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The 2017 Pension Political Power 25: Andy Puzder

  • By Peter Vasiliev

1. Andy Puzder
Secretary of Labor

Editors’ Note: Due to lack of support in the U.S. Senate, Andy Puzder has withdrawn his name for consideration to be Secretary of Labor. The editors of Institutional Investor will update this ranking when there is clarity surrounding the new nominee for this position.

As Donald Trump’s Labor secretary, Andy Puzder will lead the charge against workers’ rights for an administration that has committed to “make America great again” without the bedrock principles of modern organized labor: retirement security, access to health care, and a minimum wage. CEO of fast-food conglomerate CKE Restaurants, Puzder, 66, has a record of opposing increases to the minimum wage, new overtime rules and other regulations. When he assumes his new job, the Department of Labor boss and ERISA custodian — whose confirmation hearing is scheduled for February 2 — will find a host of pension issues on his doorstep. Key among them: leading the fight to gut the fiduciary rule, which forces investment advisers to act in clients’ best interests, and the thorny question of raising Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. premiums. The pension backstop lacks the funds to bail out all the plans it covers, but employers and unions are reluctant to pay more. In business Puzder has shown himself reluctant to lay much of his workers’ pension burden on his company: Hourly workers at CKE’s Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains aren’t unionized and don’t even have access to a 401(k) plan. The parent company’s 401(k) has no matching contribution or profit sharing, and its plan manager charges high fees. Puzder’s own financial disclosure form, filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, is due to be published any day and will show how much he himself has saved for retirement. — Michelle Celarier


The 2017 Pension Political Power 25
1. Andy Puzder
Secretary of Labor
2. Bruce Rauner
Governor of Illinois
3. Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education
4. Laura & John Arnold
Founders,
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
5. Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
6. Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Commerce
7. Tani Cantil-Sakauye
California Chief Justice
8. Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
9. Anthony Scaramucci
Founder, SkyBridge Capital
10. Kevin de León
California State Senator and President Pro Tempore
11. Mike Enzi
Chairman, Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security
12. Steve Sweeney
President,
New Jersey State Senate
13. Jerry Brown
Governor of California
14. Corey Lewandowski
Co-founder, Avenue Strategies
15. Paul Singer
President,
Elliott Management Corp.
16. Randel Johnson
Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
17. Joe Manchin
U.S. Senator
18. Kenneth Feinberg
Founder and managingpartner, Feinberg Rozen
19. Scott Walker
Governor of Wisconsin
20. Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO
21. Mike Rawlings
Mayor of Dallas
22. Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator
23. Kent Mason
Partner,
Davis & Harman
24. Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator
25. Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers

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