Recent news stories have featured allegations of "pay-to-play" arrangements at public employee pension funds. A pay-to-play arrangement involves directing some benefit to a pension fund official in order to obtain fund business. A direct bribe is the most obvious form of pay-to-play. However, pay-to-play arrangements are often indirect or disguised. Often they are funneled through intermediaries known as "placement agents". Investment advisers and others seeking fund contracts or investments hire placement agents to help secure those deals. Not surprisingly, pay-to-play arrangements raise serious questions about whether pension fund officials are making decisions in the public interest or in their own self interest.
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