By Paul Gable
S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis has once again been subjected to political attacks by the members of the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission.
Loftis, one of seven commissioners, and the only constitutional officer on the commission, has taken his job of overseeing the policy and performance the retirement system fund too seriously for the six political appointees on the commission.
Two years ago, current commission chairman Reynolds Williams, a long-time member of the commission appointed by Sen. Hugh Leatherman, attempted to smear Loftis by alleging he and an acquaintance were involved in a ‘pay to play’ scheme with SCRSIC funds. Williams’ attempt included efforts to have Loftis removed from the commission by the S.C. General Assembly.
The General Assembly refused and a SLED investigation into the allegations totally exonerated Loftis. He was guilty of nothing more than attempting to bring openness and accountability to the commission that controls the state’s $27 billion public retirement fund.
The same is true today. Loftis recently criticized the commission for spending $296 million in investment fees last year while realizing a $125 million profit from the investments. That certainly seems to be reasonable criticism.
Citing a number of newspaper articles, radio and television interviews and blog posts, in which Loftis has criticized the commission during the past few years, Commissioner Edward Giobbe introduced a resolution to censure Loftis.
The other political appointees climbed on board. Just before the vote, Commissioner Travis Pritchett said this is not ‘a personal attack on the treasurer, it is an attack on a method of communication.’
Presumably that explanation makes sense to some in the political twilight zone that is Columbia.
If the other commissioners don’t like Loftis criticizing them for the extremely poor performance of the investment fund, maybe they should change their ways and demand much better performance from the highly paid staff they oversee.
Loftis speaks the truth about the commission and its investment funds. Rather than changing their ways, the rest of the commissioners choose to ‘shoot the messenger’ who tells this truth to the public.
This is a knife fight in the best traditions of South Carolina’s good ole boy system of government.
Read: Curtis Loftis Response