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Investment chiefs defend process, transparency

Investment chiefs defend process, transparency

The Associated Press
September 21, 2017 01:53 PM

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Officials who oversee a multibillion-dollar retirement fund for New Mexico's public educational employees are denouncing any suggestions that political contributions have influenced investment decisions.

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Officials with the Educational Retirement Board on Wednesday took issue with an online report that raised questions about political donations made by financial firms that were awarded millions in investment work by the state of New Mexico.

The board's chief investment officer, Bob Jacksha, said the board does not make investments based on whether someone makes campaign contributions.

While Gov. Susana Martinez appoints three of the board's seven members, Jacksha said it's the board staff and an investment selection committee that make decisions regarding which firms to hire.

Jacksha also noted that information about prospective managers, including campaign donations, is collected and discussed during public meetings.

A Democratic state lawmaker is calling for an investigation after questions were raised about political donations made by financial firms that were awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in investments by the state of New Mexico.

New Mexico Finance Authority Oversight Committee Chairman Bill McCamley said Thursday he has written to Attorney General Hector Balderas, asking him to investigate any possible violations of state law.

A report by the International Business Times and the nonprofit MapLight says people at firms that handled state investments contributed to Republican political groups and GOP Gov. Susana Martinez.

The governor's office says the political contributions were properly disclosed.

In the past, New Mexico was shaken by an alleged pay-to-play scheme involving state investments during the administration of former Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat.

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