Pension consultant Chris Tobe considering run for Treasurer

08/05/2014 08:14 PM

PADUCAH — Democrat Chris Tobe, a former trustee of the Kentucky Retirement Systems who sought SEC Whistleblower status, says he may once again have a seat at the pension board table if voters elect him as state Treasurer in 2015, if he runs.

Tobe, who has written a book on the state of Kentucky pensions, says he would use the position to keep a watchful eye on the pension systems and investments.

“The treasurer does serve on the Kentucky Teacher’s Retirement board which is the largest pension plan in the state, and if I was treasurer I would be very involved in the Kentucky Retirement Systems and the other boards and the other places where the money is,” Tobe said. “There are 20 or 30 other boards which do bonding — like the pension obligation bonds which the treasurer sits on.”

Tobe served as an appointed trustee to the Kentucky Retirement Systems from 2008 to 2012, or one term in the position in which he was selected by Gov. Steve Beshear — who did not re-appoint Tobe to a second term. At the time Tobe was outspoken in his criticisms of investments and the use of placement agents — Tobe sought independent representation as the SEC investigated his claims, which he filed in 2010.

Tobe said he likely won’t make an official announcement on a run until after the fall races this year.

“It will surely be after this November election because we don’t know how things will happen and of course I have… an active public pension career and things I’m doing across the nation,” Tobe said.

Watch the interview to see what Tobe has to say about other pension related legislation for the next session.

During the 2014 legislative session Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, filed legislation to abolish the position of state treasurer. At the time McDaniel said the bill would save taxpayers an initial $1.3 million and an additional $750,000 once employees of the office were located elsewhere in state government.

However, Tobe says the move to abolish the office is an abdication of the state constitution.

“There is a reason the Kentucky constitution made constitutional officers to serve as some kind of check to the legislative and executive branches… the treasurers office has not done that historically in the last 20-years but I think the potential is there, and with my whole profile nationally with pensions that I could become a different type of treasurer,” Tobe said.

Democrat Dee Dee Ford, a 2012 Emerge Kentucky graduate and Bardstown business owner, is also considering a race for the position. Ford said she is 99 percent sure she will run for the post.

Republican Allison Ball, a Prestonsburg lawyer and Republican activist, announced her run run for treasurer in late May.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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