IL TRS Reacts To Federal Investigation

August 12, 2005 ( - The Illinois Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) is considering a proposal to ban outside consulting deals like the one with Republican National Committee treasurer Robert Kjellander that is now under investigation.

Kjellander earned $4.5 million representing an investment firm The Carlyle Group for business it has done with the pension board (See  Report: Illinois Pension Probe Focusing on GOP Bigwig ).   According to the Chicago Tribune, in an appearance before the board, Carlyle pledged to no longer use intermediaries when seeking future investments with the TRS.   The fund has invested $500 million in six funds with The Carlyle Group.

Jon Bauman, executive director of the teacher pension fund, said he would recommend that the board eliminate finders fees of the type paid to Kjellander, according to the Tribune.

The TRS was subpoenaed by federal investigators for documents on deals with investment firms and consultants who represented firms wanting business from the pension board.   Two attorneys and a former board trustee have already been charged for soliciting kickbacks from firms wanting to do business with the fund (See  Attorneys Indicted In IL State Pension Scandal  and  IL TRS Trustee Charged in Kickback Scheme ).   The former trustee, Stuart Levine, has pleaded not guilty.   The attorneys are expected to plead guilty.

The Tribune reports that a spokesperson told them authorities are also looking at records regarding the funds investments inHopewell Ventures, a venture capital firm run by former Democratic National Chairman David Wilhelm.

Neither Wilhelm nor Kjellander have been charged with any wrongdoing.