The California Public Employees' Retirement System building in Sacramento, California July 21, 2009. CalPERS, the state's public employees retirement fund, reported a loss of 23.4%, its largest annual loss.
The bad news in today's Los Angeles Times story on the goings on at CalPERS, the giant state pension fund, isn't that fund officials received free trips from financial firms with which CalPERS did business.
The bad news isn't that those fund officials didn't disclose those free trips.
The bad news is the reason why they didn't disclose trips: Because the trips are part of their contracts with the firms!
Always nice to have the corruption baked into the main course, instead of having to order it as a separate appetizer.
And of course, CalPERS won't release these contracts because they contain "trade secrets" -- which, for all the public (you know, those suckers who have to cover pension shortfalls when CalPERS investments don't do well) knows, could be how lavish a trip you have to give a CalPERS official to get investment business.
CalPERS says it changed this policy in 2008. But for all the public knows, financial firms could be supporting CalPERS staff in other ways.
Sunshine is needed here. Now.