Good to see at least one Michigan lawmaker has the gumption to challenge the Treasury Department’s slow-walk on details behind the Delphi Corp. pension scandal. Rep. Dave Camp, the Midland Republican who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, issued a statement today saying documents obtained by congressional investigators show that Treasury officials — not the quasi-governmental Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. – were instrumental in the decision to seize Delphi’s salaried pension plan:
“Treasury was clearly in the center of the decision to terminate the pensions of Delphi’s salaried workers,” Camp said. “Instead of selectively releasing some documents and withholding others, Treasury should release all documents without further delay and give these hardworking Americans answers as to why Treasury believed they were not entitled to their full pensions. I have serious concerns about this Administration picking winners and losers in Delphi’s bankruptcy.”
His office said documents provided by Treasury “do not support” its claim that it was not behind the PBGC’s decision to seize a pension fund that was 85-percent funded — well above the pension funds of other auto suppliers that were not seized during bankruptcy proceedings. The accumulating weight of documentary evidence, culled from e-mail traffic by congressional investigators, is exposing one of the dirty little secrets of President Barack Obama’s auto bailouts: namely, that his auto task force and others inside Treasury used public money ear-marked for the bailouts to pick winners and losers.
Among other things, a timeline provided by Camp confirms that two unions precluded from an original agreement to “top up” the pension obligations of Delphi’s United Auto Workers employees — the United Steelworkers and the International Union of Electrical Workers — signed an agreement requiring General Motors Co. to “top up” the pensions of their members. Because GM could not have emerged from bankruptcy without the critical infusion of taxpayer money, the payments effectively came from American taxpayers. The continuing revelations are likely to remain a minor political annoyance for the Obama administration, pending the outcome of next month’s election.