Politics

House subcommittee chairman: Delphi subpoenas possible, scandal looks like cover-up

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Tennessee Republican Rep. Phil Roe told The Daily Caller that President Barack Obama’s administration appears to be engaged in a cover-up of the scandal related to Delphi salaried retirees who lost their pensions during the 2009 auto bailout.

“The idea that after I’ve reviewed this, you’re right,” Roe said of “cover-up” allegations, in a phone interview late last week. “This is the M.O. for this administration. Look at [Operation] Fast and Furious: If you look at any of these documents that we’re trying to get, just to try and — maybe nothing was wrong, and I don’t know because we don’t have the documents yet to find out. We know how the procedure is supposed to work and this is a little bothersome.”

Roe, who chairs of the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, leads one of three congressional investigations into how the actions of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the White House affected 20,000 nonunion Delphi retirees.

While those nonunion retirees lost significant portions of their pensions, health care and life insurance benefits from this deal, their unionized peers saw their benefits fulfilled.

For years since, the Obama administration has claimed the quasi-independent Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) made the decision, and said its own officials were not involved. Email evidence TheDC obtained and published in early August, however, shows that’s not the case.

One group of emails demonstrated that political officials from the White House and the Treasury Department drove the cutoff of the nonunion retirees’ pension plans. Another tranche of emails showed that the former firms of two different members of the Obama Auto Task Force benefited from that deal.

GOP members on Roe’s committee had asked the Treasury Department to produce documents in Dec. 2009, and although by April 2010 Geithner’s team had agreed to produce those documents, they followed through only this week — after receiving a letter from Roe and full committee chairman Rep. John Kline.

Roe, who wasn’t on the subcommittee leading this probe back in 2009 but is now its chairman, said it was TheDC’s investigative work that brought his attention back to the issue.

“If there weren’t journalists out there … pointing this out, no one would ever know what goes on,” he said. “I mean, no one would ever know.”