Franchot Using MD Pension Fund As Campaign Tool?

Unfree State

While current Gov. Martin O’Malley’s poll numbers are in the dumper, it appears his fellow Democrat Comptroller Peter Franchot is using the state pension as a campaign tool against him.

O’Malley’s nemesis and potential challenger yesterday shared the spotlight with Civil Rights activist Rev. Jesse L. Jackson in Chicago at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference where he told a receptive audience that he favored using more minority money managers to oversee Maryland’s $38-million pension fund.This is the second time within weeks that Franchot has used the pension fund to woo substantial voting blocks.

It was just a few weeks ago when Franchot publicly called for the state to invest some of the state employee pension proceeds into the highly volatile biotechnology industry. This photo op came only days after O’Malley unveiled a 10-year, $1.1 billion investment strategy for the state’s bio-tech industry.

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While both groups thought such investments and management changes are great ideas, the pensioners have not had their chance to weigh in on Franchot’s proposals.

How do you think state employees and current pensioners will react to Franchot’s plans for their pension, if he challenges and beats O’Malley in 2010? Will they be for them, or against them — and why?

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