Boehner's Committee to Examine Stock Ownership Issues

December 12, 2001 ( - Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio) submitted a statement to the House Financial Services Subcommittees on Capital Markets and Oversight & Investigations regarding the Enron bankruptcy.

The subcommittees are scheduled to hold a joint hearing on the subject. 

In the statement Boehner expressed concern over the predicament of Enron employees and retirees who have invested a substantial portion of their retirement assets in Enron stock. 

He noted that while many Enron employees had lost substantial amounts of money through stock ownership, a great number of employees in this type of plan had also made money. “We should continue to protect these gains and not jeopardize employee holdings by unduly restricting this opportunity,” his statement reads.

He urged lawmakers to carefully consider whether to amend the law on company stock ownership in pension plans, stating that the Enron matter may, “demonstrate that Congress needs to make legislative changes to protect employees.”

Boehner also stated that the committee will carefully consider the Enron situation and its implications at its next meeting, adding that, “the committee will examine the issues surrounding the Enron benefits plan and its compliance with ERISA and use this information to assess how well ERISA protects plan participants.”

Boehner has sponsored the Retirement Security Advice Act (H.R. 2269), which would provide a limited exemption from ERISA’s prohibited transaction rules, permitting money managers to offer investment advice for a fee to participants.  It has been embraced by the DOL as well as the Secretaries of the Treasury and Commerce – and was passed by the House of Representatives in November (see House OKs Participant Advice Bill

– Camilla Klein