Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and 45 other lawmakers are asking the SEC not to let IBM exclude from its proxy a shareholder proposal relating to its cash balance pension plan. The proposal had been submitted to IBM last fall by 330 employees and former employees who also are shareholders. IBM asked the SEC to let it exclude the proposal from its proxy on grounds that it relates to ordinary business and employees personal grievances. Mr. Sanders and the other lawmakers, in a Jan. 5 letter to SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, note the companys pension plan is discriminatory and age discrimination is "a serious social policy. If federal regulators find IBMs cash balance plan to be discriminatory, the company could be found to be in violation of federal pension law and could lose the tax-favored status of its pension fund, the letter notes: "The gravity of the issues is anything but ordinary.