Call for federal investigation of Rhode Island pension reform - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


Call for federal investigation of Rhode Island pension reform

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

It is a scathing 100 page report that criticizes State Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and how she has handled pension reform for state employees.

The report was commissioned by organized labor, which has opposed those same reforms.

"The treasure has entered into secret deals, with hedge fund major investors. Allowing them to profit at the expense of the state pension fund. This amounts in my view as a license to steal," said Ted Siedle of Benchmark Financial Services.

Reports say the state's payments to hedge fund managers have gone from 20 million dollars before Raimondo took office, to about 70 million today.

But she says pension reform has been a good investment.

"It saved the people of Rhode Island four billion dollars and it saved the pension system. So, change is hard. They're (the unions) wanting to be an obstacle to change. I think we need to move forward," said General Treasurer Gina Raimondo (D-RI).

The unions want the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission to investigate.

"We're public workers, who we believe, this report shows, the pension fund is not being soundly invested. And there are some things we need to look at further," said Michael Downey, Council 94 President.

The General Assembly approved pension reform by a wide margin.

Raimondo, who may run for governor, says the union accusations smack of politics.

"It could be a personal attack. I hope it's not. This isn't about politics or personal attacks. It's time to stay above that," Raimondo said.


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