Remember Enron billionaire John Arnold and Kentucky Retirement Systems? No? Here you go.
Turns out the state didn’t spend a dime on that Pew report, according to the Legislative Research Commission. It was done for free. Funded by John Arnold.
Why is that a major concern?
Rhode Island’s rollback of public-employee retirement benefits has turned the small state into a national battleground over pensions.
But little known is that a key player in the campaign to curtail pension costs in Rhode Island was financed, in large part, by a Houston billionaire who sees the state as an opening salvo in a quest to transform retirement systems nationwide.
Over the past two years, the Arnold Foundation spent more than $7 million on pension-related efforts and is expanding its effort nationally, according to Josh McGee, vice president of public accountability for the foundation.
The Arnolds provided money and support to convince residents of San Diego and San Jose, Calif., to reduce city pension costs in votes earlier this year. Their foundation currently is working on pension issues in Kentucky, Montana, Illinois and Arizona, providing everything from actuarial services to financial and legal advice.
Afscme officials say Ms. Raimondo’s alliance with the Arnolds shows she is out of step with the interests of working-class Rhode Islanders. “You know that old saying, which side are you on?” said Steve Kreisberg head of collective bargaining for Afscme. “Gina Raimondo has made it very clear she is on the side of the investor class.”
John D. Arnold, a former Enron Corp. trader in Texas who became a billionaire by buying and selling natural gas, is bankrolling a group supporting changes to limit California’s pension-fund obligations.
Want to take a look at some of the alleged non-partisan stuff the Arnold Foundation publishes? Get a load of this (Warning: External PDF Link) right-wing diatribe written by Robert Costrell. He publishes the major paper on accounting and actuarial assumptions used by the far right to destroy public pensions. And he’s well-known for being Mittens Romney’s advisor on educational issues.
Nothing to see here, move along, it’s just a trillion dollars at stake.