After taking an oath at a House of Representatives panel, Barra kicked off the contentious hearing by declaring, "I am deeply sorry" for the company's failure to respond quickly to the safety problem and subsequent deaths. The questioning became contentious at times but it did not appear to rattle the GM chief executive, who rose to her current job in January. Still, during a nearly three-hour appearance on Capitol Hill, Barra testified again and again that GM had taken steps to prevent future safety problems from occurring. She labored to remind lawmakers that the so-called "new GM" she heads was nothing like the "old GM" that failed to deal with faulty ignition switches for more than a decade.
By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - Stung by a string of corruption charges against state lawmakers, California Democrats on Tuesday canceled a golf fundraiser that costs as much as $65,000 per foursome, saying it was time to re-evaluate the relationship between governing and raising money. Three members of the state senate, all Democrats, have faced criminal charges since January in separate cases involving bribery, voter fraud and weapons trafficking in a series of scandals with immediate political implications in an election year. "These are unprecedented times and they demand that we take a step back and take stock of how we all do the people's business and balance it against the demands of running for office," the legislature's top Democratic senators, Darrell Steinberg and Kevin de Leon, said in a joint statement. The party, which dominates both houses of the legislature and holds all statewide offices, effectively lost its precious two-thirds majority in the senate last month, when Ron Calderon, indicted on corruption charges, and Roderick Wright, convicted of lying about living in the district he sought to represent, were placed on paid leaves of absence.