In a letter Tuesday to the SEC, Senator Bob Bennett of Utah asked the agency to investigate whether there is a practice of law firms making campaign donations to officials who oversee government pension plans so that they can subsequently be selected to represent those funds as plaintiffs in securities class actions.
The Deseret News reports that in the letter, Bennett writes that
“Sweetheart deals that result from generous campaign contributions by investment companies and law firms take money out of the pockets of retired teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public employees who are members of pension funds. Public employees need to be assured that there is no ‘pay-to-play’ or conflict of interest occurring on the part of the elected officials controlling the funds.”
His letter reportedly asks the SEC to broaden its ongoing “pay-to-play” investigation into pension fund managers and financial firms to also include law firms and attorneys selected to file securities class action lawsuits for pension plans.