Golden State GOP to CalPERS: You're Too Liberal

April 30, 2004 ( - Not everyone is a fan of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) wielding its considerable clout to advance corporate governance issues.

The Golden State’s Republican Party criticized the giant pension fund in a statement posted to its Web site, suggesting that board members be fired for putting their activist social agenda ahead of profit.

The $160+ billion fund has been particularly active lately, concentrating on the issue of the independence of corporate directors and auditors. Targets have included Coca-Cola Co., Clear Channel Communications Inc, Boeing Co., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

“Like Donald Trump after a long day of watching tycoon wannabes struggle to gain his approval, CalPERS board members are trying to hand out pink slips to the directors at 90% of the companies in which the fund owns shares,” accused the GOP    statement .  “How unfortunate that the 1.4 million people served by CalPERS – not to mention taxpayers – can’t sit across the table from the recalcitrant CalPERS board and shout, ‘You’re fired!'”

CalPERS has also vowed to oppose decisions by companies to approve executive compensation not linked to performance.

“Given that CalPERS is responsible for providing retirement and health benefits to 1.4 million public employees, retirees and their families, you’d think getting a better return on their investment would be a top priority. Not quite,” the Republicans said in their statement.

The party criticized CalPERS board president Sean Harrigan and State Treasurer Phil Angelides, a Democrat. “As board members, Harrigan and Angelides have been pursuing a social agenda that exceeds the requirements of the New York Stock Exchange while ignoring the problems in their own backyard that have plagued CalPERSfor years,” it said.