Newly uncovered internal documents between the Treasury Department and the federal agency in charge of private-sector pension benefits reveal that the Obama Administration was directly involved in the elimination of pension benefits for 20,000 retired salaried workers of GM supplier Delphi Corp., a claim it previously denied.
The revelation, says GOP Vice Presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), should make Ohioans and others think twice about buying President Obama’s claim that he saved the American auto industry.
“You see, the president likes to go around Ohio talking about how he saved the auto industry, how the auto bailout was such a success,” said Ryan to an Ohio audience. “He hasn’t talked to these Ohio Delphi salaried employees. Because this is one of those examples of the government picking winners and losers.”
At issue is whether the federal agency tasked with handling private-sector benefits, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), actively conspired with the Treasury Department to protect unionized employees while slashing the pensions of non-unionized Delphi retirees between 30 and 70 percent, as well as cutting healthcare, life insurance, and other benefits.
The Obama Administration originally pointed the finger at the PBGC, but new internal emails uncovered by the Daily Caller demonstrate clear coordination between the Obama Administration and those it now blames for gutting the pensions of 20,000 non-union employees. Specifically, a July 2009 document titled “Treasury Talking Points re: Delphi” was sent as an attachment to a July 7, 2009, email from PBGC’s Joseph House to Treasury’s Matthew Feldman, Oren Haker and Paul Nathanson.
The Daily Caller also published additional email exchanges that it says contradict prior testimony by Treasury officials:
These emails contradict July 2012 congressional testimony Feldman gave during an investigation by the subcommittee on TARP, Financial Services and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs.
“As a result of the Delphi Corporation bankruptcy, for example, Delphi and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation were forced to terminate Delphi’s pension plans,” Feldman told Congress. “Which means there are Delphi retirees who unfortunately will collect less than their full pension benefits.”
“The decision that the PBGC made with respect to the pensions,” Feldman continued in his testimony, “was independent of anything that Treasury or I had to say to the PBGC. … “I was not a decision-maker.”
After the Treasury Department stonewalled three congressional committees seeking answers to the growing scandal, all three have now threatened Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner with subpoenas.
“The administration should stop stonewalling and start turning over all of the information requested by Congress at once,” said Boehner. “If the White House is going to boast about its auto bailout, it has an obligation to explain its involvement.”
A nonprofit organization representing the Delphi salaried employees, the Delphi Salaried Retiree Association, says it will continue to fight “to restore the full pensions we earned and are entitled to, including any supplement and complete reimbursement of the amounts our pensions have been reduced. The pension treatment we received in the Federal Government’s GM bankruptcy was unjust, unfair, and inequitable.”