Delphi pension fund issue frustrates lawmakers

Michael P. Tremoglie Jul. 12, 2012, 9:36am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A House subcommittee chairman has expressed indignation at the refusal of officials to meet with the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program about the treatment of Delphi pensions.

House Oversight and Government Reform's Subcommittee on TARP Financial Services, and Bailouts of Public and Private Programs held a hearing Tuesday without three former administration officials.

"It's clear from their attitude that they have no interest in telling what happened," U.S. Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, told The Detroit News.

"We want to get the pension restored. We believe what they did was wrong and we want to prove it."

The hearing came after Turner sent U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa a letter requesting a hearing with testimony from those within the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation who were responsible for approximately 20,000 salaried Delphi retirees from across the country taking a severe cut in their pension benefits.

Turner's letter requested that three former Auto Task Force members - who have refused to meet with the TARP Special Inspector General Christy Romero - be compelled to testify.

These former Obama-appointed officials have avoided providing answers sought by taxpayers and Congress. Investigators were unable to interview former Auto Task Force chief Ron Bloom, legal adviser Matthew Feldman and member Harry Wilson about the Delphi pensions and GM's pension payment policy.

The officials committed to meeting with Romero at some time within the next two months. It is Romero's belief that they were involved with the decision to terminate the Delphi pensions.

Meanwhile, another House Oversight Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Patrick Henry, R-N.C., heard from Romero about the pension issue, the bailout executives' lack of cooperation and, in general, the status of the bailout for recouping taxpayer funds.

Romero's inquiry will try to determine whether the White House and Treasury Department influenced GM to favor certain ailing union pension plans at troubled auto-parts maker Delphi Corp, while nonunion employees received reduced benefits as a result of the supplier's bankruptcy.

This policy was in effect before the bailout. GM and Delphi had made this arrangement in 1999. The officials said that it was appropriate to continue the policy after the bankruptcy.

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