Senior Dem calls for more oversight of pension entity after Center uncovers weakness

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Senate Aging Committee Chairman Herb Kohl says a Center for Public Integrity investigation that uncovered security, management and procurement weaknesses inside the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) provides fresh evidence that lawmakers need to intervene to fix the federal corporation entrusted with protecting Americans' retirement funds.

Kohl also disclosed that his committee expects a new investigative report from PBGC’s inspector general in about a month outlining problems with the corporation’s planning. He said corrective action is necessary, especially as the deficit widens between the PBGC’s current assets and its future obligations to cover defaulted pensions. That deficit now stands at nearly $22 billion.

“Our efforts to improve the oversight and governance of the PBGC cannot be taken seriously enough. The pensions of one in six Americans are potentially on the line. This report amplifies our call,” the Wisconsin Democrat said after the Center’s story was published Monday.

Kohl held hearings in his committee last year into various problems inside the PBGC and since then has been pressing for legislation that would strengthen the governance and oversight of the federal corporation.

His bill would expand the board of the corporation to include public trustees, stagger its members’ terms, and require it to meet four times a year. The bill would also ensure the PBGC Advisory Council, Inspector General, and General Counsel have full and direct access to the board.

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