Florida governor and Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis has been crusading against “woke” investments for allegedly threatening his state employees’ retirement funds. But the most imminent threat to Florida public employees’ retirement dollars appears to be the massive state pension investments that have gone to some of the Republican Party’s Wall Street donors under DeSantis’ watch.
Despite a federal anti-corruption rule designed to prevent donors from receiving pension investments, private equity executives have donated millions to political groups supporting DeSantis, all while the governor oversaw the transfer of more than $1 billion of Florida public employees’ retirement dollars into these donors’ high-fee, high-risk “alternative investments.”
A Lever review found that had the state pension fund instead been invested in a simple, low-cost index fund, compared to its present mix of holdings, teachers, police officers, and other state employees would have about $10 billion more in their retirement funds.
“From a distance, it sure looks like the pensioners are getting hurt here,” Kathleen Clark, an ethics expert and professor at the Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law, told The Lever. “It certainly seems like it raises the distinct possibility that the decisions that the pension board is making may be serving DeSantis’ political interests and not the pensioners’ interest.”DeSantis Allows Anti-“Woke” Giveaway To Big Wall Street Donors