Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prevailing Wage Fallout - IPERS Fraud

Culver’s Influence Not Enough to Pass Prevailing Wage

Yesterday afternoon Kay Henderson had a column about her interview with House Speaker (for now) Pat Murphy. In it Murphy said that Governor Culver was working behind the scenes trying to influence Democrat legislators to support the legislation. As we all know the legislation failed to pass giving House Leadership a huge defeat, and now it looks like Speaker Murphy wants Culver to take his fair share of the blame too.

While Iowa Democrats tried their best to spin their way out of the defeat they suffered on Friday, and the 90 hour debacle that ensued after the vote, the blame game is now fully in effect. Speaker Murphy is clearly the biggest loser, but Culver is now a close second.

Culver more than anybody needed to olive branch this session to smooth over any bad feelings that were created when he vetoed the only piece of labor legislation that has been able to pass through both chambers, the collective bargaining bill. Now Culver needs to find another way to accomplish that goal before the end of this year’s legislative session. My money is on his $700 million bonding bill.

There is no conceivable way that the legislature can tackle bills like fair share, or collective bargaining after the messy prevailing wage fiasco in the House. If the Democrats try that they are complete morons. Instead, I think that prevailing wage language ends up in Culver’s $700 million dollar bonding proposal. Culver will state that the stimulus money from Father Obama requires a prevailing wage, and to keep things simple and fair, we need to use the same standards when dealing with the State’s bonding money. Its and easy argument for Democrats to make, and it allows Culver to send a $700 million dollar “I’m sorry” note to the union bosses.

Think about that for a moment. Culver is going to use $700 million of our tax dollars, and the tax dollars of some kid who’s in kindergarten right now, to make good with the unions to help his re-election next year. That sure sounds like Illinois and not the Iowa I know and love.

We need to prepare for the next fight.


$339 million dollars of IPERS funds have been frozen from one of its investment firms. This is alarming, and once again I think the main stream media is missing the story or asking the wrong questions. Here is part of the story that I found in the Globe Gazette:

Officials at the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System have terminated a contract with a California investment management firm being investigated and demanded the return of IPERS assets valued at about $339 million.

“I’m not putting any sugar on this one,” said State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, a member of the IPERS Investment Board and fund custodian. “I’m very, very concerned. We have at least $300 million at risk here.”

IPERS spokeswoman Julie Economaki said the action was taken against Westridge Capital Management of Santa Barbara, Calif., which has managed about 2 percent of IPERS’ investment portfolio since March 2007 as the result of a competitive selection process.

So State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald is the custodian of the IPERS fund. That makes sense. He is concerned that two members of Westridge have been suspended by the National Futures Association. That makes sense. But I also read in the story that Westridge was selected in March of 2007 to manage 2% of the fund, so I want to know how much research did IPERS custodian, State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald do when he let Westridge manage $339 million of our state workers retirement money. How did this happen?

I guess I’m sensitive to things like this because Governor Culver wanted to use the state workers retirement fund to invest in his Power Fund, a move that would have been disastrous for our state employees and retirees.


  1. Thanks Krusty, for a great article today. There's not much difference between O mortgaging the future and Culver doing the same thing.

  2. Nothing on the bill that would change Iowa's electoral college? Strange.

  3. I'm not even sure the electoral college proposal is constitutional. It sounds like the state trying to preempt federal law on the issue of how federal elections are run. Probably not going to fly.

  4. Yes it is possible. Nebraska altered the way they allot the electoral votes.

    I contacted Sen. Sodders today because he is my State Senator and I will also contact Mark Smith in the House.

    This "not even sure" horse crap responses are exactly why Republicans are in the minority - we speculate instead of attack and then we LOSE.

    10:48 - don't be lazy.

  5. Has the nebraska scheme been challenged in court? I only brought it up because that's another argument against it and another way to fight it. I have a real job. I don't have time to do legal research for free. But I can try to be helpful and give ideas for our legislators to have their minions research.

    11:54 - dont' be an ass.