President Barack Obama’s former auto industry adviser and two former Treasury Department officials cracked at the last minute before a House oversight committee subcommittee hearing and agreed to stop stonewalling an investigation into alleged union favoritism during the administration’s General Motors bailout.
Ron Bloom, Obama’s former auto czar, and former Treasury officials Matt Feldman and Harry Wilson have refused to give interviews to the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) about their roles in topping up pensions for union workers while non-union workers lost nearly their entire pensions.
The Treasury Department’s actions during the auto bailout caused 20,000 non-union workers from Delphi to lose most of their pensions. Delphi, a GM company, is one of the largest automotive parts manufacturers in the world. Its workers lost their pensions when the government bailed out GM.
While those non-union Delphi workers lost nearly their entire pensions, United Auto Workers union members’ pensions were topped off and made whole.
While Feldman, Bloom and Wilson have maintained they think no preferential treatment was given to the unions during the bailout, emails The Daily Caller obtained in June 2011 show senior officials corresponding with senior GM officials on how to make certain decisions regarding who was going to win and who was going to lose.
The three former Obama auto bailout officials had, according to TARP’s Special Inspector General Christy Romero, refused to give interviews to auditors about their role in the decision-making process.
“These individuals’ refusal to speak to SIGTARP poses a significant obstacle to SIGTARP’s ability to complete its audit and to taxpayers gaining a full understanding of the discussions and considerations involved in GM’s decision,” Romero said in her prepared congressional testimony.
At the last minute before the hearing, Feldman, Bloom and Wilson agreed that they’d sit down for interviews with SIGTARP auditors.
During Tuesday’s hearing, though, Bloom refused to agree to answer questions Ohio Republican Rep. Mike Turner had given him at a hearing over a year ago. At a June 22, 2011 hearing, Turner handed Bloom 25 questions about his role in the bailout. Back then, Bloom said that, “absolutely,” he’d answer them. Bloom never answered Turner’s questions.
When Turner asked Bloom if he’d answer them in writing after Tuesday’s hearing, he refused. Bloom said he didn’t answer them before because he believed his August 2011 resignation meant he didn’t have to follow through on this commitment.