The Campaign Spot

Who’s Watching Those Public Pension Funds?

I had a feeling that as soon as I tried to put together a list of ongoing Democratic scandals, I would miss a few . . . and Newsday reminds us of a lurking big one, laying out the strange web of connections between financial big shots, Democratic politicians, and those who manage public pension funds:

Public pension funds in all big states generate enormous piles of money that must be invested. Big financial companies want their hands on that capital. Elected officials have influence over those funds.
When the white-collar economy was stout — and investment funds flourished — dealings with insider middlemen might have seemed benign. But today’s slim pickings make popular targets of perceived fat cats.
The Democratic Party connections of financial players involved in areas of investigation by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office are commanding wide attention. Just in recent days, this much has come out:
Federal agents have questioned New Mexico investment fund officials about a Dallas-based equity fund that shared fees with [indicted Democratic political consultant Hank] Morris.
A small firm operated by Dan Hevesi, former state senator and son of the ex-comptroller, got $1 million in fees as intermediary in New York City and New Mexico.
Former New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli apparently worked alongside Morris, and also raised funds for [former New York State Comptroller Alan] Hevesi.
Steve Rattner, a party fundraiser picked by President Barack Obama to help revamp the auto industry, had his Quadrangle Group hire Morris.
Los Angeles Democratic fundraiser and ex-union official Daniel Weinstein’s firm shared fees with Morris, involving California pension funds.

Well, I’m sure if Bob Torricelli’s involved, it must be on the up-and-up.