Texas Pension Group Compiles List of ‘Hostile Threats’ – Including Heritage

Lachlan Markay /

A non-profit group that represents members of Texas’s public employee retirement system outlined a host of individuals and organizations that it considers “hostile threats” in a recent presentation.

The presentation, which the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems (TEXPERS) posted online, goes on to describe methods of marginalizing those “threats” to defined benefit pension policies.

“Many groups and individuals have put Defined Benefit plans for Texas public employees in their sights, erroneously claiming reform is needed and Defined Contribution plans are the only viable option,” the presentation, titled “The Hostile Threat: Opponents To Defined Benefit Plans and TEXPERS’ Response,” states.

“Many [of these hostile threats] are true ideologues and only consistent presentation of facts can prevail to counter their misguided assertions,” the presentation adds. “TEXPERS has been monitoring these hostile threats to DB plans and engaging in various public forums as necessary to thwart their efforts.”

Among the listed “hostile threats” is Heritage’s own Jason Richwine, who TEXPERS claims is “ideological and not practical, nor completely conversant with facts on the ground.” Richwine responded that TEXPERS is attempting to “disguise the real costs with faulty accounting and then attempting to marginalize critics who point out what they’re doing.”

Read Richwine’s report on the real cost of defined benefit pensions.

The presentation lists other prominent free market groups among its “hostile threats,” including the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, FreedomWorks, the Cato Institute, and Americans for Prosperity.

It also singles out a number of “hostile individuals,” including, perhaps unsurprisingly, libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch, Houston Financial Management Task Force chairman Michael Nichols, and former Kemah, TX, mayor Bill King. TEXPERS says it  has “worked to minimize King’s credibility.”

The presentation ends with a brochure for the Texans for a Secure Retirement PAC. The organiation is backed by TEXPERS and the Texas branch of the AFL-CIO. State records for 2011 and 2012 show that TSR PAC has received $83,585 in contributions since last year (there is no record of contributions in years prior), but has not spent a penny on political activities.

Here is the full TEXPERS presentation: