The news that top Ohio Republicans turned over the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation fund to Republican Party donors shouldn’t be a surprise. There are accusations that both George and Jeb Bush did the same thing in their own states.
In Texas, Governor George Bush was accused of turning over $9 billion of University of Texas assets to campaign donors. Paul Krugman wrote about this in George W. Bush’s steps to wealth,
The University of Texas, though a state institution, has a large endowment. As governor, Mr. Bush changed the rules governing that endowment, eliminating the requirements to disclose “all details concerning the investments made and income realized,” and to have “a well-recognized performance measurement service” assess investment results. That is, government officials no longer had to tell the public what they were doing with public money, or allow an independent performance assessment. Then Mr. Bush “privatized” (his term) $9 billion in university assets, transferring them to a nonprofit corporation known as UTIMCO that could make investment decisions behind closed doors.
In effect, the money was put under the control of Utimco’s chairman: Tom Hicks. Under his direction, at least $450 million was invested in private funds managed by Mr. Hicks’s business associates and major Republican Party donors. The managers of such funds earn big fees. Due to Mr. Bush’s change in the rules, these investments were hidden from public view; an employee of Utimco who alerted university auditors was summarily fired. Even now, it’s hard to find out how these investments turned out, though they seem to have done quite badly.
In Florida the accusation is that Governor Jeb Bush tried to shore up Enron’s plummeting stock with millions from the state’s pension system. See AFSCME Investigation Reveals Mismanagement by Florida Trustees Led to State Pension System’s $335 Million Loss on Enron, Florida’s Last-Minute Enron Stock Buys Probed and Public Citizen — Letter to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. More here.
If you live in a state where Republicans run things, this might be a good time to see if the money is still there.