The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for federal employees is trying to sue American Management Systems for $350 million for its failure to deliver a working computer system. TSP runs a 401(k)-like plan for 2.6 million federal employees, including our soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. But to file this lawsuit, the TSP board needs a lawyer. Usually, the Justice Department represents government agencies. But guess what - John Ashcroft refuses to represent the TSP, and won a lawsuit to stop TSP from hiring any OTHER lawyers. Why is B%$# undermining the retirement fund for 2.6 million federal employees? According to Buzzflash, the Republican Party took $80,000 from - you guessed it - American Management Systems. We demand a Congressional investigation!
BUZZFLASH REPORT Wednesday February 13, 2002 at 7:53:35 PM
DOES $80,000 IN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE RNC HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT BLOCKING A LAWSUIT? JUST ASKING.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
February 13, 2002
Copyright of BuzzFlash.com
A CONFUSING TALE MAY HAVE A SIMPLE ANSWER.
Apparently the legendary U.S. Armed Forces "Stars and Stripes" hasn't yet been neutered into obsequious "Hail to Caesar (Bush)" coverage. On February 12th, the military newspaper ran an article "Thrift Savings Plan managers: White House thwarting $350M lawsuit." (See http://army.laser.net/article.asp?section=104&article=6328&archive=true). The first sentence of the story is the introduction to a rather intriguing tale involving federal employees, their thrift savings plan, the Justice Department, the White House, and a firm accused of failing to fulfill its contract: "Managers of the Federal employees’ Thrift Savings Plan have accused the White House of thwarting its efforts to pursue a $350 million lawsuit against the company it had hired to create a record-keeping computer system."
You see, the Thrifts Savings Plan normally would be represented by the Justice Department in efforts to recover payments and damages from an alleged faulty contractor. But the Justice Department apparently wouldn't pursue charges against American Management Systems, the company alleged to have failed in delivering its contractual obligations to set up a data management system for the Thrift Savings Plan. So the board of the Thrift Savings Plan hired outside attorneys to file suit against American Management Systems, in order to bypass a Justice Department that wouldn't act.
Keep following this: American Management Systems challenged the suit, saying that only the Justice Department could represent a federal agency. The Bush administration
-- get this -- sided with American Management Systems, even though the White House has, apparently, not allowed the Justice Department to pursue action against American Management Systems. In short, the Bush administration appears to be working against the interests of a federal employee thrift (which includes military personnel) that is trying to collect payments from an alleged faulty contractor!
Guess what? American Management Systems and the Bush Administration won in Court. As a result, federal employees might have been shafted and are being denied the right to sue.
What does the executive director of the Thrift Savings Plan have to say about this, according to "Stars and Stripes"?
"Bush administration officials at the Department of Justice seem intent on obstructing and opposing the independent litigating authority of the plan," TSP board Executive Director Roger Mehle said in a news release.
"The Department of Justice is continuing its efforts to stop [TSP managers] from … initiating and maintaining litigation on behalf of the 2.6 million TSP participants," Mehle said.
The Justice Department, by the way, responded to Mehle's accusations by asserting that it is the legal counsel for the Thrift Plan, even while not committing to pursue the case.
If you are confused by all of this, so is BuzzFlash. But sometimes confusing issues may have simple answers. And sometimes, in politics, the simple answers can be found at opensecrets.org. That's where BuzzFlash went after reading the "Stars and Stripes" article.
What happened at opensecrets.org when BuzzFlash entered the name American Management Systems into the opensecrets.org political party donor search base beginning with 1998? (http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp) What happened is we may have found the answer to this strange story of why the Bush/Ashcroft Justice Department is not vigorously pursuing this lawsuit, and the Thrift Savings Plan had to turn to outside counsel.
What BuzzFlash found was American Management Systems gave more than $80,000 to the Republican National Committee (RNC) over three years.
So sometimes there may be simple answers to confusing questions. All you have to do is follow the money.
Then again, we can't prove a thing, can we?
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
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