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*** UPDATED x1 *** Israeli card played in treasurer’s race

Monday, Jul 21, 2014

* From a Tom Cross press release. Pay special attention to the last two paragraphs…

Over the last five months, State Senator and candidate for Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs has delivered stinging criticism directed at the office of the Treasurer’s investment portfolio, specifically Illinois’ investment in other states and overseas. Frerichs has countered with his own plan of investing exclusively in Illinois investments, although he has not outlined how that plan would work or how it would meet the statutes restricting investments by the office of the Treasurer.

Yesterday on WGN Radio’s “Sunday Spin with Rick Pearson”, Republican candidate for Illinois State Treasurer Tom Cross outlined the perils of Frerichs’ “insiders only” investment strategy, pointing out that it would likely result in lower returns for Illinois taxpayers as there will be limited competition and a closed market for over $13 billion of investment. In addition, Cross added that with Illinois’ past record of corruption and graft, particularly within the role of state investments, limiting Illinois’ $13 billion exclusively to investments within the state greatly increases the potential for fraud and corruption.

“We need to be working for taxpayers to receive the greatest return for their hard-earned tax dollars while minimizing risk,” said Cross. “Like every other person who has a 401k, we are going to look across the US and even globally to secure a good return and a safe return for every tax dollar we invest.”

Frerichs’ criticism of overseas investments also is at odds with his past voting record. As a Senator, Frerichs has supported overseas investments , but now as a candidate for Treasurer, Frerichs is leveling harsh criticism at the Treasurer’s global investment strategy.

One country that would be singled out under Frerichs’ plan is Israel. The office of Treasurer currently has $25 million invested in foreign bonds, all with the country of Israel.

More than 80 states and municipalities in the United States currently invest in Israel bonds. Last month the state of Ohio invested over $47 million in Israel bonds. Today, an Israel Bond with a 10 year maturity pays nearly 1.4% above the U.S. Treasury rate for the same length. Since the introduction of the bonds in 1951, Israel has never missed or defaulted on a payment.

The North Shore is a crucial battleground area. Mark Kirk did well there and won statewide. Bill Brady fared poorly and lost. The area’s 10th Congressional District always features candidates attempting to outdo each other on pro-Israeli policies.

We’ll see how Frerichs reacts to this, but right now I’d say it’s a smart political move by Cross.

However, I personally would rather see more of the state’s money invested right here, even if it brings a slightly lower immediate return.

Discuss.

…Adding… There seems to be some confusion or deliberate spin in comments. Frerichs wants a blanket policy. He didn’t “single out” Israel. That’s just Cross’ rhetoric. It works, though, as comments clearly show.

*** UPDATE *** From the Frerichs campaign…

- Yesterday the Tom Cross campaign launched an untrue and unfounded attack on Sen. Frerichs and his support for continued Illinois investment in Israel Bonds.

See the statement below from state Sens. Daniel Biss and Ira Silverstein and state Reps. Lou Lang and Sara Feigenholz on behalf of Treasurer Candidate Mike Frerichs, in response to a release yesterday from the Cross campaign that erroneously suggested Mike wants to end state investments in Israel. Here is the full audio clip from the radio interview, where it’s clear Mike said nothing like that. The relevant section starts at about 7:30:

In fact, Mike supported I-Bonds as chief co-sponsor of this bill with his Jewish colleagues last year: http://ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=1571&GAID=12&GA=98&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=72631&SessionID=85

“Mike Frerichs is among the most outspoken and vocal advocates for the State of Israel in the Illinois General Assembly. He was a strong supporter of the bill that would allow for significant new investment in Israel Bonds, and supports the policy that keeps Illinois pension funds from investing in businesses that adhere to the economic boycott of Israel. As State Treasurer, he will work to strengthen the economic ties of the State of Illinois to Israel. This policy will create jobs here and advance the interests of our chief ally in the Mideast.

At a time when the State of Israel is in armed conflict, fighting for its survival and its security, it is unfortunate that Tom Cross has decided to use Israel as a political pawn in the race for State Treasurer. Not only is he wrong about Mike Frerichs, but Mr. Cross has degraded the political process by resorting to twisting of facts for his own personal political gain.”

…Adding More… The breakdown of Treasurer Rutherford’s investment portfolio is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


37 Comments
  1. - Phil P. - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    Strange move by Frerichs. You would think he would try to court the Jewish vote and not alienate them. Is this some play at the pro Palestinian vote that I am missing?


  2. - Just Observing - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    === Strange move by Frerichs. You would think he would try to court the Jewish vote and not alienate them. Is this some play at the pro Palestinian vote that I am missing? ===

    No, Frerichs didn’t mention Israel and probably didn’t really have Israel in mind… his contention is Illinois should not be investing outside the state (something in which I personally disagree). Cross is the one that pointed out that Israel would be affected, obviously, in an attempt to curry favor with the Jewish community.


  3. - face planted - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    I agree with Rich on Illinois but the Treasurer should be looking everywhere, not just Illinois, when it comes to investmenets. I think any advisor in the world would tell you one state investments would be a fools play, especially when you look at what just happened in Puerto Rico. And to single out Israel when it is the only overseas investment is just a sad move by Frerich.


  4. - Barney - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    JO-
    which foreign investments did Frerichs have in mind then? sounds like the only foreign bonds we have are in israel.


  5. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 3:48 pm:

    Also appearing in the news during the past 24 hours http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Anti-Semitic-Leaflets-Found-on-Cars-in-Chicago-267859681.html

    That area is near the northern border of the 5th and southern border of the 9th congressional districts. This story could have some legs.


  6. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    === And to single out Israel ===

    He didn’t, that’s just rhetoric.


  7. - Just Observing - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    === which foreign investments did Frerichs have in mind then? sounds like the only foreign bonds we have are in israel. ===

    @Barney — I really don’t know. But I’m pretty sure Illinois invests in other foreign and domestic governments outside of Illinois than Israel.

    I am Jewish and about as fiercely pro-Israel as one can be, but this does not seem like an attack on Israel by Frerichs… it seems more of an opportunity by Cross to pounce on it for political gain. Let me clear… I want Illinois investing in Israel. In fact, about five percent of my own portfolio is in Israeli investments.


  8. - Just Observing - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:03 pm:

    In fact, Cross may have just earned my vote by Frerichs proposal. Not because I think Frerichs is anti-Israel, or that I think this proposal is anti-Israel, but because I want Illinois’ investments diversified and I like Illinois investing in Israel.


  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    Woof, that’s a real gut punch from Cross. Old school, knock your wind out.

    “So, Sen. Frerich’s, when did you start hating Israel?”

    It’s not just the North Shore, but evangelicals are way down with the Likud Coalition. To them, God needs our help in fulfilling their interpretation of Revelations, apparently.

    Of course, that story doesn’t end very well for the Jews, but in the meantime….;


  10. - Wensicia - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    Pretty good hit, we’ll see if it works.


  11. - Nick's Name - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:34 pm:

    - - Just Observing - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:03 pm:

    In fact, Cross may have just earned my vote by Frerichs proposal. Not because I think Frerichs is anti-Israel, or that I think this proposal is anti-Israel, but because I want Illinois’ investments diversified and I like Illinois investing in Israel.-

    JO - if that is your criteria for voting in the Treasurer’s race, than I’d ask Cross why he didn’t sign on as a co-sponsor to help pass hb1571 which allows for expanded investment in Israel bonds. Funny how his interest in Israel picked up when he started running for treasurer….


  12. - Just Observing - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:39 pm:

    @Nick’s Name — Your point is well taken and I’ll research. But notice, I did say MAY have just earned my vote. I still plan to research.


  13. - cover - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:41 pm:

    = I’d ask Cross why he didn’t sign on as a co-sponsor to help pass hb1571 which allows for expanded investment in Israel bonds. Funny how his interest in Israel picked up when he started running for treasurer… =

    All the sponsors of that bill were Dems (including Frerichs), but it received unanimous support (118-0) in the House, and Cross was the House Minority Leader at the time.


  14. - Barney - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:42 pm:

    Nick’s name:
    didn’t seem like the bill needed a whole lot of help since it passed both chambers unanimously…just sayin….


  15. - Lance - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    Seems like a great idea investing in Israel..


  16. - Lance - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    Does frerichs want investment opportunities to go only to Illinois firms?


  17. - steve schnorf - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 5:11 pm:

    Well, one of them is fibbing. Which one?


  18. - tee pee - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 5:21 pm:

    Frerichs can’t seem to get out of his own way. Add it to the pile of self-inflicted wounds that have marred his campaign.

    He cant, easily, get out of this Israel one. He can’t have it both ways unfortunately.


  19. - vulcan - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 5:44 pm:

    Why would Illinois invest in Israeli bonds?

    Do they need more money to buy artillery shells to fire at Palestinian civilians?


  20. - Truth Team - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 6:32 pm:

    Oh please lord….please let the mistakes continue to flow from Camp Frerichs. We desperately need the material!

    Wonder if the Frerichs response will be as eloquent as the IEA’s: http://www.iltruthteam.com/2014/07/why-did-iea-endorse-mike-frerichs-for.html


  21. - A. Nonymous - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 6:43 pm:

    Clearly…. Cross has a Potemkin army of keyboard jockeys.


  22. - steve schnorf - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 6:58 pm:

    Do I just misunderstand what Frerichs is saying? It seems to me if you don’t invest in non-Illinois investment by definition you couldn’t buy Israel bonds. May not be where he wanted to be, what he meant to say, but again, am I missing something?


  23. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 7:32 pm:

    lol, pathetic…

    @MikeforIllinois: RT and remind @JoinTomCross that @MikeforIllinois supports #Israel and will continue to invest in I-Bonds: http://t.co/mpoqlXIL7A #twill

    If you are chasing…you are losing the argument.

    @FakeMikeFrerichs- I am not the Fredo of the Statewides this cycle. No! #IfYouLookAroundTableLookingForDope&CantFindHimOrHer


  24. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 7:36 pm:

    OW, I just replied with a question. lol

    @MikeforIllinois Before this week, have you ever said that you’d exempt Israel bonds from your Illinois-only investment policy? Link please


  25. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 7:40 pm:

    Rich, I look forward to his response, since being all atwitter is the Mike Frerichs way…


  26. - anonymous - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 7:56 pm:

    Does Mike Frerichs tweet out these tweets by himself without any oversight or does his campaign staff have control of his twitter account? It seems Mike Frerichs is a worse tweeter than Dan Rutherford or somebody on his campaign staff needs to be reeled in. I’m guessing the ladder, but hopefully it gets fixed soon.


  27. - Brendan - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 7:59 pm:

    Way to try and change the discussion! Unfortunately, Frerichs’ response does not invalidate the Cross press release.

    Does Frerichs support Israel.? Yes.

    Did he say he wanted to divest from Israel? No.

    Did Frerichs say that he wanted to move Illinois’ investments into the state from out of the state? Yes.

    Would doing that require a divestment of Israel Bonds? Yes.

    If that’s a problem for Jewish voters, that’s for Jewish voters to decide.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 8:04 pm:

    ===It seems Mike Frerichs is a worse tweeter than Dan Rutherford or somebody on his campaign staff needs to be reeled in. I’m guessing the ladder, but hopefully it gets fixed soon.===

    Nooooooo!

    Watching train wreck political tweeting is just too delicious to stop!

    You warn them one time, then that’s it.

    I warned him, I have mocked them, given hints…

    He makes @FakeRutherfordDan seem coherent.

    The amateur hour that is Sen. Frerichs’ campaign, along with the hollow echoing of the Sheila Simon campaign is a constant reminder;

    There is a reason there is a Big Kid table, and why those seats are held by the Big Kids.

    Simon’s disloyalty is sinking her. Frerichs lack of political acumen and rank amateur hour shenanigans is sinking him.


  29. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 8:59 pm:

    Frerichs’ home-state preference “policy” was likely not well thought-out and/or developed with the assistance of investment professionals. The conflict with regard to Israel investments would have been found and resolved had he done so.

    I wouldn’t offer an opinion on how much of the current portfolio could be moved back safely without more study.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 9:09 pm:

    - AA -, that is a sign of a poor campaign structure.

    Policy and plans need expert advice, not tweets or photo ops.

    When a candidate runs the Campaign Crew, it’s not a good sign.

    I guess no response from Frerichs. I looked on his twitter, nothing yet.


  31. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 10:02 pm:

    There is no “conflict” with Israeli bonds. Frerichs did not say he wanted to invest “exclusively” in Illinois. That’s a Tom Cross lie. Frerichs said he wanted to invest more in Illinois. As the link to Rutherford’s portfolio shows, there are plenty of areas which could be slightly lowered to invest more in Illinois projects. Foreign bonds are a tiny portion of the portfolio as it is, making this a non-issue.

    Particularly sickening is that Cross and the GOP would be all over the Dems for playing the “race card” if this were a Democratic attack, yet not a peep from the Cross sycophants on the hypocrisy.


  32. - Simple - Monday, Jul 21, 14 @ 10:37 pm:

    Pct Cap-
    this is really simple. Frerichs criticized Rutherford for investing overseas. Rutherford only has one overseas investments–Israel.


  33. - Filmmaker Professor - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:29 am:

    Everyone knows that we Jews always vote for the guy who says “I love Israel” the most. We have no other interests; all we do is count the number of “I love Israel”s and vote for that guy.
    Especially in statewide elections where support for Israel is so vitally important compared to jobs, property taxes, school funding, pensions, cost of college tuition, etc. Let’s face it: state government has limited impact on those issues compared to Illinois’ support for Israel.


  34. - Filmmaker Professor - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 12:31 am:

    Where does Jesse White stand on the Israel issue?


  35. - Lewis T - Tuesday, Jul 22, 14 @ 3:43 am:

    Can we get a rundown of the investments Illinois holds in Israel and whether or not those are tied to the occupation?


  36. - Niles Township - Wednesday, Jul 23, 14 @ 8:48 am:

    Where does Jesse White stand on the Israel issue?

    ———————-

    Solidly pro-Israel. Routinely attends Jewish Federation dinners. At this point in his career, he really doesn’t need Jewish voters or contributions to be elected anymore so that shows his support his genuine.

    On the broader issue with Cross/Frerichs, I hear with the Jewish organization professionals this issue is gaining some traction. However, the bulk of the community is distracted by what is going on in Israel right now, and not focused on this issue.


  37. - 24 vet - Wednesday, Jul 30, 14 @ 3:38 am:

    I am actually delighted to glance at this web site posts which contains plenty of useful information, thanks for providing these data.


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