07 August 2016

David Sirota Collects Another Scalp

Last month David Sirota's reporting revealed conflicts of interest in the review of the merger between Anthem and Cigna, resulting in regulatory and political push-back against the deal.

This month, his reporting of Chris Christie's sweet heart deals with political contributor hedge funds has led to the New Jersey pensions backing away from the deals:
Governor Chris Christie’s pension officials on Wednesday signed off on a major divestment of hedge funds — a move that is expected to save taxpayers and retirees tens of millions of dollars in fees that had been flowing to Wall Street. The decision caps an intensifying campaign against the hedge fund investments by groups representing retirees.

The campaign was prompted by an International Business Times investigative series that first spotlighted the skyrocketing fees.

At a meeting of the Christie-controlled State Investment Council, pension officials cut in half the amount of state pension money that will be allocated to hedge funds, according to a press release from the New Jersey state AFL-CIO. That $3 billion reduction was part of an overall reduction of pension investments in higher-risk “alternative investments” that generate big fees, but whose returns have in many cases failed to keep pace with low-fee stock index funds. In all, the reduction in hedge fund investments is expected to save more than $120 million in fees next year, according to the labor federation, whose retiree members rely on the pension system.


After a decade of public pensions pumping more retiree money into alternative investments, new questions have recently been raised about the fees and returns generated by the strategy. Major pension funds in California and New York have reduced their investments in hedge funds.

Back in 2014, before the national debate over pension fees had intensified, IBT first began reporting on how Christie’s administration had significantly increased the amount of pension money flowing to high-fee alternative investment firms. The two-pronged year-long series explored the politics of pension investments as well as the revenue implications of the investment shift.

Under Christie, pension investments flowed to politically connected firms whose employees had delivered campaign donations to Christie-linked political groups. IBT also documented how Christie’s political team was in contact with the governor’s top pension adviser. That adviser’s private firm concurrently invested in a fund he had directed public pension money into. The adviser subsequently resigned after the state’s largest labor federation filed an ethics complaint against him.
So, these Gaultian supermen on Wall Street have once again been proved to be, "parasites", "looters", and "moochers."

We need to shut down this sort of unproductive rent seeking.


Post a Comment