Delaware Lawmakers Target Treasurer's Authority - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Lawmakers Target Treasurer's Authority

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (AP)- The state treasurer blasted the Markell administration on Wednesday for pushing legislation asserting that an unelected board dominated by political appointees, not Delaware's elected treasurer, has authority over the state's $2 billion cash investment portfolio.
 
Chip Flowers spoke shortly before a Senate committee took up a bill that gives the Cash Management Policy Board sole authority over investment decisions for the portfolio.
 
The bill was introduced last year but quickly tabled amid ongoing clashes between Flowers and the board.
 
Since taking office in 2010, Flowers has clashed repeatedly with other members of the board, a 9-member panel consisting of the treasurer, three other state officials and five gubernatorial appointees.
 
On Wednesday, Flowers suggested that the board's political appointees may have conflicts of interest, based on campaign contributions and their ties to financial institutions that hold the state's money.
 
"The truth is that I want to work with an honorable board operating with integrity, not a corrupt board seeking to use your money for their advantage," Flowers said. "I want to do it the right way, not the corrupt way."
 
On Tuesday, Gov. Jack Markell, who was elected treasurer three times before becoming governor, said the bill simply clarifies what has been common practice for some three decades.
 
Flowers said the bill should be amended in several ways to ensure proper management of taxpayers' money. He said board members should be required to file financial disclosure statements, as other public officials do, and that they should be prohibited from giving political contributions to the governor, treasurer, House speaker and Senate president.
 
Flowers also proposed term limits for board members and said the board must be subject to open government rules and public oversight.
 
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf said lawmakers already have discussed some of the proposals made by Flowers.
 
Schwartzkopf said lawmakers already have introduced an amendment striking a provision in the bill that would have exempted the board from Delaware's Administrative Procedures Act. The APA specifies how state agencies can exercise their powers, including how they are subject to public comment and judicial review.
 
Schwartzkopf also noted that lawmakers have chosen to subject the board for scrutiny by a legislative committee that conducts period reviews of state agencies, commissions and boards to determine if they are performing effectively.
 
Lawmakers are attempting to clarify the relationship between the treasurer and the board after several disputes between Flowers and other members.
 
In November, the attorney general's office, in response to a request from the board, ruled that it has sole legal authority to make investment decisions regarding the portfolio, and that the treasurer is subject to its directives. The attorney general's opinion also said the board's authority extends to decisions regarding asset allocation between short-term and intermediate-term investments, as well as allocations among different fund managers.
 
In 2012, Flowers released a report by Credit Suisse Securities that found that annual returns from the portfolio had not kept pace with inflation over the previous five years. Flowers quarreled with the Markell administration over his hiring of Credit Suisse. Markell's office had language inserted into a budget bill that same year prohibiting the treasurer from retaining banking or investment services without the consent of the board. The bill also required that funds in the treasurer's custody be invested consistent with board guidelines.
 
In addition to defending his efforts to oversee the investment portfolio, Flowers on Wednesday suggested he has been subjected to unfair treatment by the media over scrutiny of the use of state credit cards by himself and his former deputy treasurer. Both Flowers and Erika Benner have reimbursed the state for certain purchases.
 
"I'm not going to allow the media to impugn my character, good record and integrity or use the prejudices associated with my race to claim there was a problem with our state's money under my watch," said Flowers, who is Delaware's only statewide, black elected official.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Vacationing Firefighters Quick to Help after Tornado

    Vacationing Firefighters Quick to Help after Tornado

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:30:00 GMT
    Among the 1,300 plus people that were vacationing at the Cherrystone Campground in Virginia on Thursday were two firefighters from Delmarva who were quick to act once the storm had passes.More
    Among the 1,300 plus people that were vacationing at the Cherrystone Campground in Virginia on Thursday were two firefighters from Delmarva who were quick to act once the storm had passes.More
  • Del. Man Allegedly Cross-dressed to Rob Md. Bank

    Del. Man Allegedly Cross-dressed to Rob Md. Bank

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:13:03 GMT
    Maryland State Police say a Delaware man held up a bank in Rising Sun while dressed as a woman.More
    Maryland State Police say a Delaware man held up a bank in Rising Sun while dressed as a woman.More
  • Sending Help to Va Tornado Victims

    Sending Help to Va Tornado Victims

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:46 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:46:03 GMT
    In response to Thursday's tragic storm that ripped through the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is anticipating the continued help needed for those in the community.More
    In response to Thursday's tragic storm that ripped through the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is anticipating the continued help needed for those in the community.
    More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Feds Send 117 Immigrant Children to Del.

    Feds Send 117 Immigrant Children to Del.

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:19 AM EDT2014-07-25 12:19:28 GMT
    Gov. Jack Markell says 117 children who immigrated alone to the United States have been placed with families in Delaware.More
    Gov. Jack Markell says 117 children who immigrated alone to the United States have been placed with families in Delaware.More
  • Dover Police: Man Arrested with 1,300 Bags of Heroin

    Dover Police: Man Arrested with 1,300 Bags of Heroin

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:02 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:02:39 GMT
    Dover police say officers arrested a Millsboro man after they found 1,300 bags of heroin in his possession Thursday night. More
    Dover police say officers arrested a Millsboro man after they found 1,300 bags of heroin in his possession Thursday night. More
  • Missing Jellyfish in the Chesapeake Bay

    Missing Jellyfish in the Chesapeake Bay

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:12 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:12:56 GMT
    Susan Meredith said if there is one thing she normally does for all the customers renting her boats at Blackwater Paddle and Pedal along the Choptank River in Cambridge, "We send them right up river.  They don't want to see any sea nettles, they are scared to death of them."More
    Susan Meredith said if there is one thing she normally does for all the customers renting her boats at Blackwater Paddle and Pedal along the Choptank River in Cambridge, "We send them right up river.  They don't want to see any sea nettles, they are scared to death of them."More
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service