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Trump Nominates McConnell Brother-In-Law to Lead Pension Agency

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President Donald Trump nominated Gordon Hartogensis, a self-described entrepreneur who is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s brother-in-law, to lead the federal agency that pays worker pensions when employers terminate their retirement plans.

Hartogensis helps govern his family’s trust and is the CEO of Auric Technology, a closely held software company, according to his LinkedIn page. In making the announcement, the White House did not provide biographical information about him or answer questions about his relationship to Chao and McConnell, who are married. Hartogensis is married to one of Chao’s sisters, according to a person familiar with the matter.

(Related: Meet Your Multiemployer Pension Nightmare: Actuary to Lawmakers)

Email and phone messages left for Hartogensis at Auric were not returned.

If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace the current director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Tom Reeder, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2015.

The PBGC runs separate insurance programs for single-and multi-employer pension plans. Both owe more in future liabilities than they have in assets, though the program for single employers is expected to reach balance by 2022.

The multi-employer program, however, had assets of only $2.3 billion and liabilities of $67 billion as of September 30, according to congressional testimony by Reeder. He described its financial condition as “dire and without action will be worse.” It’s projected to be insolvent by 2025.

— Read Nearly 1 in 5 Pension Plans Are Overfunded on ThinkAdvisor.

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