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Pa. treasurer says Corbett's lawyers mishandled pension investigation

| Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's elected state treasurer said in a letter obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday that lawyers for Gov. Tom Corbett have mishandled an investigation into unspecified possible misconduct by the chief investment officer of the $26 billion state government employees' pension fund.

The Dec. 4 letter from Treasurer Rob McCord to State Employees' Retirement Board Chairman Nick Maiale said he was troubled that the board's own lawyer waited nearly a month to tell the board two days earlier about the allegations concerning the investment manager, Anthony S. “Tony” Clark.

McCord is among the Democrats seeking the nomination to run against Republican Corbett, who is seeking a second term.

He said the delay by the board's acting chief counsel, Victoria Page-Wooten, called into question whether she had acted properly as the board's lawyer.

“Moreover, the failure by the governor's Office of General Counsel to share the allegations of possible criminal and unethical conduct by the system's chief investment officer during this two-month period resulted in the board's consideration and/or approval of investment actions that involve billions of dollars based upon recommendations from the very person who is the subject of these allegations,” McCord wrote.

Page-Wooten said McCord's letter was “very interesting” but declined additional comment.

McCord wrote that the board, which meets in Harrisburg on Wednesday, should not hire an investment manager until it knows that the process is free of conflict.

Office of General Counsel spokesman Josh Maus said in a statement that the office fields allegations of impropriety on a regular basis and handles them seriously.

“That obligation is to gather the facts and uncover the truth, and is far greater than grabbing headlines,” Maus said.

Clark was put on paid leave two weeks ago.

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