Legislation introduced in the California Senate today would require candidates for the boards of CalPERS and CalSTRS to reveal detailed campaign financial information.
State Sen. Loni Hancock, the sponsor, said in a news release that the bill would apply to board members elected by participants of the $202.1 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, and $134.1 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento. Six board members for CalPERS' 13-member board and three for CalSTRS' 12-member board are elected; the rest are appointed.
Ms. Hancock said in the release that recent press reports about the influence of placement agents on CalPERS' investment decisions as well as the decline in value of its portfolio have raised serious questions about the possibility of outside influence on investment decisions.
“It is essential that we ensure there is complete transparency and accountability in how CalPERS and CalSTRS candidates raise campaign funds and what they do with the money,” she said in the news release.
Under current law, CalSTRS has no campaign filing requirements. Candidates for the CalPERS board are required to file reports during the campaign and once more afterward.
The legislation had been pushed by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, a state regulatory agency that enforces campaign finance rules. Ms. Hancock's bill is the latest in a series of legislative proposals to tighten scrutiny of public pension funds in California.
Larry Levin, a spokesman for Ms. Hancock, did not return a phone call seeking further comment by press time.