When is a government watchdog not really a watchdog?
When he rolls over and lays at the feet of his master rather than sink his teeth into a program that he’s been tasked to guard.
Such appears to be the (unsurprising) case with Herbert Allison, Jr. (pictured), a former Wall Street executive (Merrill Lynch and TIAA-CREF) until he was appointed president and CEO of Fannie Mae in 2008, after it was put into conservatorship. Subsequently President Obama named (and the Senate confirmed) him as overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the $700 billion asset acquisition fund that bailed out Wall Street financial institutions. He served in that role for about 15 months, until September 2010.
It's no secret that many union-sponsored pension plans lack the assets needed to cover liabilities. And a major reason for this lies with the gullibility, and on due occasion dishonesty, of their fiduciaries. Major case in point: the theft of tens of millions of dollars from six union pension plans entrusted to Chicago-based equity fund manager John Orecchio. On July 22, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois filed an information count against Orecchio, charging him with embezzling approximately $24 million from his clients. The action, which follows a similar Securities & Exchange Commission complaint of nearly three years ago, provides a window into the overlapping worlds of high finance and organized labor. It also should serve as a reminder to the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil Obama Labor Department that union members have a right to maximum transparency as to how their dues and retirement contributions are being spent.
Top AFL-CIO and AFSCME bosses have recently threatened several Wall Street firms with pulling union pension funds from anyone who dares to suggest individuals, rather than the federal taxpayer, be allowed to invest their Social Security dollars. The union threat letters went to nine firms that manage billions in pension assets for union members: Fidelity Investments, J.P.Morgan, State Street Global Advisors, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Am. Express, Chase Manhattan, CitiGroup and Bankers Trust N.Y. [Washington Times 2/19/99]