Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal said he had “no nefarious motive” when he became the lead sponsor of a piece of legislation that would greatly benefit MassMutual, an insurance company in Neal’s home district of Springfield and his largest source of campaign money.
Representative Neal addressed his connection to the legislation on Boston Public Radio Tuesday.
The legislation in question aims to overturn the Department of Labor’s plan to restrict certain retirement investment practices. The restrictions from the Obama administration are intended to prevent companies like MassMutal, from giving their clients potentially bad advice and losing them large sums of retirement money.
Neal worries that middle-class Americans will not be able to receive proper retirement advice if the Department of Labor follows through with their plans. “I want middle-class people to continue to get financial advice,” Neal said. “I don’t want a complicated or over complicated rules that interfere with the ability of legitimate fiduciaries to provide clients with the certain advice they are going to need.”
A front page story on Neal’s involvement with the legislation appeared in yesterday’s Boston Globe. The Congressman was disappointed by how he was represented in the article and was troubled by the omission of certain information. “In the interview I did with the reporter, I pointed out to him that there were 96 democrats, more than half the democratic caucus, who took the same position I did,” said Neal.
“The notion that this has developed solely simply because a constituent based company, which by the way is a fine company, has gotten me to do something that I would not have done on my own is really nonsense, and I don’t understand why that the 96 democrats who I mentioned did not appear in the story.”
Neal said that his decision to be the lead sponsor on the legislation, despite his MassMutual connection, was because of his extensive history working on retirement issues. “The work that I have done on retirement savings has been substantial. I have paid great attention to it,” Neal said.
“I have had a leadership position on retirement issues. Members of our caucus look to me for advice on this. Why would I attempt to embrace a nefarious position?”
Listen to the entire interview with Representative Richard Neal above.