A new video advertisement from conservative advocacy group Let Freedom Ring features the stories of several Delphi salaried retirees, who lost their pensions at the hand of the Secretary Tim Geithner’s Department of Treasury.
“I would ask President Obama why I had no rights and he had all the rights to take my pension away and never ever look back and say not only did I take it from Mary Miller, but I took it from 20,000 other people and their families,” one Delphi salaried retiree, Mary Miller, says in the ad.
“It’s made life pretty rough. I’ve really struggled to pay for the basics,” Miller also says in the ad, adding that the Obama administration’s actions led to her losing “over 30 percent of my pension.”
The ad is destined for television sets and online ads in the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, Let Freedom Ring executive director Alex Cortes said in an email to The Daily Caller.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign has addressed the Delphi pension as well, in a May web video.
Delphi salaried retiree Mary Southerland recounts how she “had interviewed with General Motors at 17 and was hired on at that time, so I had literally spent my whole life with General Motors and Delphi.”
“Both my husband and I worked for Delphi, and we both lost well over 40 percent of our retirement,” Southerland said.
Roy Smith, another Delphi salaried retiree, said that Obama promised during his 2008 election campaign “the protection of pensions and the bankruptcy process was a high priority for him.”
Smith relays how he felt like Obama betrayed him and his peers. “In October of 2009, our pensions were terminated and they were not protected,” he said.
The ad splices in 2008 campaign trail video of Obama claiming that he considers “pension protection” to be “something we ought to put at the top of our priority list.”
“Right now, bankruptcy laws are more focused on protecting banks than protecting pensions,” Obama said back then. “And, I don’t think that’s fair. It’s not the America I believe in. It’s time to stop cutting back the safety net for working people while we protect golden parachutes for the well-off. If you’ve worked hard and played by the rules, then you’ve earned your pension. If a company goes bankrupt, then workers need to be our top priority, not an afterthought.”
Let Freedom Ring president Colin Hanna said in a statement that it’s “clear the Obama Administration has thrown this ‘top priority’ by the wayside, terminating the Delphi salaried pension fund that is funded at a higher amount than the average of the top 100 corporations in America.”
“And after this they unfairly decided to make the Delphi union workers whole by ‘topping up’ their pensions while they subjected the salaried retirees at the very same company to pension losses of up to 70%,” Hanna added. “Obama’s definition of pension protection would be perfect for late-night comedy if there wasn’t the tragedy of so many people getting hurt by his unfair actions.”
Watch the ad:
Emails The Daily Caller obtained and first published on Tuesday show senior White House and Treasury officials were behind the termination of pensions for 20,000 non-union Delphi salaried retirees.
Those emails show that the Treasury Department, led by Geithner, was the driving force behind terminating those pensions, a move made in 2009 while the Obama administration implemented its auto bailout plan. The emails contradict sworn testimony in which several Obama administration figures have consistently claimed that the decision to terminate the pensions came from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The PBGC is a federal government agency that handles private-sector pension benefits issues. Its charter calls for independent representation of pension beneficiaries’ interests.
“[T]he termination of the Delphi salaried pension plan was made by the PBGC in accordance with its standard procedures and applicable laws — not by Treasury,” Treasury spokesman Matt Anderson said in an email to TheDC. “Although the Delphi bankruptcy was very difficult for its employees and retirees, the actions Treasury took to support the American auto industry helped save more than a million American jobs during a period of economic crisis.”