Trump’s $3 Million Gift to Harley Davidson is Super Scary

Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) under President Trump dropped a requirement that Harley-Davidson pay $3 million to help combat air pollution as part of a settlement the Obama administration announced last August that would have seen HD enter into a limited partnership with the American Lung Association to help clean air pollution. It seems now, however, that said partnership isn’t happening.


Trump Effectively Gifts H-D $3 Million

The $3 million fine-that’s-not-a-fine was part of a larger, $15 million fine that Harley Davidson earned through the sales of Screaming Eagle high-performance exhaust parts and “super tuners” that re-map the bikes’ engine software. Harley Davidson were only able to get these parts EPA certified by falsifying the resulting emissions levels of bikes they’d been fitted to- but that’s not what the DOJ is taking issue with. The DOJ announcement reads. “The original consent decree would have required defendants to pay a non-governmental third-party organization to carry out the mitigation project. Questions exist as to whether this mitigation project is consistent with the new policy.”

So, yeah- it would seem that Trump’s DOJ has a problem with the American Lung Association and, presumably, that organization’s pesky desire to make sure you can breathe the air around you without, you know, dying. And, if you think I’m being too reactionary, take a listen to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ own words, as he argues that, “When the federal government settles a case against a corporate wrongdoer, any settlement funds should go first to the victims and then to the American people- not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends of whoever is in power.”

You read that right, kids. That dim-witted Keebler-elf-lookin’ motherf***er Sessions actually called the American Lung Association a “special interest group”. Which, I mean- you can’t fault him there, really. If we’re only trying to look out for people with lungs, then who will look out for the mer-people!? I know I’ve been really worried about the mermaids and mermen and mer-whatever a gender-queer merperson may decide to identify as. I’m sure you’ve been concerned, as well.

Even so, this Trump administration reversal of an Obama administration Justice Department ruling on vehicle emissions fines could have much bigger implications than a $3 million fine from Harley Davidson. Just ask Volkswagen, whose lawyers are, no doubt, already looking at ways to apply this reversal to their own multi-billion dollar fines from diesel emissions cheating that continues to have serious fallout for the company. Companies like Mercedes-Benz and Fiat-Chrysler are probably anxious to see how they can weasel out of the fines coming their way, as well.

This move sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the EPA. Probably. What do you guys think? Is this just more spin from the reality TV-star-in-chief, or am I on to something? Let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom or the page.


Source | Images: Atlanta Journal, via Reuters.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.