CA Bill to Require Pension Board Candidates Report Campaign Contributions

August 17, 2010 ( – The California Assembly has voted 69-1 to require anyone running for election to the boards of the state’s two massive public pension funds to disclose their campaign contributions.

The Associated Press reports that in part, the bill was intended to show whether any financial services companies that want to do business with the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) are trying to influence the candidates. The bill now goes back to the state Senate.  

Under SB1007, candidates would have to disclose any contribution of $5,000 or more within 10 days of receiving it and any contribution of $1,000 or more within 24 hours during the period immediately before an election, according to the AP.  

Six of CalPERS’ 13 board members are elected to four-year terms in vote-by-mail elections by CalPERS members. The remaining board members are appointed by the governor or are state officials who are required to serve on the board. Four of the 12 members of the CalSTRS board are elected.   

The bill follows scrutiny of the use of placement agents in many states. California authorities have sued former CalPERS officials Federico Buenrostro Jr. and Alfred R. Villalobos for their roles in an alleged scheme to get business for investment firms by giving pension officials luxury trips and other gifts (seeFormer CalPERS Officials Sued over Investment Scheme).  

In January, CalPERS released documents showing that private placement agents received more than $125 million to help investment managers win business from the pension fund (see CalPERS Releases Placement Agent Disclosures).