Texas Enron Billionaire’s Pension Reform Efforts Arrive in Colorado.

As we have seen, Josh McGee of the Texas-based John Arnold Foundation recently addressed the topic of Colorado PERA pension funding at a luncheon sponsored by Denver’s Donnell-Kay Foundation:




According to Texas AFT, John Arnold is funding “attacks” on public pensions across the United States:

” . . .the big-money man behind the attack on state and local pension funds, from California to Texas and beyond, is one John Arnold, a billionaire Houston hedge-fund operator who walked away from his role as an Enron trader with millions of dollars in bonuses before that notorious company went bankrupt.”



The organization California Watch has reported on the John Arnold Foundation’s efforts in California:

“A young Texas couple with a multibillion-dollar hedge fund fortune is bankrolling a series of reports by one of California’s most influential pension overhaul groups.”

“The until-now secret $150,000 grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility is sure to fuel speculation about who might fund a brewing battle over California’s public pension system.  Advocates of limiting pensions have been searching for a deep-pocketed donor to fund a multimillion-dollar ballot measure.”

“Steven Maviglio, Democratic consultant and spokesman for the union-backed Californians for Retirement Security, criticized the report’s funding.  ‘California voters have never taken kindly to out-of-state special interests or billionaires trying to influence our state’s public policy,’ he said.  ‘Concerns about California’s pension system are best addressed by Californians, not Texans.  We continue to believe that the best approach to address abuses in the pension system are through our elected representatives and the Legislature, and we are working hard to do just that.'”

“McGee said the foundation is looking to fund other educational activities but is prohibited from funding overt political work like ballot initiatives.”

“John Arnold once was renowned for his lucrative

natural gas trading at Enron.  He never was implicated in wrongdoing at the now-infamous company, but Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California once criticized him for allegedly refusing to answer, during a deposition, whether he had manipulated West Coast energy markets.  A committee representing former Enron employees sued Arnold and other top traders for receiving huge bonuses, including $8 million for Arnold, right before Enron collapsed.  Arnold and the committee settled on confidential terms, according to court records.”

“But the Arnolds hired conservative political consultant Denis Calabrese as president of their foundation.  Calabrese has written columns on the Republican Party’s best strategies for success, and his firm’s clients include Texans for Rick Perry and GOP megadonor Bob Perry.”

“The foundation also recently hired Meredith Simonton, former executive director of the conservative Citizen Leader Alliance, as communications director.”

“The foundation’s McGee said: ‘We’re interested in solutions, and I think that’s the key thing. Ideology doesn’t really come into it.'”



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