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Who Is John Arnold?

As fire fighters continue to fight to protect their pensions, we wanted to let our members know who is spearheading efforts to make their retirement less secure.

Houston billionaire and former Enron Corporation trader, John Arnold and his wife Laura, are backing efforts in Rhode Island to upend the pension system in the state.

The couple spent in the six figures for EngageRI, a group led by local business leaders pushing pension change.

EngageRI spent $740,000 on lobbying, polling and running advertisement to counter opposition from public sector unions over changes to pensions.

Rhode Island is one of 25 cities and states where the Arnolds either through their foundation or political advocacy group have entered the pension fight.

The Arnolds are working on pension issues in Kentucky, Illinois, Montana and Arizona. They assist with actuarial services to financial and legal advice.

Forbes Magazine is highly critical of Rhode Island’s state treasurer Gina Raimondo’s efforts to overhaul the $7 billion Employee Retirement System of the State of Rhode Island. Raimondo has the strong backing of the Arnolds. She claims the retirement system is underfunded and pension costs threaten to over shadow spending for state services.

Forbes Magazine says there’s no prudent, disciplined investment program at work going on in Rhode Island - it is just a blatant Wall Street gorging, while simultaneously pruning state workers’ pension benefits.

The publication says the plans in Rhode Island will increase both risk and fees paid to alternative investment managers, such as hedge funds and private equity firms.

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