CalPERS board member Charles Valdes’ campaign is suspected of accepting $38,000 in donations from companies and firms that secured investment business from the $190.6 billion pension fund.
Mr. Valdes’ campaign account is under “active investigation” by California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, confirmed Roman Porter, the commission’s executive director.
The investigation was launched after an audit of Mr. Valdes’ campaign finances for his December 2005 re-election to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System board.
Among those who made donations is Alfred Villalobos, a former CalPERS board member, who has since become a placement agent that successfully secured $3.4 billion in commitments from the system from 2006 through 2008, during Mr. Valdes’ tenure as chairman of CalPERS’ investment committee, according to CalPERS records.
In addition, Mr. Villalobos through his company, ARVCO Capital Research, was the placement agent representing Apollo Global Management in 2007 and secured CalPERS’ purchase of a 10% stake in Apollo. CalPERS and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which also bought a 10% stake, paid a combined $1.2 billion, CalPERS records show.
During the same three-year period, according to CalPERS records, Mr. Villalobos’ company was the placement agent when CalPERS committed $1 billion to Apollo Investment Fund VII, $800 million to the Apollo Special Opportunities Managed Account and $650 million to the Apollo Investment Fund VI.
The commission is required by law to audit the campaign accounts of board members and other politicians who raise more than $1,000 and are involved in a runoff election. Mr. Valdes, who has been a CalPERS board member since 1984, was involved in a runoff in 2005.
Mr. Valdes current term expires in January 2010; he has said he will not seek re-election.
Neither Mr. Valdes nor his campaign manager Billy Joe Hughes could be reached by deadline for comment. CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco did not comment by deadline.