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Did the Treasury Dept & White House Lie About Their Involvement in the Termination of Thousands Non-Union Pensions?

"The Treasury Department ... was running the show."

Photo Credit: AP

The U.S. Treasury Department, under the tutelage of Timothy Geithner, may have been behind the termination of roughly 20,000 pensions of salaried retirees at Delphi auto parts manufacturing company, The Daily Caller reports.

The decision, according to the DC, was based solely on the fact that the retirees were not members of labor unions.

“The internal government emails contradict sworn testimony, in federal court and before Congress, given by several Obama administration figures,” the DC’s article says.

“They also indicate that the administration misled lawmakers and the courts about the sequence of events surrounding the termination of those non-union pensions, and that administration figures violated federal law,” he adds.

A quick history lesson: Delphi is owned by General Motors. Back in 2009, when the Obama administration was “saving” the auto industry, 20,000 non-union Delphi employees saw their pensions get wiped out.

However, unionized Delphi workers had no problem with their pensions. In fact, they saw their pensions “topped off and made whole,” as the DC puts it.

Now keep in mind the White House and the Treasury Department claim they had nothing to do with the pension terminations. They say the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), a fed agency that takes care of private-sector pension benefits, made the call all on its own.

“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, which means there are Delphi retirees who unfortunately will collect less than their full pension benefits,” Former Treasury official Matthew Feldman testified on July 11, 2012.

An email dug up by the Daily Caller dated Thursday, April 2, 2009, shows PBGC staffer Joseph House informing his colleagues Karen Morris and Michael Rae that a meeting held the next day with the entire auto bailout team (that means everyone) would cover "everything -- lead off with Chrysler, then we’ll get into GM/Delphi.”

Emails clearly indicate that “pension issues” would be “kicking off” the meeting with the auto bailout team. Clearly, people deeply involved in the bailout of the auto industry they knew something was happening with the pensions.

But here’s where it starts to get a little strange. After that meeting, House emailed PBGC staffers Karen Morris and John Menke.

“We’ve been disinvited,” he wrote. “It’s for the best.”

“Who uninvited us?” Morris replied.

“Treasury,” House responded.

Wait, Treasury excluded PBGC from bailout talks involving a discussion of worker's pensions?

"The emails TheDC has obtained show that the Treasury Department, not the independent PBGC, was running the show," Boyle writes.

"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," he adds.

See the emails here:

2012-Aug-07 PBGC emails - DAILY CALLER

Of course, Treasury is denying everything.

“[T]he termination of the Delphi salaried pension plan was made by the PBGC in accordance with its standard procedures and applicable laws -- not by Treasury,” Treasury spokesman Matt Anderson said in an email to TheDC.

“Although the Delphi bankruptcy was very difficult for its employees and retirees, the actions Treasury took to support the American auto industry helped save more than a million American jobs during a period of economic crisis,” Anderson adds.

What’s the bottom line?

“Very obviously, Treasury was at least involved in the decision-making, if not the ultimate decider of the Delphi pension termination,” writes Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, “it looks pretty clear that the PBGC was at least coordinating efforts with the Obama administration.”

“To the extent that any officials testified differently, we may be seeing more subpoenas and Congressional hearings in the near future. One question in particular will be why the PBGC terminated the non-union pension while taxpayers absorbed the union pension obligations, and whether that outcome was coordinated all along by the White House,” he adds.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Click here to read the full report.

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