Amid Federal Investigation, Senator Sues PSERS Over Lack of Transparency

Senator Katie Muth claims the pension fund has refused to provide her information she needs as a board member.

Justin Merriman/Bloomberg

Justin Merriman/Bloomberg

Amid a federal investigation into the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ State Retirement System, one board member has sued the $64 billion pension fund in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

Senator Katie Muth, a democrat who has been on PSERS’ board since February, filed the complaint on Tuesday after “several months of continuously being denied documents and information needed to legally perform in her role as a Board Member,” according to a statement. The complaint details PSERS’ “failure and refusal, without just cause or reason” to provide Muth with “PSERS’ records pursuant to her statutory duties as a duly appointed member of the Board and a fiduciary on behalf of the members of the PSERS system.”

In a statement, Muth said the fund’s opacity went from “frustrating” to “incredibly concerning” when, in April, the news broke that the Department of Justice was investigating the pension fund. According to the complaint, the investigation into the fund’s “historic mismanagement” is concerned with two issues: “The Board’s adoption of an inaccurate figure for performance, which was adopted in December 2020,” and “the Board’s acquisition of various real property for investment purposes, the full circumstances of which are still not known to the Board.”

Muth said she took legal action because the board is expected to vote on over $1 billion dollars worth of alternative investments on June 10.

“These are the dollars of hardworking teachers, school employees and taxpayers, they should know how every dollar is spent and how it was allocated,” Muth said in the statement. “We are talking about taxpayer money and the retirement of more than 200,000 hardworking teachers throughout our Commonwealth.”