BILL TO CRACK DOWN ON LOOPHOLES IN CAMPAIGN REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CalPERS AND CalSTRS CANDIDATES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Larry Levin
Sacramento - Candidates for the Board of Directors of California's two biggest public pension funds would be required to reveal detailed campaign financial information under a bill introduced today by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland).
SB 1007 requires candidates for the Board of Directors of the California Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (STRS) to file on-going campaign contribution and spending reports during and after an election. It would place them in compliance with reporting rules required of other elected officials in the state.
"We all depend on our public pension systems operating in the best interests of the members who have entrusted them with their hard-earned wages. They have served us well in that regard." Senator Hancock stated.
"However, recent press reports about the influence of placement agents on PERS decisions as well as the decline in value of the PERS portfolio have raised serious questions about the possibility of outside influence on investment decisions," Senator Hancock continued.
"It is essential that we insure there is complete transparency and accountability in how PERS and STRS candidates raise campaign funds and what they do with the money," Senator Hancock added.
Under current law, STRS has no campaign filing requirements at all. Candidates for the PERS board are required to file reports during the campaign and once more afterwards. After the last filing, no further reports are required unless the candidate runs again. Therefore, there is no record of further contributions to the campaign account or the disposition of any remaining funds.
The bill is sponsored by State Controller John Chiang. According to Controller Chiang, "Requiring public pension board members to abide by the same campaign disclosure requirements as all other elected state officials will give state retirees, employees and the public more confidence in the way public pension funds are invested and spent."
Candidates are elected by the members of each of the retirement systems. Six board members of PERS and three of STRS would become subject to the new law.
"This is a campaign reporting loophole big enough to drive a truck through," Senator Hancock concluded. "I want it closed."