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Some comments on the Chrysler bankruptcy

Friday, June 5, 2009

To the Editor:

When I opted to seek the office of treasurer of state, I never intended to be a part of a national news story. Neither did I expect that I would ever see the United States government act in a way that would take money away from retired Hoosiers but it has done so.

In the bankruptcy of Chrysler Corp., the Obama administration has arbitrarily abandoned more than 100 years of law. Long-established legal precedent dictates that secured creditors are the first to have their interests protected in a bankruptcy but not this time. This time, the administration said the law was less important than the urgency of the situation, and they threw away the rights of secured creditors the President labeled as "greedy speculators" and "unpatriotic."

Indiana taxpayers, retired Hoosier state policemen, and Hoosier teachers are neither greedy speculators nor unpatriotic. They are, however, secured creditors of Chrysler. They deserve to have their funds protected under the full auspices of the law.

Our national vision should be to rebuild our economy based on private-sector investment. The American economy has been the envy of the world for 200 years because it worked so well at spurring invention, creativity, and the creation of wealth. If allowed to stand, the federal government's illegal action in the Chrysler case will reduce confidence in the financial markets at precisely the time when investments are desperately needed to rebuild our economy.

Indiana is the only party to intervene in the Chrysler bankruptcy. We are attempting to re-establish the rule of law that protects investors like our retirees from arbitrary acts of government officials in depriving citizens of their property. It is a point of utmost importance.

Some believe Indiana should not have intervened in the bankruptcy. They feel the state is threatening the future of Chrysler, but Indiana did not put Chrysler in bankruptcy. When we bought the millions of dollars of Chrysler debt on behalf of retirees, we did so hoping to be part of Chrysler's success. No crisis is of such magnitude that the Constitution and laws of the United States should be deemed null and void.

Such actions must be challenged in the courts and so, on behalf of Hoosiers, I have and will.

I take my oath of office and fiduciary responsibilities seriously. Indiana's State Troopers, millions of Hoosier taxpayers, and over 100,000 Hoosier retired teachers have legal rights that are to be protected. As controversial as my actions may seem to some, I would have fully failed in my duties if I had not acted to intervene.

Richard Mourdock

Treasurer of Indiana