On the day before state lawmakers are scheduled to vote on his continued service as a member of the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission (SCRSIC), State Treasurer Curtis Loftis got lit up again by Adam Beam (above), a “reporter” at The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper.
How convenient right?
For those of you unfamiliar with Beam, he’s spent his first few months on the state government beat sucking up to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and the status quo leaders of this powerful commission – all of whom are eager for Loftis to stop reminding taxpayers what a wasteful, inefficient and under-performing pension fund they’re running.
Accordingly, Beam has devoted gallons of ink to an alleged “pay-to-play” scam involving Loftis while completely ignoring the real scandals taking place at this corrupt agency. Beam has also conveniently ignored the $1.8 billion that the pension fund has lost in the last six months thanks to the ill-conceived investment practices that Loftis is attempting to reform.
Beam’s latest “revelations?”
That Loftis recommended a pair of investment firms to the commisson that were “soon thereafter were represented by his friend Charleston businessman Mallory Factor.”
First of all, how exactly did Beam establish that Loftis and Factor are “friends?”
We keep hearing that characterization used prominently in his stories, but when we asked the Treasurer’s Office recently for any and all emails between Loftis and Factor over the past year, we were provided with precisely one document. Also, Factor has never contributed to Loftis’ political campaigns – and none of the firms Factor pitched to the commission ever received any work from the state (although it’s likely our fund might have lost a lot less money if they had).
In other words … if this is a “pay-to-play” scandal where’s they “pay?”
And far from being a “friend of Loftis,” Factor is as near as we can tell an acquaintance – and certainly not as close to the Treasurer as Beam’s source for all of these “scandalous” allegations is to former retirement czar Bob Borden, who was forced from his position in December thanks to Loftis’ investigation into the commission’s soaring budgets.
Our sources at both the S.C. Attorney General’s office and the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) tell us that Loftis is in the clear as it relates to their investigation.
Apparently Beam is hearing differently … or isn’t listening to what he’s being told. Either way, he’s doubling down on the “pay-to-play” charge against Loftis – and deliberately timing his hit so that it will be fresh in State Senators’ minds as they vote to strip Loftis of his oversight role.
Seriously … if you think S.C. Sen. Greg Ryberg‘s office isn’t photocopying Beam’s story and placing it on the desk of every State Senator then you’re crazy.
Yet while Beam continues making a mountain out of a mole hill (and turning a blind eye to the real corruption and rapidly deteriorating fiscal health of the state pension fund), it’s important to remember a few facts …
First, this fund’s holdings are tanking … but only one state official (Loftis) has proposed diversifying them.
Second, this fund’s management fees are obscene … but only one state official (Loftis) has proposed reducing them.
Third, this fund’s liabilities are unsustainable … but only one state official (Loftis) has proposed taking concrete steps to limit them.
No wonder he’s getting attacked!
At every step of this process, Loftis has been 100 percent correct as it relates to the policy that lies at the heart of this debate … which is why we will continue to support him until his detractors (namely, Adam Beam) prove that he’s done something … anything … wrong.