Thursday, October 27, 2016

In Massachusetts, "pay to play" happens via donations

This is pretty dense stuff, but I urge you, Massachusetts denizens, to read David Sirota's piece published today in the International Business Times, entitled "Wall Street Firms Make Money From Teachers' Pensions--and Fund Charter Fight."
Their funding the charter question isn't the biggest concern of the piece, though. It's that, though we have a laws that basically say, no, you can't donate to someone's election campaign and get pension business that way from the government:
The cash flowing to the Massachusetts school initiative spotlights more than just a fight over education policy: It exemplifies one of the ways in which the securities and investment industry can get around a federal rule that was designed to restrict financial executives from giving campaign cash to governors with the power to influence state pension business. 
In the case of Massachusetts, since the federal rule does not cover money donated to governors’ policy initiatives, executives banned from donating directly to Gov. Baker are able to give to a constellation of groups that are pushing his pet cause — and that in some cases are advised by Baker’s political associates. Meanwhile, Baker’s appointees at the state pension board are permitted to continue delivering investment deals and fees to those same donors’ firms.
So basically, they're funding what we now know from the Globe's report is very much Baker's pet initiative and are getting the business of the state pension system (whose board is appointed by the Governor).
Not pretty.

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