By Paul Gable
S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis and the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission will have a showdown in court Tuesday April 16th over transparency of retirement funds.
The commission, of which Loftis is a voting member, is suing Loftis in his position as custodian of the trust fund. The S.C. Supreme Court has accepted original jurisdiction on the case and has agreed to expedite a decision.
The court is holding in abeyance a decision whether documents and exhibits associated with the case will be allowed under seal or whether they will be part of the public record of the case.
At issue is Loftis’ refusal to sign a $50 million check for an “alternative investment” of state pension funds managed by investment firm Warburg Pincus. Loftis said he would not sign the check until the attorney for the SCRSIC has officially notified him in writing that all fees and other charges associated with the proposed investment are those approved by vote of the commissioners.
The only elected official to serve on the commission, Loftis has been critical of hidden fees and undisclosed perks for commissioners from the investment firms the commission does business with.
Loftis has been insistent on full transparency of SCRSIC business, which has been fought tenaciously by the other commissioners.
This lawsuit could go a long way to determining how much the public will be allowed to know about a commission that has been essentially secret until Loftis became a member.
Loftis said he will wear being sued by the SCRSIC as a “badge of honor.”
This showdown has been coming for a long time. It is time for a decision on just how much information the commission may withhold from public view.
To view the Supreme Court announcement of the case, visit: http://www.sccourts.org/whatsnew/displayWhatsNew.cfm?indexId=864