealers, said he deposed Chrysler President Jim Press on Tuesday and came away with the impression that Press did not support the plan.
"It became clear to us that Chrysler does not see the wisdom of terminating 25 percent of its dealers," Bellavia said. "It really wasn't Chrysler's decision. They are under enormous pressure from the President's automotive task force."
Stay tuned for more updates on 'Dealergate'
UPDATE II: White House car czar married to Democratic fund raiserMaybe it's significant, maybe not, but a colleague here in the Examiner newsroom just reminded me that White House car czar Steven Rattner is married to Maureen White, the former national finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee. And let's not forget that before Rattner became a Wall Street mover and shaker, he was a New York Times reporter. Check out the Wiki bio here.