Local News

Attorney General's Office to Represent Moore in Lawsuit

Posted February 8, 2008 3:31 p.m. EST

— The state Attorney General's Office agreed to represent State Treasurer Richard Moore in a lawsuit filed by a state employee's group over public-records requests.

The State Employees Association of North Carolina sued in Wake County Superior Court to demand that Moore produce records about the $73 billion in pension funds he manages for more than 800,000 public employees and retirees.

The 55,000-member association, the chief lobbying group for state employees, filed a public-records request for details about outside fund managers in March 2007. In October, the group asked for more records, including those related to certain categories of investments made by the pension funds since 2001.

The state Attorney General’s Office said its review of the lawsuit showed that Moore had complied with the public-records request.

“We have concluded that SEANC’s allegations of the Department’s failure to provide it with the public records it had requested are unsupported and unfounded,” a letter by Special Deputy Attorney General Joyce Rutledge read.

Moore personally hand delivered 700 pages of documents within a month of SEANC’s initial request, as well as 190 more pages on Jan. 18, Rutledge's letter claimed.

SEANC wants to analyze the documents to see if political considerations played a role in how retirement money was handled – an allegation that Moore strongly denies.

Association officials said they were concerned by media reports that Moore received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from employees or their relatives of companies that have contracts to manage some of the pension money.

Moore’s office, for its part, said SEANC’s lawsuit against the gubernatorial candidate was politically motivated – an allegation that the association strongly denied.

“We are pleased the Attorney General’s Office has agreed to represent the Department in this matter,” said Jennifer Cohen, deputy chief of staff for the Department of State Treasurer. “SEANC’s lawsuit is a baseless attack designed to scare the 820,000 public employees and retirees in the North Carolina Retirement System who can rest assured that they are members of the second-strongest public pension fund in America.”

SEANC officials said they were merely trying to get the state treasurer to abide by the law.

"This lawsuit isn't about politics, it's about following the law," Dana Cope, SEANC's executive director, wrote to group members. "After 11 months, the records we're requesting should be readily available."