House oversight committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Ohio Republican Rep. Mike Turner on Thursday officially threatened to use subpoenas to force Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to provide Congress with all documents related to the Delphi pension scandal if he doesn’t come through by Oct. 9.
“Despite our repeated requests for all responsive documents and communications, the Treasury Department has only proffered a limited number of documents, many of which were already publicly available,” Issa and Turner wrote in a Thursday letter to Geithner.
Issa and Turner cited an early August report in The Daily Caller that included emails obtained and published showing that the Treasury Department and the White House drove the cutoff of 20,000 nonunion Delphi autoworker retirees’ pensions.
“Documents recently made public under the Freedom of Information Act, however, demonstrate that the Treasury Department was ‘the driving force’ behind the decision to terminate the pensions of Delphi’s salaried employees,” they wrote, citing TheDC’s early August article. “Although the Treasury Department has maintained that [the Pension Benefit Guarantee Program] PBGC alone made the decision to terminate the pensions of Delphi’s salaried employees, these documents appear to indicate that Treasury Department officials and members of President Obama’s Auto Task Force played a large role in this decision.”
Turner and Issa attached their previous document requests to Geithner — from August 2011 and January 2009 — to the letter, and added that this is a final offer: “If the department does not produce all the requested material by October 9, 2012, the committee will be forced to consider use of compulsory process.”
“Compulsory process” is a reference to subpoenas, which can be enforced with a contempt of Congress resolution.
Issa has already shown the Obama administration that he is willing to issue subpoenas if necessary — he served one on Attorney General Eric Holder in October 2011 after months of Holder not producing Operation Fast and Furious documents to Congress. Issa enforced that subpoenas when the House of Representatives voted on a bipartisan basis in late June to hold Holder in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress. That fight remains ongoing.