New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is likely to win re-election to his post without much trouble, according to recent polls.
But amidst questions about conflicts of interest in the New Jersey pension system, DiNapoli seized an opportunity to tout his own pension reform measures in a letter to the editor of the Times-Union:
A recent commentary rightfully condemned the culture of “pay to play” in which politically connected financial executives gain access to public pension money in exchange for political campaign contributions (“Public pensions, politics don’t mix,” Oct. 3).
After I was appointed state comptroller, my top priority was to restore the office’s reputation after it was badly tarnished by a scandal based on this corrupt practice. We took immediate steps to set new standards and controls to codify ethics, transparency and accountability.
In time, we have returned the office’s focus to where it should be – on the investments and performance of the New York State Common Retirement Fund. This was accomplished by: Banning the involvement of placement agents, paid intermediaries and registered lobbyists in investments; issuing an executive order and pressing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to prohibit “pay-to-play” practices; and expanding vetting and approval of all investment decisions.
I’m proud to say the latest independent review of the pension fund by Funston Advisory Services found it operates with an industry-leading level of transparency and that our investment team acts within ethical and professional standards.
This review is a validation that we are on the right path and should reassure the people of New York that the pension fund is being managed properly and ethically.
DiNapoli (D) is running against political newcomer Robert Antonacci (R).
Photo by Awhill34 via Wikimedia Commons