Iron Range Pension Oversight
On the Iron Range, Minnesota miners work hard for years to accumulate pension benefits. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) insures the benefits of 44 million private sector workers in the nation, including many mining operations and steelworkers on the Iron Range. Unfortunately, the Iron Range has been plagued with repeated shut-downs and re-openings, which can often disrupt a workers' pension benefits. In 2009, Senator Franken requested an investigation by the Inspector General for the PBGC, to determine whether some pensions may have been mishandled. In April 2011, the PBGC Inspector General released the results of that report, and the results were very troubling. The PBGC Inspector General found that the audit of these pensions performed by an outside contractor "suffered from multiple and serious deviations from government auditing standards," and that the "Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's oversight of the contractor was inadequate." Senator Franken requested additional information from the PBGC to determine the scope of this problem, and the PBGC's reply reflects real changes that have been made at the agency. These changes ensure that these problems will not happen to other workers.