Senate panel examining role of GM legal department

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CEO of General Motors is expected to get pointed questions today at a Senate hearing looking into how a known defect remained hidden from the public for 11 years.

Mary Barra will likely be asked by the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection about how she's changing the corporate culture that allowed defective ignition switches to go unchecked.

But Senators may focus even more closely on GM General Counsel Michael Millikin as they seek to establish what role the company's legal department played in the mishandled recall.

Lawmakers may also question former federal prosecutor Anton Valukas, who led GM's internal investigation, about that report's conclusion that a lone engineer was able to approve the defective ignition switch and order a change years later without any senior executives at GM being aware.

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