What in tarnation is Chuck Reed up to? Pension reform, of course. The mayor of San Jose got future benefits for city employees scaled back last year with Measure B, and now he’s taking aim at a state ballot measure with the help of Texas moneymen. In a Behested Payment Report filed in August, Reed informed the city that he asked a shadow organization called Action Now Initiative to give $200,000 to the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, which is helping to stage a statewide pension reform push for next year or 2016. Reed told Fly that people from the Arnold Foundation, a Houston-based philanthropic organization founded by former Enron exec John Arnold and his wife, helped put him touch with the group, but he would not say who he talked to or what was discussed. “I’m not going to reveal names, because they’ll end up in your newspaper and people might cause trouble for them,” Reed said. After some digging and a quick chat with Austin, Texas lobbyist Chuck McDonald, Fly gave a call to Action Now Initiative director Alison Ferguson. Wouldn’t you know, it went unreturned. Arnold, described by Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi as “a dickishly ubiquitous young right-wing kingmaker with clear designs on becoming the next generation’s Koch brothers,” sounds like a real gem, having made his money by cashing out an $8 million bonus just weeks before Enron went belly up. After that, he made his fortune betting on natural gas commodities as a hedge-fund manager. Reed said he doesn’t know the details of Arnold’s past but insists he’s building a bi-partisan coalition with Arnold and his wife Laura—listed in IRS filings as directors for Action Now Initiative—as they both supported President Obama. While true, the Arnolds appear to be the kind of Dems that exist only at the highest peaks of Wall Street. But Reed didn’t just dial up the Arnolds’ minions. He also behested $50K from Richard Riordan, the Republican former mayor of Los Angeles, $25K from pension-busting businessman George Hume and another $25,000 from VC billionaire Michael Moritz and his wife, Harriet Heyman. The latter two payments went to the Coalition for Fair and Sustainable Pension, courtesy of Sutton Law Firm, which Reed enlisted to handle his Measure B PAC.
(H/T The Daily Fetch)