Philadelphia Pension Board Now Asking Investment Firms To Disclose Political Spending

Philadelphia scenery

For the first time, investment firms will be asked to submit campaign disclosure documents before managing money for the Philadelphia Board of Pensions.

Reported by PhillyDeals:

Over the opposition of Mayor Michael Nutter’s appointees, a majority of the trustees of Philadelphia’s $4.8 billion city pension plan have agreed to “request” dozens of private firms that are paid to manage city money — from giants like KKR and Barclays to local investors like Ted Aronson’s AJO Partners — to “disclose their political spending,” and will send current and future managers campaign finance disclosure requests, starting Jan. 1.

The move was cheered by city controller Alan Butkovitz, who had recommended this disclosure, noting the city has previously urged similar disclosures by the publicly-traded companies it invests in. “We will be asking for all donations from everybody,” including federal and state as well as city contributions, Butkovitz told me in a statement.

The four trustees representing city police, fire, white-collar and blue-collar workers joined Butkovitz in supporting the disclosure request, outvoting Nutter’s vote-no faction.The move follows the Securities and Exchange Commission’s first-time-ever order that a private money manager, Wayne-based TL Ventures, return $300,000 in state and city pension fees after founder Robert Keith gave cash gifts to Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter while getting paid to manage state and city pension funds, in violation of a 2010 federal law limiting contributions to officials with influence over pension boards.

Investment firms won’t be forced to disclose their spending – but they will be “urged” to by trustees.

The resolution can be read here.