The John Arnold behind pension theft and Pay for Success.

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Former Enron Executive John Arnold.

As I and Bev Johns have been writing here, there is a good possibility the reauthorized ESEA will include language specifying the use of Pay for Success.

Pay for Success uses the sale of social impact bonds (SIBs) to pay for programs aimed at reducing the numbers of students receiving special education services. Wall Street investors like Goldman Sachs receive returns on their investments based on the numbers of students not receiving special education services.

Pay for Success claims a 99% reduction in the number of students needing services in Utah.

That claim is frightening. And baloney. Special needs students need services and are not receiving them.

Chicago is now using social impact bonds and Pay for Success in its funding of pre-K.

Is there a privatization idea that Rahm doesn’t love?

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation is one of the big corporate promoters of Pay for Success.

LJAF’s funding will help to establish the Urban Institute’s Pay for Success Initiative, which will include a suite of technical resources that are designed for each of the parties in a PFS project—the government, service providers, evaluators, and funders. The resources include materials to help governments determine whether a PFS project is the most effective and cost-efficient way to address a particular issue, as well as tools to help structure deals, establish benchmarks for success, and identify a method to evaluate whether a project is successful.

Using this classic privatization model, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation will be usurping the government function of determining what counts as success for students with special needs.

If you don’t remember who John Arnold is, he is the corporate foundation money behind the theft of public employee pensions.

Arnold is a former Enron Executive.

In September of 2012, David Sirota wrote a pension piece for Salon about how the Pew Charitable Trust and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation were leading a campaign against public employee pensions.

This Pew-Arnold partnership began informally in 2011 and 2012 when both organizations marshaled resources to try to set the stage for retirement benefit cuts in California, Florida, Rhode Island and Kansas. With legislative success in three of those four states, Pew and Arnold created a formal partnership in late 2012 that targeted another three states, Arizona, Kentucky and Montana.

Explained Sirota:

In the lead-up to his anti-pension partnership with Pew, Arnold’s most relevant connection to pensions and retirement security came from working at Enron – a company whose collapse destroyed its own workers’ pensions and helped to damage the financial stability of public pension funds across America. Indeed, as the New York Times reported, “The rapid decline of the Enron Corporation devastated its employees’ retirement plan.” Meanwhile, in a separate story, the newspaper noted that “across the United States, pension funds for union members, teachers, government employees and other workers have lost more than $1.5 billion because of the sharp decline in their Enron holdings.”

Going after retired public employees on a pension and special needs students.

John Arnold. All American.

Turning Illinois into Enron. Go Blackhawks.

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Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise (right) checks Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith during an April 7, 2015 game in Chicago.

Former Enron executive John Arnold wants to do to Illinois workers what he did for Enron.

He is one of those who would like to see Governor Private Equity and who my friend Pasaquale calls Mayor 9fingers run government like a business.

The Enron business.

Not really like a business.

For business.

David Sirota wrote about John Arnold:

In the lead-up to his anti-pension partnership with Pew, Arnold’s most relevant connection to pensions and retirement security came from working at Enron – a company whose collapse destroyed its own workers’ pensions and helped to damage the financial stability of public pension funds across America. Indeed, as the New York Times reported, “The rapid decline of the Enron Corporation devastated its employees’ retirement plan.” Meanwhile, in a separate story, the newspaper noted that “across the United States, pension funds for union members, teachers, government employees and other workers have lost more than $1.5 billion because of the sharp decline in their Enron holdings.”

Now Arnold is doing his dirty work in Illinois. His John and Laura Arnold Foundation has given $5 million dollars to a pro-business PAC backing the governor and the mayor’s pension busting agenda.

Billionaire Houston couple heavily involved nationwide in pension and education changes opposed by unions — issues shared by Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel — has contributed $5 million to a state political action committee, campaign finance records showed Thursday.

IllinoisGO PAC’s executive director is is Greg Goldner who ran 9fingers’ first congressional campaign and heads a consulting company promoting red light cameras.

Red light cameras. How about that!

The Arnolds also have given to Emanuel’s re-election campaign and to Illinois education advocacy groups opposed by teachers’ unions.

Records show the Arnolds gave Emanuel and the Emanuel-aligned Chicago Forward super PAC $460,600, including $250,000 for the mayor’s successful runoff bid against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia on April 7.

In addition, the Arnolds have given $21,000 to Stand for Children Illinois PAC and another $21,000 to Democrats for Education Reform Illinois PAC, both groups seeking to reduce the influence of teachers unions among their traditional Democratic allies.

And Blackhawks fans. Check this out:

IllinoisGO also said Chicago businessman Matt Hulsizer has made a multimillion dollar contribution to the PAC, though it has not yet been recorded by the State Board of Elections. Hulsizer is co-founder and CEO of Peak6 Investments L.P. and a minority owner of the Minnesota Wild, which plays the Blackhawks in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs beginning Friday.

Hulsizer has given Stand for Children Illinois $474,000 since 2010. He also gave Emanuel $100,000 for the mayor’s 2011 election, $5,300 for Emanuel’s re-election and $5,300 for Rauner’s 2014 campaign for governor.

Go Blackhawks!

NPR wants their name taken off program on Chuy that was critical of Rahm.

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NPR says that journalistic standards have caused them to remove their name, pulled their branding, from an episode of Latino USA about Chicago’s mayoral race.

The show aired last week.

It is broadcast in Chcago on WBEZ, Sundays at 2PM.

The program included those who criticized Rahm as “caring only about millionaires and billionaires.”

The note from NPR producers included this:

“Chuy and the battle for Chicago,” the April 3, 2015, episode produced by Latino USA, does not meet NPR’s editorial standards. NPR distributes Latino USA to more than 130 stations, and did not have an opportunity to review the program prior to distribution.

In the episode, his opponent and other critics make some serious charges about Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the way he has governed the city. There are mentions of “financial mismanagement,” that he cares only about “millionaires and billionaires,” that he threw immigration reform “under the bus” and that decisions he made while working for President Obama led to deportations. The episode appeared just four days before Chicago’s run-off election.

But there are no responses to those charges from Emanuel or his aides. There was no mention in the episode about whether Latino USA even tried to get any comment from them.

In fact, a Latino USA producer did contact the Emanuel campaign to get its assistance in reaching prominent Latino supporters of the mayor. But the campaign also needed to be informed that specific complaints would be heard during the episode and then be given a chance to respond. If the campaign wouldn’t cooperate, Latino USA needed to find and use previous responses.

Conversely, almost no critical attention was focused on Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Latino USA‘s producers were aiming to tell a tale about what it is like to be a Latino running for the highest office in a major American city. That is a good story. But listeners learned little about Garcia’s record or how he would govern. Instead, he was more generally portrayed as a rebel who was fighting against “the machine.” He was the “long-time grassroots activist … giving one of the most powerful men in America a run for his money.”

“Fairness” is among NPR’s core principles. Our Ethics Handbook clearly states: “We make every effort to gather responses from those who are the subjects of criticism, unfavorable allegations or other negative assertions in our stories.”

Keeping retirement weird. On friends.

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John Arnold just gave $100,000 to the Rahm Emanuel campaign for re-election as Mayor of the City of Chicago.

It is actually small change if you recall that Rahm already has nearly $10 million in his campaign war chest. As a percentage, that’s not even a good tip.

Why would Arnold, who lives on Lazy Lane in Houston, Texas give a rat’s behind about who is Mayor of Chicago?

Arnold has a history of being interested in charter schools and pension theft.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe John Arnold and Rahm are just tight. Good friends.

Like the way Bruce Rauner and Rahm are friends.

Remember that story about Rahm and Bruce sharing an expensive bottle of Napa red at the dude ranch in Montana?

Friends are important. Important friends are even more important.

John Dillon and Glen Brown are friends of mine. Although we have never shared a bottle of expensive Napa red and we wouldn’t even know how to book a reservation at a Montana dude ranch.

We do share lunch at a Greek restaurant in Lombard every once in a while.

Glen loves the bread.

John, Glen and I have become friends since I retired. We met fighting for pension rights. Not just our own pensions, but for every public employee that was made a promise and has watched as the state has tried to break that promise.

John and Glen love explaining law and promises on legislative visits. And they produce fantastic fact-filled essays.

Read John’s last post and Glen’s response.

They are typical of what John and Glen have offered us for years.

I often joke that they are like jailhouse lawyers. They understand and can explain pension law better than the best lawyers that the Civic Committee can buy with their millions.

Oh, yes. I write about pensions. Sometimes I draw funny pictures. I can write a good rant now and then. But John and Glen are my go-to guys when I need facts. And they are the go-to guys for retirees all over the state of Illinois who follow their blogs.

Every once in a while I will call Glen up and go on a wild rant. I will be writing my next blog post out loud.

Glen will listen and say, “That sounds about right.”

It’s around this time that people give thought to what they are thankful for.

Over these last couple of years I am thankful to all the retired teachers I have come to know through the fight for our moral and legal right to what was promised us when we began our careers as teachers.

I am particularly grateful for meeting John and Glen.

It is good to know that we have been vindicated by the recent ruling of Judge John Belz who wrote, “The State of Illinois made a constitutionally protected promise to its employees concerning their pensions benefits.  Under established and uncontroverted Illinois law, the State of Illinois cannot break its promise.”

When some of our leaders grew weary and wanted to compromise on that promise, John and Glen could not agree that it was right to concede on a moral and legal obligation that the state had made to us all. I joined in that dissent.

And there you have it.

Rahm has his billionaire friends on Lazy Lane in Houston, Texas.

And I have mine.

The billionaire pension thief John Arnold puts his money on Rahm.

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John D. Arnold, pension thief.

The Chicago Reader’s Steve Bogira writes:

I can think of nine million reasons Jesus Garcia can’t beat Rahm Emanuel, a number that grows daily as the gifts to the mayor’s campaign fund roll in. On Monday, Emanuel’s committee reported the arrival of a contribution from billionaire former hedge fund manager (and charter school advocate) John D. Arnold, who lives on Lazy Lane (really) in Houston, but cares enough about the mayor’s race in Chicago to put a hundred grand down on Rahm. Garcia’s following among Lazy Lane billionaires is thought to be smaller.

Yes. Yes. Those who follow Chicago politics know full well that Rahm has nine million bucks in his campaign fund. Chuy Garcia, Bob Fioretti and Amara Enyia together don’t have enough money to pay for a dinner for three at Alinea. #ABC

But if money was all that mattered in Chicago politics than I would be emailing State Representative Toni Berrios with my concerns about pensions.

Instead of State Representative-elect Will Guzzardi.

Bogira does a good job of listing Chuy’s progressive cred.  And if current polling holds up, nine million bucks may not get Rahm a win in the primary where he needs 50%+1.

I know who John D. Arnold is.

Bogira is right. He is a Houston billionaire and former hedge fund manager. And yes, he is a charter school advocate.

He is also a public employee pension thief.

David Sirota writes in Salon about the pension busting plans proposed by the Pew Trust and John Arnold.

Arnold’s most relevant connection to pensions and retirement security came from working at Enron – a company whose collapse destroyed its own workers’ pensions and helped to damage the financial stability of public pension funds across America. Indeed, as the New York Timesreported, “The rapid decline of the Enron Corporation devastated its employees’ retirement plan.” Meanwhile, in a separate story, the newspaper noted that “across the United States, pension funds for union members, teachers, government employees and other workers have lost more than $1.5 billion because of the sharp decline in their Enron holdings.”

In light of Arnold’s corporate pedigree, it’s no surprise that, rather than “laying the foundation for effective government solutions,” as Pew’s mission promises, the Pew-Arnold partnership has been a campaign to reduce guaranteed retirement income for pensioners. As Marketwatch reported in 2013, Pew and Arnold are “advocat(ing) for cash balance plans.” They are advocating for 401(k)-style defined contribution plans as well.

Like President George W. Bush’s proposal to radically alter Social Security, many of these plans would transform stable public pension funds into individualized accounts. They also most often reduce millions of Americans’ guaranteed retirement benefits. In many cases, they would also increase expenses for taxpayers and enrich Wall Street hedge fund managers.

Arnold just gave $200,000 to Rahm’s campaign.

Chicago public employees and their family members who are Chicago voters: What do you think Arnold thinks he is buying?