You might think that a Department of Labor lawsuit on behalf ofparticipants in a pension plan would be favorablyregarded by plan participants, particularly if it seeks to recovermoney for those participants.

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Not so in the case of the International Association ofMachinists, apparently.

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In January, DOL filed suit against the InternationalAssociation of Machinists National Pension Fund and its board oftrustees for, according to the DOL, “multiple violations of theEmployee Retirement Income Security Act.”

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Said violations, the suit said, included breaches of fiduciaryduty through selection methods for fund service providers; “lavish”spending; “soliciting and accepting gratuities from plan serviceproviders”; and ignoring provisions of the fund’s governing plandocuments.

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The IAM National Pension Fund is the fifth largest multiemployerpension plan in the U.S. and has a funded status of 101 percent,according to a “Green Zone” notice it sent to members in April of2015.

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Now the IAM has challenged the DOL’s view ofthings, calling for withdrawal of the suit “to prevent further harmto the Fund’s reputation,” and claiming that the litigation is overproblems that have already been resolved.

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The IAM is not a party to the suit, but has waded in nonethelessto defend the IAM National Pension Fund as “among the nation’s moststable and best managed multiemployer plans, and … in fullcompliance with all DOL rules and regulations.”

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The complaint, the union said in its call for the suit’swithdrawal, says nothing about the fund’s stability or its abilityto provide its members with a “secure retirement,” and “fails tonote that all questionable expenditures were fully reimbursed andnew policies put in place to ensure strict compliance with DOLrules.” Instead, it focuses on “issues that have been previouslyaddressed and resolved.”

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