By Paul Gable
South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis confirmed yesterday that he will seek re-election to his current office ending any speculation about his candidacy for governor in 2014.
This is important news for the citizens of South Carolina. Loftis brings openness, integrity and accountability to the job. He has been especially vigilant in attempting to end the secrecy and questionable practices of the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission, of which he is a voting member.
Those efforts to reform the SCRSIC made Loftis the target of an attempted political smear campaign in late 2011 featuring “leaked documents” and bogus claims of a supposed kickback scheme by two investment firms with close connections to, then, retirement system CEO Robert Borden.
Borden was the Lamborghini driving, $485,000 earning CEO of one of the worst performing state pension funds in the country. He didn’t want to lose that job.
One of my favorite parts of that time period at the SCRSIC was when Loftis, a voting member of the committee that provides oversight of the commission, was required to file a Freedom of Information request with the SCRSIC to get copies of Borden’s hotel, travel and entertainment expenses?
When the attempt to smear Loftis failed, committee chairman Reynolds Williams tried to get state law changed to have Loftis removed from membership on the oversight committee.
Think there is a lot to hide at the SCRSIC?
Williams is himself now the target of an investigation for conflict of interest with respect to legal services his law firm provided for clients with business before the retirement commission. Sources with knowledge of the investigation say it has been completed, but sits in the Attorney General’s office awaiting a decision.
The commission manages a state pension fund of $25 billion with a shortfall currently of approximately $16 billion against future liabilities. Word is the commission spent twice as much in management fees last year than it received in investment earnings.
Yes, there is continued need for strong, positive oversight of this failing fund to increase earnings and end apparent corruption associated with it. That’s why we are happy Loftis is staying in the Treasurer’s job if the voters continue to support him.