Local Politics

Moore Calls Lawsuit 'Frivolous'

Posted February 15, 2008 9:07 a.m. EST
Updated February 15, 2008 6:32 p.m. EST

— State Treasurer Richard Moore on Friday called a lawsuit filed against him by a state employees group frivolous and said it was politically motivated.

The State Employees Association of North Carolina sued Moore last month over records about the state's $90 billion pension fund. The group began requesting records about the fund's management last March, after a Forbes magazine article criticized Moore for accepting campaign contributions from employees of investment banks that sought to handle pieces of the fund.

SEANC stepped up its campaign for the records this week with full-page newspaper ads across the state.

Moore said his office has complied with the records requests, adding that the pension fund is among the top performers nationwide.

"There are no records that we haven't given. This is the most trumped-up thing I have ever encountered," he said at a news conference Friday morning. "All the money is accounted for. We've got nothing to hide."

Moore said SEANC is needlessly scaring workers and retirees about their pensions.

"I will not stand here and allow people to scare folks for politics," he said. "They're going to deny that this has anything at all to do with politics. My response to that is, 'Come on, shame on the SEANC leadership, and shame on (Lt. Gov.) Beverly Perdue.'"

Perdue is Moore's chief rival for the Democratic nomination.

SEANC spokesman Erica Baldwin denied any political motivation behind the suit.

"It's unfortunate that the treasurer is making this political," Baldwin said.

The organization isn't questioning national reports that rank North Carolina's pension account the second-best-funded in the country, she said. Rather, SEANC is concerned about Moore's political fundraising on Wall Street.

"We are wondering what motivation is behind the decisions of hiring investment fund managers," she said.

Still, Moore pointed to the timing of the attacks less than three months before the primary and to what he considers collusion.

For example, a color photograph of Perdue with a state employee hangs in the SEANC offices, while a small, black-and-white photo of Moore was moved to a prominent place in the organization's office this week, only after people questioned the Perdue shot.

A spokesman for Perdue's campaign said Friday that she is seeking SEANC's endorsement in the gubernatorial race. But the campaign's statement denied any involvement in the dispute between the group and Moore.