Subcommittee Chair Connolly Presses Labor Secretary on Apparent Presses Labor Secretary on Apparent Interference with Thrift Savings Plan

May 28, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (May 28, 2020)—Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, sent a letter to Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia expressing concerns over unprecedented interference by the White House and the Department of Labor (DOL) in the administration of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).


“This Administration has overstepped its authority and politicized a well-established, independent board whose sole mission is to help public servants maximize their retirement savings,” wrote Chairman Connolly.  “With all due respect, please keep President Trump away from the retirement plans of federal employees and servicemembers. He has done enough damage already.”


On May 11, 2020, the Trump White House wrote to DOL, in an attempt to distract from its disastrous pandemic response efforts and to disingenuously stage a hardline on China, and ordered the halt of any efforts by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) to change the benchmark index to the International (I) Fund.  The letter cited concerns about potential investments in Chinese companies.


That same day, Secretary Scalia sent a letter to the Chairman of the FRTIB reiterating the need for the board to obey the orders prescribed by both the Secretary and the President.  Two days after these letters were sent, FRTIB announced it was indefinitely deferring action on the I Fund transition. 


“It is clear that FRTIB’s announcement to defer its 2017 decision was made under mounting and inappropriate political pressure from DOL and the Trump Administration,” Connolly wrote.


In implementing this unprincipled and unprecedented policy, it appears that DOL and the Trump Administration may have violated the bipartisan Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986.  The law established the FRTIB as the only independent entity that has legal authority to administer and manage the TSP. 


“The Administration should be taking its concerns highlighted in its May 11 letter to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) within the Department of the Treasury.  This office has the authority to determine which countries and companies are inappropriate trading or business partners for the United States,” added Connolly.  “Under your leadership, DOL has overstepped and misused its authority.” 


The Subcommittee requests all documents relating to the recent actions with respect to the TSP’s I Fund by June 5, 2020.


Click here to read today’s letter.


116th Congress