ESOP Bulletin – More Positive News on Stopping DOL’s Fiduciary Proposal

Today, the Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Services, Congressman Denny Rehberg [R-MT], introduced an appropriations bill for the Department of Labor for the Fiscal Year 2012, among other Federal agencies, which contains the following provision:

“Section 109.  None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to promulgate or implement a final rule amending…the definition of the term ‘fiduciary’…including the proposed rulemaking published by the…Department of Labor on October 22, 2010…”

The reference is to the proposed rule that The ESOP Association and its members have been protesting since last year because it would have mandated that all appraisers of private company ESOP stock be ERISA fiduciaries.

The has set forth in many instances why the DOL proposal would have been a bad blow to ESOP creation and operation.

Introduction of this bill does not mean — go here for information on the bill; a formal bill number will be released on September 30, 2011 — the DOL proposal will go away, because a proposed bill is not necessarily going to be on the President’s desk for signing into law.

But we thank Congressman Rehberg for standing up against the DOL.  We know his proposal was motivated by concerns over the proposed rule’s impact on k plans and IRAs as well as ESOPs.  But his action, just as Senator Kelly Ayotte’s [R-NH] introduction of S. 1232 in June of this year, is a strong signal to DOL and its officials that they, when re-proposing the October 22, 2010 regulation, should not come close to what was in the original proposal.  In fact, Congressman Rehberg’s proposal in this Appropriations bill for FY 2012 DOL spending is a pretty strong signal to DOL to just walk away from its original proposal 100%.

The ESOP Association will keep you posted on this legislation, and other efforts to stop the DOL 2010 proposal mandating that appraisers of private ESOP company stock be ERISA fiduciaries with bulletins, and postings on its blog, Facebook page, and LinkedIn group.

Contact if you have questions.

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