Journalist David Sirota has written a series of reports since over the last five months detailing the possible conflicts of interest and pay-to-play violations under the surface of the New Jersey pension system.
On Monday, Christie gave his first extended response to the allegations and denied them categorically. From Politicker NJ:
“There’s no appointed people in my administration that make those decisions,” Christie responded when asked about the allegations, reiterating an earlier defense of his administration and brushing off the accusations as innaccurate. “Those decisions are all made by folks in the Department of Treasury who are career employees. And the appointed folks on the pension board, both Republicans and Democrats, don’t make decisions about individual investments.”
“So all of those are just factually incorrect,” Christie said. “Nobody in my office had any input or discussion in any way with anybody from Treasury or the pension board for that matter about how we invest our pension funds.”
He also said “nobody should be complaining” when it comes to the state’s pension fund, lately burdened with millions in underfunded liabilities, given a high rate of anticipated returns– 7.9 percent — on the fund’s investments.
“And over my fours years as governor we’ve made 12 million over the 7.9 percent,” he added. “So the investments have gone very well.”
A major New Jersey union filed an ethics complaint against the pension system earlier this summer. The union said in the complain that the chairman of the State Investment Council “violated the Division’s own rules barring politics in the selection and retention of such funds and investments, and has further created an appearance of impropriety.”