Concerned about reports that the Labor Department’s delay of the fiduciary rule was crafted to undermine President Trump’s directive to reexamine the rule’s impact, House Republicans are looking for some answers – and some face time.
In an April 28 letter to Secretary of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) note that, “There have been reports that [DOL] employees adopted this approach in a calculated effort to undermine the president’s directive.”
The letter includes a footnote referencing “Labor Department Mutiny,” (subscription required) an April 13 Wall Street Journal article suggesting that some DOL officials were undermining the president’s directive. For example, the article characterizes the response of the Labor Department in announcing the delay in the rule’s applicability date – which said it “would be inappropriate to broadly delay application of the fiduciary definition and Impartial Conduct Standards” – as: “We don’t care what an elected President says.”
The letter asks for all communications relating to the EBSA’s implementation of President Trump’s Memorandum of Feb. 3, 2017 between DOL staff and (1) employees at other executive branch agencies, and (2) any non-government entity. It also asks for all communications between staff and any non-government entity related to:
- the proposed rule published in the Federal Register on March 2;
- the final rule published in the Federal Register on April 7; and
- the cost/benefit analysis of the final rule published in the Federal Register on April 7.
The letter also asks that EBSA Deputy Assistant Secretary Tim Hauser be “available to brief committee staff” on May 10.
And finally, “due to the uncertainty facing stakeholders and the millions of customers they serve in the retirement advice industry with respect to provisions of the fiduciary rule coming into effect on June 9 while a comprehensive review of the rule is still ongoing,” the letter urges Acosta to “immediately move to extend the applicability date of the fiduciary rule in its entirety.”