Welcome To The Banana Republic: GM In Hot Water With FTC Over Misleading "Repaid Bailout" Ad When All Just TARP Shuffle

We are too busy maxing out our credit cards buying AAPL shares after hours into the parabolic blow out (using Sigma X of course, how else could we subpenny front run our own orders?), stacks of Kindles, 7th vacation homes with negative equity, and LBOing zero EBITDA companies to comment on this, suffice to say that if you ever needed confirmation that America is a banana republic in which fraud, corruption and lies are now the norm, here you go: Government Motors is now blatantly lying to its existing and future buyers, and everyone in the administration is complicit.

From Fox News:

General Motors is running ads on all the major networks this week claiming it has repaid its bailout from the taxpayers "in full." But the claim isn't standing up to scrutiny from lawmakers and government watchdogs who have found that the automaker was able to repay the bailout money only by dipping into a separate pot of bailout funds.

Uhm, what's wrong with that? That's precisely the reason why the market is now on for an 8th straight up week. In order to make the rich infinitely rich (before there is revolution, hyperinflation or dollar devaluation), the Obama people must resort to anything and everything.

General Motors is running ads on all the major networks this week claiming it has repaid its bailout from the taxpayers "in full." But the claim isn't standing up to scrutiny from lawmakers and government watchdogs who have found that the automaker was able to repay the bailout money only by dipping into a separate pot of bailout funds.

The TV spot may land GM in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission over its truth-in-advertising laws, which prohibit ads that are "likely to mislead consumers."

"We have repaid our government loans in full — with interest — five years ahead of the original schedule," says Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO of General Motors Company, asking Americans to give the bankrupt company another look.

But a top Senate Republican has accused GM of misleading taxpayers about the loan repayment, saying the struggling auto giant was able to repay a $6.7 billion bailout loan only by using other bailout funds in a special escrow account.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley's charge was backed up by the inspector general for the bailout — also known as the Trouble Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Watchdog Neil Barofsky told Fox News, as well as the Senate Finance Committee, that General Motors used bailout money to pay back the federal government.

"It appears to be nothing more than an elaborate TARP money shuffle," Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a letter Thursday to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

You Decide: Did GM Try to Pull a PR Fast One?

The FTC said it could not provide any comment on the ad or whether it had received any complaints or inquiries about GM's claims from the public or from government officials.

The FTC has a division of advertising practices that investigates possible false claims, but specific investigations are not made public. If the FTC determines that truth-in-advertising laws have been violated, the agency files complaints against the organizations in violation.

GM announced Wednesday that it had paid back the $8.1 billion in loans it received from the U.S. and Canadian governments in 2009. Of that, $6.7 billion went to the U.S. Treasury.

Again. Banana. Now go ahead and buy whatever you can. The administration will soon make it illegal to not be in debt. Might as well have a head start.

h/t Donald