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For over a decade, GM's legal department quietly worked to contain the damage of defective ignition switches. On Capitol Hill Thursday the man who has overseen GM's legal team will be asked to explain why his staff settled cases involving a faulty part but never brought the issue to senior management for further investigation. Michael Millikin, GM's General Counsel, will testify before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection on how the automaker handled lawsuits involving the faulty part. In many cases, GM reached settlements that were sealed. Keeping settlements sealed is a common tactic in corporate America, but with GM failing to disclose defective ignition switches, many are asking if the automaker's legal team contributed to a cover up. "I intend to ask why these settlements are being kept secret and demand GM make them pubic," said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. With GM facing a slew of lawsuits, Millikin may decline to give specifics. In his prepared remarks before he is questioned, Millikin will tell Senators he didn't know about the ignition switch issue until February, shortly before GM announced a recall of 1.3 million vehicles.
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-- By CNBC Transportation Correspondent Phil LeBeau