Open government group sues CalPERS over data on pension types

An open government group is suing the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, saying it has failed to disclose records that should be public about benefit recipients.

The Nevada Policy Research Institute, which operates the website Transparent California, filed suit Friday in California Superior Court, accusing the pension system of violating state law by withholding information about the type of benefits retirees receive.

Such data, the suit alleges, is necessary to safeguard pension systems from waste, fraud and abuse.

“The problem of disability fraud has plagued California’s public pension systems for decades, costing taxpayers untold millions,” the group said in a news release. “Yet the fund, which manages over $300 billion in assets and receives nearly $20 billion annually from California taxpayers and public employees, has inexplicably refused to disclose the very information necessary to identify such cases of potential abuse.”

Transparent California is the state’s largest and most comprehensive public pay and pension database. It collects compensation data under the California Public Records Actand regularly publishes the information for public review. Since its inception, it has published data on more than 2.4 million public employees from at least 2,000 agencies throughout the state.

According to court records, the group requested in December 2016 records that would identify the amount and type of benefits being received by each retiree, as well as other data points.

The pension system, also known as CalPERS, provided a report in July 2017 that contained most of the information but repeatedly denied Transparent California’s request for records documenting benefit types, such as service, disability and industrial disability.(Read more…)