More Disclosure Means More IntegrityJoe Torsella's Transparency Platform
“Every dollar in the Treasury comes from the hard work of Pennsylvania taxpayer. I’ll set the toughest ethics standards in the country, so Pennsylvanians can trust that their money will be managed with fairness and integrity, uncompromised by conflicts of interest, political affiliation, favoritism, or other unfair considerations. Under my administration, the days of needing to know someone to do business with Treasury will be over.” – Joe Torsella
The PA Treasurer is the custodian of nearly $100 billion. That’s Pennsylvanians’ hard-earned money. As State Treasurer, Joe Torsella will fight public waste, corruption, conflicts of interest, inside dealing and any unfair practice that rightfully undermine the public’s trust in the Commonwealth’s management of funds, and will push for the highest ethical standards across the Commonwealth system, including at Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) and Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).
Joe Torsella has spent his life in public service making public institutions more efficient, more transparent, and more innovative. As Ambassador to the United Nations for Management and Reform, Joe was the architect and chief public spokesperson for the United States-led reform of the UN’s $36 billion system. As the founding CEO of the National Constitution Center, Joe helped it go from virtual bankruptcy to national treasure. Joe will take this experience to the State Treasurer’s office and continue his work of making public institutions more efficient, transparent and accountable to the taxpayer.
As State Treasurer, Joe Torsella will fight to make sure the Treasury Department is more efficient, transparent and accountable in managing the Commonwealth’s funds. In addition, he will work with Pennsylvania lawmakers to pass new laws to improve integrity and transparency and prioritize the fight against waste and corruption.
- Appoint a Chief Integrity Officer. On day 1, Joe Torsella will appoint a Chief Integrity Officer for the Department of Treasury. This officer will ensure that the Department of Treasury will operate with fairness and integrity, uncompromised by conflicts of interest, political affiliation, favoritism, or other unfair considerations.
- Ban Third-Party Marketers. Joe Torsella will push for a ban on the use of third-party marketers involving Treasury, SERS, PSERS, and other investment funds controlled by the Commonwealth. Third-party marketers, which are often referred to as “finders,” “solicitors,” and “placement agents” act as middlemen to connect investment managers to investment funds. At times, an investment manager hires a third-party marketer to solely capitalize on the marketer’s relationship with a public fund. Third-party marketers can be paid commissions totaling millions of dollars and the costs are sometimes not clearly and universally disclosed to Pennsylvania taxpayers. Taxpayers lose by paying the fees and causing the public fund to possibly make investments based on political relationships rather than the appropriateness of the strategy for an investment fund. New York City, CALPERS, and several other major funds and political entities have already banned third-party marketers.
- Publish Full, Searchable Contracts on Alternative Investments. Currently, Pennsylvania funds do not post the original contract for alternative investments on the E-Contracts site. PSERS used to post contracts up until 2012. Pennsylvania officials told the Philadelphia Inquirer that as a matter of policy, the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System “ceased posting alternative investment contracts that reveal the terms” of agreements between the state and financial firms after 2012. Joe Torsella will advocate for every alternative investment contract to be published, searchable and if necessary, break down the fee structure in an easy to read and understand fashion.
- Shining New Light on Campaign Contributions and Pay-for-Play Politics. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has an opportunity to lead the nation in transparency and integrity in state government by making it easy for any citizen to see political contributions made by state vendors or vendors. Treasury already manages an online database of state contracts; Joe Torsella will take the next step of adding vendors’ reported political contributions to the database. Creating a truly accessible and user-friendly tool would let citizens see all information on political giving and state contracts in one place.
- Make Public Employees that Trade Public Money Disclose Personal Trades. Currently, only traders in the Treasury office report stock trades. Joe Torsella will require that the people trading public money in the stock market disclose the trades they make on their own accounts. We going to prohibit the use of non-public information for private profit, including insider trading government employees who are trading and investing public money on behalf of the Commonwealth.