Texas billionaire John Arnold, who has drawn attention for his interest in public sector pension reform (meaning that public sector pensions are too generous), is supporting both sides of the gubernatorial race in Rhode Island.
David Sirota wrote about how the Arnold Foundation underwrote a PBS special on the pension crisis and underwrote a Brookings Institution report on the same subject. PBS returned $3.5 million to the foundation because of Sirota’s disclosure.
Arnold is also a major supporter of charter schools, Common Core, and other “reforms” favored by corporate reformers.
The Providence Journal reports:
” PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Billionaire Houston philanthropist John Arnold is not only investing heavily in the political future of state General Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo — he’s also backing a national education effort showcasing her Democratic rival: Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.
“Arnold’s philanthropic organization, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, has awarded $4.25 million in grants over the last three years to “Education Reform Now,” 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with ties to the “Mayor’s for Educational Excellence Tour,” according to the foundation’s website.
“Taveras, a Democrat in his first term, is one of four mayors taking part in the tour, which is meant to highlight new education efforts in their cities.
The tour includes San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and is scheduled to stop in Providence on April 25.
“Education Reform Now” is operated by “Democrats for Education Reform,” a New York-based political action group that supports, among other things, closing down failing schools and establishing national education standards.
“Last week, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation confirmed that it helped finance the nonprofit and nonpartisan Brookings Institution’s report, “Pension Politics: Public Employee Retirement System Reform in Four States.”
“The report, released last month, highlights the state pension system overhaul that Raimondo spearheaded in 2011 as a national model.”
So, billionaire Arnold hails Raimondo as a “pension reformer,” and supports Taveras an an “education reformer.”