And the billionaire is…

August 12, 2011

To:       Interested Parties
From:   Steven Maviglio, Californians for Retirement Security, 916-607-8340
Re:       And the billionaire is…

The “California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility” has finally heeded our calls for transparency and revealed its out-of-state bankroller as Texas billionaire John Arnold, a former Enron Corp. trader who built his fortune buying and selling natural gas.

Here are some excerpts from this morning’s coverage:

From Bloomberg (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-12/enron-billionaire-bankrolls-california-advocate-for-public-pension-changes.html):

“Arnold, who formed hedge fund Centaurus Advisors LLC in Houston after leaving Enron, started a foundation that Meredith Simonton, a spokeswoman, said has given $150,000 to the California group.

The organization set up by Arnold and his wife, Laura, a lawyer, plans to be involved in pension-overhaul efforts around the U.S., Simonton said by telephone from Houston… “Our attention to pension reform is not California- specific,” Simonton said. “We chose to get involved there because there are people who are engaged and choosing to illuminate the problems and address possible solutions.”

And from California Watch (http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/texas-billionaire-funds-california-pension-overhaul-group-12050):

“John Arnold, a former Enron trader who became a billionaire as a hedge fund manager, formed the foundation with his wife as a way to promote change in education, pensions and the criminal justice system. Although they give money to President Barack Obama and other Democrats, the Houston couple hired a conservative political strategist as president of the foundation.”

Meanwhile, Marcia Fritz, president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, is fishing for yet even more billionaires to assist in her group’s efforts to dismantle retirement security for California’s firefighters, teachers, school bus drivers and other public employees. According to California Watch: Fritz hopes the Arnolds give to future projects and perhaps even a high-stakes ballot initiative. “There’s not that many billionaires around,” she said. “I’m hopeful this would inspire others like them.”