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The 2014 Pension 40: Kenneth Mehlman

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Kenneth Mehlman
Global Head of Public Affairs
KKR & Co.
PNR

In the spring of 2013, the American Federation of Teachers included KKR & Co. on its list of asset managers it believes to be anti–defined benefit pensions. The New York alternative-asset giant disagreed and quickly brought out a big gun. Kenneth Mehlman, KKR’s global head of public affairs, fired off a letter to AFT president Randi Weingarten (No. 3) highlighting just how much of an ally on the issue KKR has been. “Over the past several years, we have worked in partnership with legislators, policy makers and organized-labor leaders to advocate the importance of defined-benefit plans for public-sector workers,” Mehlman wrote, adding that he had personally worked with former Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern (No. 37) on pensions. The AFT must have been impressed, because it took KKR off the blacklist. Mehlman is no ordinary public affairs chief. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College with a JD from Harvard Law School, he was an environmental attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld before entering politics. He served as White House director of political affairs in the George W. Bush administration and chaired the Republican National Committee from 2005 through 2006. He may be best known for coming out as gay in 2010. Although Mehlman, 48, won’t discuss KKR’s efforts to support defined benefit pensions on the record, he remains actively involved in retirement issues. In October he spoke, along with former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (No. 32) and Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler (No. 18), at a forum in Portland, Oregon, advocating a state-sponsored initiative to provide retirement plans for workers at businesses that do not have plans.

The 2014 Pension 40

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Bruce Rauner
Illinois
John and
Laura Arnold

Laura and John
Arnold Foundation
Randi Weingarten
American Federation of Teachers
Rahm Emanuel
Chicago
David Boies
Boies, Schiller & Flexner
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10
Randy DeFrehn
National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans
Damon Silvers
AFL-CIO
Laurence Fink
BlackRock
Chris Christie
New Jersey
Robin Diamonte
United Technologies Corp.
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Ted Eliopoulos
California Public Employees’ Retirement System
John Kline
Minnesota
J. Mark Iwry
U.S. Treasury Department
Gina Raimondo
Rhode Island
Phyllis Borzi
U.S. Labor Department
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Orrin Hatch
Utah
Abigail Johnson
Fidelity Investments
Ted Wheeler
Oregon
Caitlin Long
Morgan Stanley
James Hoffa
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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Amy Kessler
Prudential Financial
Alejandro
García Padilla

Puerto Rico
Christopher Klein
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Caifornia
Steven Rhodes
Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Kevin de León
California
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David Draine
Pew Charitable Trusts
Jordan Marks
National Public Pension Coalition
Sam Liccardo
California
Joshua Rauh
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Karen Ferguson and Karen Friedman
Pension Rights Center
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Timothy Blake
Moody’s Investors Service
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Center for Retirement Initiatives, Georgetown University
Edward (Ted) Siedle
Benchmark Financial Services
Daniel Loeb
Third Point
Judy Mares
Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Labor Department
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Andrew Biggs
American Enterprise Institute
Andy Stern
Columbia University
Kenneth Mehlman
KKR & Co.
Teresa Ghilarducci
New School for Social Research
A. Melissa Moye
U.S. Treasury Department


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