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UPDATE: McCollum helps debunk Scott ads blasting Sink and pension fund

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: GOP officials appear to be linking Attorney General Bill McCollum to billions of dollars in losses – on paper – to the state pension fund during the 2008 financial meltdown.

McCollum has steadfastly refused to join other GOP elected officials in their support for Rick Scott, who defeated the attorney general in the August GOP governor’s race primary.

The Republican Party of Florida paid for a series of ads attacking Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat nominee for governor, for her role in the pension fund losses.

“Under current oversight, the fund has lost billions upon billions – and now Alex Sink is actually running ads on her questionable record overseeing SBA,” RPOF spokesman Dan Conston said in an e-mail in response to a reaction to McCollum’s pointed questioning yesterday to refute recent reports that the State Board of Administration made risky investments that endangered the pension fund.


Attorney General Bill McCollum may have finally put to rest speculation that he may eventually endorse Rick Scott in the governor’s race in the spirit of party unity.

Instead, he helped Scott’s opponent Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the Democrat candidate for governor, debunk ads bashing Sink for her role in the state pension fund’s loss of billions of dollars in value during the financial meltdown in 2008.

McCollum, who lost the GOP primary bid in a brutal battle against Scott last month, sits with Sink and Gov. Charlie Crist on the board of trustees that governs the State Board of Administration, which handles the pension fund and other investments.

In a public meeting yesterday, McCollum repeatedly asked SBA chief Ash Williams about reports that the pension fund is troubled and that the SBA made risky investments.

Williams assured the trustees the $119 billion fund is sound.

“The SBA is stronger and different then it was only two years ago,” Williams said.

He also refuted allegations that the investments were risky.

“The truth is they are performing,” McCollum said. “They are assets that pay back.”

UPDATE: Sink calls Scott deceptive, irresponsible for ‘scaring our retirees’

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: A spokesman for Rick Scott’s campaign responded to Alex Sink’s rant about her GOP opponent Scott’s attack ads, paid for by the Republican Party of Florida.

“As the St Petersburg Times reported, CFO Sink never declared a potential conflict and supported a no-bid contract to her former employer. Instead of looking for a correction from the St Petersburg Times, Sink is trying to draw attention from valid questions over her integrity and competence,” Scott campaign spokesman Joe Kildea said in an e-mail.

As far as her accusation that Scott is scaring pensioners, Kildea wrote: “She is trying to draw attention away from the facts (as reported in the St Pete. Times)”

Chief Financial Officer and Democrat governor hopeful Alex Sink went on a rant in response to questions about her GOP opponent Rick Scott’s attack ads accusing her of benefiting from a no-bid contract that went to her former employer and being responsible for the state pension fund’s $23 billion loss three years ago.

“You know that’s ridiculous,” Sink, a trustee along with Gov. Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum of Florida’s State Board of Administration, which handles pension funds for state and municipal workers.

“The whole market almost collapsed. Everybody’s 401K took a dive. And the good news is that independent authorities call the Florida pension fund one of the strongest investment pension funds in the country.
We are one of the strongest public pension funds in the country. He is out there scaring our retirees into thinking that their pensions are at risk. He’s irresponsible and shouldn’t be doing it.”

Sink was even more incensed over an ad accusing her of voting to give former employer Bank of America a no-bid contract when she may have held stock in the company. The Republican Party of Florida paid for both of the television ads.

(more…)

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