The state commission that handles investments for South Carolina’s retirement system has formally condemned State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, retaliation for the Treasurer’s very public questioning of their motives.
The South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC) passed a motion Thursday that condemns and censures Loftis for, “engaging in false, misleading and deceitful rhetoric.” The investment commission approved the motion on a 5-1 vote. Loftis, who is a member of the panel by virtue of his office, was the lone “no” vote.
The resolution mentions 19 different comments Loftis has made to South Carolina reporters over the past two years, most frequently to Florence radio program “In the Pickle Barrel” and to the conservative blog FITSNews. Loftis has frequently criticized the state’s investment structure, but denies making false statements. In the cases cited in the resolution, the Treasurer often questioned the motives of other members of the Commission, specifically its chairman Reynolds Williams.
Loftis slammed the motion, calling it “the best ambush since Custer.” In a statement after the meeting, Loftis said, “Instead of spending public retiree resources on planning a public ambush, Chairman Williams ought to be concerned about chronic underperformance, poor external audit reports and his criminal investigation.”
Williams’s Florence law firm has been investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division over its involvement in one of the RSIC’s investments. SLED has not commented on that investigation since July.
However, Williams and Loftis have frequently clashed in public over Loftis’s access to contracts with the firms who oversee the state’s investments. Loftis has even hinted that Williams is corrupt, while Williams has accused the Treasurer of sensationalizing routine actions that Loftis once supported.
In a statement after Thursday’s meeting, Williams accused Loftis of making false statements to the public. “We believe that they are false because no evidence exists that would validate them,” Williams wrote in a statement to reporters, “I encourage you to take each statement to the person who made it and ask for evidence, such as a document or email, that the statements are factual.”
Gov. Nikki Haley’s spokesman said the governor “disagrees with the spirit” of the censure, believing it was disrespectful to the Treasurer. Haley’s support was notable, as she and Loftis have frequently clashed in the past.