Grassley Speaks at Central States Pension Holders Rally, Describes GAO Inquiry on Labor Department Role
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley today spoke at a rally of Central States pension fund holders at the U.S. Capitol. He described the Government Accountability Office (GAO) inquiry under way at his request. The inquiry will look at the Department of Labor’s role in the decline of the fund. The correspondence on the GAO review is available here.
Remarks of Sen. Chuck Grassley
Rally at the U.S. Capitol with Central States Pension Holders
Thursday, April 14, 2016
I want to thank you all for the invitation to visit with you. Most of you have received letters from Central States indicating your pension will be reduced by 50 percent or more. That would upset anybody. You work hard and play by all the rules, only to have the rug torn out from under you in what was supposed to be your secure retirement.
The fact that the law that permitted these benefit cuts was largely done behind closed doors only adds to the frustration and breeds cynicism. As one who has championed transparency in government, I say the public’s business must be public. I voted against the legislation cutting these pensions.
Many Iowans have brought to me concerns about Central States’ management and investment practices that I agree should be looked into. So in February, I requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to launch an investigation. My request focuses on the Department of Labor and its role under a court ordered consent decree to provide oversight of the fund, including as it relates to Central States investment decisions. GAO accepted my request, and I understand that they are proceeding.
All Central States plan beneficiaries deserve to have a better understanding of what led to the financial failings of Central States and ultimately put their retirement at risk. Your advocacy has helped get this GAO investigation off the ground.
After writing to GAO, I was contacted by several members of Congress asking to join my request. Other members have also sent their own letters indicating their support for the investigation. This outpouring of support from fellow members speaks volumes to the work you have done in getting the word out.
My hope is that with GAO’s help we will finally get to the bottom of what was going on with Central States and the Department of Labor’s role in the decline of the fund. Congress needs to have a better understanding of what happened with the Department of Labor’s oversight of this pension plan. If the Department of Labor was asleep at the switch, it must be held accountable.