Congressman wants probe of Geithner’s GM bailout ‘conflicts of interest’

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter

Ohio Republican Rep. Michael Turner is pushing for a congressional investigation into what he considers Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s “conflicts of interest” during and after the government bailout of General Motors.

Turner made his request on Thursday in a letter to House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa.

Turner alleges there was a conflict of interest with Geithner playing the part of Treasury Secretary, co-chair of President Barack Obama’s Auto Task Force and being be a board member of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, an independent U.S. government agency created to monitor pension payments and ensure payouts promised by failed companies.

The House oversight committee recently held a field hearing in Ohio on the GM bailout, and how the Treasury Department’s actions caused 20,000 non-union workers from Delphi to lose 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.

Turner argues that Geithner’s triple role in the bailout process likely caused the non-union workers to lose their pensions, while union pensions were mostly made whole.

“In fact, [the Government Accountability Office] similarly recognized the multiple roles of the Department of the Treasury at the [House Oversight] Committee’s field hearing in Dayton, Ohio on November 14, 2011,” Turner wrote to Issa.

“This is an important question that deserves a detailed and unbiased investigation,” Turner wrote. “Local leadership of the Delphi Salaried Retirees in my district estimate that nearly 20,000 current and future retirees across the nation and 1,000 retirees in the Dayton area were negatively affected by the decisions of the Treasury, Auto Task Force, and the PBGC,” Turner wrote.

Back in March, Turner told TheDC that what happened to the Delphi workers who lost their pensions, likely because they weren’t union workers, was a “terrible injustice.”

“This is a political decision, not a legal or financial decision,” Turner said in March. “There were people who were penalized and people were chosen as winners and losers. The White House, the administration and the Auto Task Force decided who were going to receive their pensions and who were not.”

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