E-mails Show Geithner, Treasury Terminated Pensions of Non-Union Workers
In what may contradict testimony by Obama administration officials under oath and may be a violation of federal law, The Daily Caller obtained emails that show Timothy Geithner’s Treasury Department “was the driving force behind terminating the pensions of 20,000 salaried retirees at the Delphi auto parts manufacturing company,” and the move, according to The Daily Caller, “appears to have been made solely because those retirees were not members of labor unions.”
As The Daily Caller notes, “Under 29 U.S.C. §1342, the PBGC is the only government entity that is legally empowered to initiate termination of a pension or make any official movements toward doing so” and “the White House and Treasury Department have consistently maintained” the PBGC “independently made the decision to terminate the 20,000 non-union Delphi workers’ pension plan.”
These emails contradict sworn testimony by several Obama administration figures and is yet another example of Obama’s administration misleading lawmakers, the courts, and the public -- as they did with Obamacare -- when it came to these pension cuts.
On July 11, 2012, The Daily Caller notes, Matthew Feldman, the former Treasury Department official, testified before Congress that, "As a result of the Delphi Corporation bankruptcy ... Delphi and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation were forced to terminate Delphi's pension plans, which means there are Delphi retirees who unfortunately will collect less than their full pension benefits."
The e-mails show Treasury Department and White House officials working with PBGC officials, and e-mails from PBGC officials indicated they believed they needed "to clear decisions and action plans through senior administration officials."
In one series of e-mails, Joseph House, who was PBGC's Director of Insurance Supervision and Compliance official at the time the e-mails were sent in 2009, was in communication with Matthew Feldman, a member of Obama administration's auto task force.
As The Daily Caller found:
House wrote to Feldman on Thursday, April 16, 2009, that he wanted a “very brief follow-up” discussion to “ensure that we’re acting responsibly/protective” as they moved toward terminating the pensions of non-union Delphi workers.
“[W]e’ve initiated our internal process here,” House added, seeking Feldman’s agreement, “which includes communications to designated reps at our Board agencies (Labor, Commerce, Treasury). Relatedly, that process contemplates newspaper publication of agency action, which we’re tentatively scheduling for end of next week.”
“Don’t want anyone on the auto-team to be caught flat-footed behind any of this,” House added. “I can give you 60 seconds of color when you have a moment.”
Feldman responded: “Understood. You should do what you need to.”
Four days later, in another set of emails, the Daily Caller discovered Vince Snowbarger, who was the acting director of the PBGC at the time, sent internal e-mails to begin the process of enacting the pension cuts and indicated he had received the green light from Obama administration officials.
“The auto team at Treasury is aware of this potential and have indicated we should do what we need to do,” he wrote, according to the e-mails.
Another set of emails showed White House involvement.
“He [Feldman] reported that he has made progress discussing our proposal with a number of key folks in Treasury and at [the] White House, but he has not yet wrapped up his coordination,” House, the Treasury Department official at the time wrote. “He indicated that there is an 8 am call tomorrow that he’ll use to close the communication-loop, and he’s confident he’ll have a fully-vetted Treasury view after that call.”
Furthermore, PBGC’s John Menke wrote to Obama administration officials about needing to obtain a “rubber stamp” from Treasury Department officials.
According to The Daily Caller, Menke on July 14, 2009, sent an email (“Feldman will then take it to GM and get their approval, which will either be a rubber stamp or one last chance to nick us on the deal ...”) that indicated the pension cuts were being coordinated by the Treasury Department and the White House.
A Treasury Department Spokesman insisted to The Daily Caller in an e-mail that the pension plans were terminated by the PBGC and “not by Treasury.”
The e-mails are another instance of the Obama administration's deceit and their willingness to play Chicago-style politics in targeting those -- non-union workers, in this instance -- that do not offer them any political benefit or whose interests run contrary to those (unions, in this case) who support the administration's.