Know who your retirement money is supporting?
“California’s pension fund, the largest in the nation, runs on contributions from taxpayer-funded state agencies and their employees. It has long drawn scrutiny over whether its mandate of seeking strong returns meshes with liberal Californians’ expectations of ethical investment. Some of its investments drawing recent scrutiny have included oil pipelines, retailers that sell semiautomatic rifles, Russian sovereign debt and coal-producing companies.”
The National Enquirer has been one of President Trump’s most controversial allies, delivering scathing coverage of his opponents to supermarket checkout lines and funneling $150,000 to one of his alleged mistresses to buy her silence.
So it will probably come as a surprise to many California state employees and taxpayers to learn they were helping fund those efforts.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, California’s massive public pension fund, CalPERS, was one of the biggest investors in the debt-laden owner of the National Enquirer, according to public records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
Through an investment managed by a New Jersey hedge fund, California’s public pension fund appears to have owned as much as one-third of American Media Inc., the National Enquirer’s parent company, in 2016. It is not clear whether CalPERS continues to hold a major stake in the tabloid publisher.
Fewer than a third of California voters cast their ballots for Trump, who remains deeply unpopular in the state.
Informed of the investment, Jeremy Bulow, a professor of economics at Stanford University, laughed in disbelief.
“I’m sure lots of CalPERS [plan holders] will be happy to know they were paying hush money to help get Trump elected,” he said. “That’s going to make them feel real good about their pension fund managers!”
The news organization Maplight reported last year that California was one of three states whose pension funds had invested in the privately held publisher, although it did not detail how much of the company the state fund controlled.