I would like to correct the misleading comments on the Central States Teamsters pension fund case in Jack Anderson's columns of Aug. 3 and 4. Using a much-publicized "secret" re port by the Senate permanent investi gations subcommittee, he claims that: "Teamstersbosses" manipulated me and other officials to cover up evi dence of either "political chicanery or gross incompetence" in the investiga tion of Teamsters corruption; "Marshall's Labor Department" chose not to use its subpoena powers to obtain records of the fund's loss of millions of dollars in dubious loans; and Labor of ficials violated the law by "destroying" records that showed evidence of wrongdoing.
Every one of these charges is false.
The Central States investigation had received rigorous attention long be fore I became secretary of labor. At my confirmation hearings, I promised to give it high priority and my personal attention.
My associates and I decided that the best strategy was to present a united government position to the fund's trus tees (lack of cooperation among government agencies had been a major problem) and to target Labor's limited resources on our primary legal respon sibility --to protect the fund's assets and recover losses from those guilty of violating their fiduciary responsibil ities. However, this decision did not preclude the identification and refer ral of potential criminal cases to the Department of Justice or any other en forcement program in the Department of Labor.
The attorney general, the secretary of the Treasury and the commissioner of Internal Revenue agreed with this strategy. Accordingly, top priority was given to protecting the fund's assets by removing the trustees accused of wrongdoing and having the fund's assets placed under control of independent asset managers. While we were completely prepared to go to court to achieve these objectives, we achieved all of our objectives without the expense, delays and uncertainty of litig tion. We preferred voluntary cooperation, but, contrary to Anderson's column, we never relinquished our subpoena (or other legal) power and, in fact, subpoenaed records when the fund failed to cooperate.
After we placed control of the fund in the hands of independent asset managers, we brought suit to recover for the fund the losses incurred by those accused of violating their fiduciary responsibilities.
It is true that efforts were made to manipulate us to regain control of the fund's assets. But critics seem oblivious to (or ignorant of) the fact that we successfully blocked every one of these efforts and that the fund's assets are still in safe hands. If the Teamsters manipulated us, they got themselves exactly where we wanted them to be!
The next part of our strategy was to turn over to the Justice Department information with respect to possible criminal investigations. Although Labor's legal authority in pension cases is civil, Labor staff referred in formation to and met regularly with Justice Department officials.
Anderson further alleges that the Labor Department illegally destroyed records that revealed widespread mis management of its Central States in vestigation. What he failed to mention was that these "documents" were part of an internal study of the manage ment of the Central States investiga tion that I instructed the undersecre tary of labor to undertake. On the basis of that investigation, we reformed and reorganized the investiga tive staff. Since much of this material was considered to be irrelevant, uncorroborrated and embarrassing to individuals, we decided to limit its circulation.
The study, and the raw interviews on which it was based, were turned over to both the subcommittee staff and the Justice Department for inves tigation of possible illegal conduct.
It is especially reprehensible for the subcommittee or Anderson to imply that we "bungled" this investigation when the evidence shows that we car ried out our main responsibilities under the law to protect assets and re move the trustees, brought suit to recover losses, increased the resources and quality of our cooperation with the Justice Department's organized crime program, and reformed the management of the investigation itself.