MAY 17, 2006
Now that California State Treasurer Phil Angelides has officially announced his candidacy for governor, it’s noteworthy to mention that he has steered hundreds of millions of dollars in state public pension funds to a company that employs his good friend, Bill Clinton, as an investment advisor.
The former president makes millions advising the Los Angeles-based equity firm Yucaipa, which happens to be owned by a close friend of the Clintons’, a scandal-ridden billionaire named Ronald Burkle. Over the years, Burkle has contributed millions of dollars to Clinton’s campaigns and the Democratic party and he paid a big chunk of the $11 million in legal bills Clinton accrued during his presidential scandals. Additionally, Burkle is a huge benefactor of the Clinton Library in Little Rock.
Supposedly, Clinton helps find investment opportunities that help fulfill Yucaipa’s mission of investing in poor areas. Thanks to Angelides, whose gubernatorial campaign features U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as honorary co-chairs, Yucaipa has received $400 million from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) since Clinton became an adviser. Additionally, the California teacher pension system, also guided by Angelides, has invested $61.9 million with Yucaipa but has yet to see the “stellar” return promised by the firm.
The CalPERS investments aren’t doing much better. Documents show the Yucaipa funds were paid $8.7 million in management fees in 2003 and two of the three Yucaipa funds have negative rates of return. Independent Sources encourages California’s public employees to ask whether their pension money is being invested with their long-term financial health in mind, or the short-term political health of Phil Angelides.
In the meantime, Angelides will continue to cut deals that fill his famous friends’ pockets with public funds as he strives to take over the Golden State. Not surprisingly, Angelides and his family have contributed thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton, several of the infamous Kennedy family members as well as Boxer and Pelosi, the “honorable co-chairs” of his campaign.
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