WASHINGTON — Rep. Dean Heller registered a complaint with the Treasury secretary on Monday over Chrysler’s decision to spend millions of dollars to air a commercial during the Super Bowl.
Heller, R-Nev., said the move seems “extravagant” in light of Chrysler’s acceptance of federal bailout funds. He asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to get the company to reconsider.
Chrysler is the only U.S. auto company to buy airtime during the Feb. 7 game between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, although how much it is spending has not been made clear.
The company has said it plans to air a 60-second ad to showcase the Dodge Charger. The more common 30-second spots are selling for between $2.5 million and $2.8 million, Heller told Geithner.
Chrysler was rescued by $12.5 billion in government infusions in 2008 and 2009, according to ProPublica, an independent nonprofit investigative journalism site that monitors the bailout.
As part of the deal, the Treasury Department took an 8 percent stake in the company as it worked its way through bankruptcy. Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy protection in June, after allying itself with Fiat.
About $280 million of Chrysler funding has been returned to the government, according to ProPublica.
Officials for Chrysler could not be reached Monday. A spokeswoman told CNN earlier this month the company saw the Super Bowl as a good opportunity.
The Treasury Department had no immediate comment.