Postal Pension Halt a ‘Willful’ Breach of Law, Issa Says

The U.S. Postal Service’s suspension of contributions to an employee pension plan is a “willful violation of the law,” the chairman of the U.S. House committee overseeing the service said.

The Postal Service’s decision last week to halt payments to the Federal Employees Retirement System, which covers about 85 percent of career postal workers, “sets a dangerous precedent,” Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a letter yesterday to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

“It is troubling that OPM would allow the lapse in payments pending further review by the executive branch,” Issa said in the letter to OPM Director John Berry. “Attempting to preserve cash by missing required payments” violates the law, he said.

The Postal Service has said it will reach its $15 billion statutory borrowing limit by the end of its fiscal year on Sept. 30, following a fiscal 2010 loss of $8.5 billion. It has said it needed to suspend the pension contributions to save $800 million this year.

A Postal Service spokesman had no immediate comment. A OPM spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

To contact the reporters on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Detroit at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net

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