• Thousands of car accident victims were left behind by the massive government bailouts of GM and Chrysler. The $50 billion rescue of GM and the restructuring of Chrysler allowed them to "wash away legal responsibility for car-accident victims who had won damages or had pending lawsuits," reports the Wall Street Journal. Such victims have waged a struggle for years and their website tracks updates on cases, as well as new complaints, recalls and investigations into the two auto giants. Back in 2009, some of the victims, including Chrysler-defect-injury survivor Jeremy Warriner, brought their wheelchairs to the steps of Capitol Hill to push a bill that would require automakers to purchase liability insurance if they are owned by the federal government or have federal loans. The Jeremy Warriner Consumer Protection Act of 2009 died in committee in the summer of that year.
• Must-read story of the day: Doctors hired to evaluate kids in Florida's juvenile jails have taken huge payments from drug companies. The Palm Beach Post reports:
The psychiatrists were hired by a state juvenile justice system that has plied kids with heavy doses of the powerful medications, and the physicians have prescribed anti¬psychotics even before they were approved by federal regulators as safe for children. One in three of the psychiatrists who have contracted with the state Department of Juvenile Justice in the past five years has taken speaker fees or gifts from companies that make antipsychotic medications, a Palm Beach Post investigation has found.
• Revolving door chronicles: Ed O'Hare, former assistant commissioner of the General Services Administration, is joining Koniag Development Corp. KDC is a subsidiary of Alaska Native Corporation, which has been a major recipient of federal contracts, some of which have aroused Senate scrutiny. (h/t POGO's Morning Smoke)
• The popular stop-smoking drug Chantix has been tied to hundreds of suicides, but that information was left out of a crucial government safety review because Pfizer submitted years of data through "improper channels," reports MSNBC.com.
Some 150 suicides — more than doubling those previously known — were among 589 delayed reports of severe issues turned up in a new analysis by the non-profit Institute for Safe Medication Practices. “We’ve had a major breakdown in safety surveillance,” said Thomas J. Moore, the ISMP senior scientist who analyzed the data. The serious problems — including reports of completed suicides, suicide attempts, aggression and hostility and depression — had been mixed among some 26,000 records of non-serious side effects such as nausea and rashes, with some dating back to 2006, the year Chantix, or varenicline, was approved.
• The Securities and Exchange Commission broke the law when it spent about $1 million buying computer equipment from Apple that "immediately failed" to work. The agency awarded the contract without competitive bidding, declined an offer to try the untested equipment for free and relied on the salesman's pitch rather than doing its own engineering analysis, according to the SEC Inspector General.
• Don't buy any of the products on this list -- according to the Department of Labor, they were produced with forced or indentured child labor. They run the gamut from bamboo from Burma to toys from China. Some industry groups, including the Apparel Export Promotion Council, have objected to the inclusion of certain products on the list.
• The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's recent consent order with Ally Bank notes how the bank's subsidiaries, such as GMAC Mortgage, made numerous mistakes in foreclosing on homes -- for example, claiming ownership of the mortgage note, amount of principal and interest due, etc. "when, in many cases, they were not based on such knowledge or review." Part of the order states:
Within 60 days of this Order, the boards of directors of Ally Financial and ResCap, for itself and on behalf of the Mortgage Servicing Companies shall submit to the Reserve Bank an acceptable written plan to strengthen the boards’ oversight of the Mortgage Servicing Companies, including the boards’ oversight of risk management, internal audit, and compliance programs concerning residential mortgage loan servicing, Loss Mitigation, and foreclosure activities conducted by the Mortgage Servicing Companies. The plan shall also describe the actions that the boards of directors will take to improve the Mortgage Servicing Companies’ residential mortgage loan servicing, Loss Mitigation, and foreclosure activities and operations, and a timeline for actions to be taken.
• And as a warning to Memorial Day merrymakers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issues a sobering release that notes at least 62 people may have died in ATV-related accidents between March 1 and May 23.