WASHINGTON Jan 25 The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission has started an inquiry into public
statements by Illinois officials about the state's underfunded
pension fund, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The state's governor's office confirmed the SEC inquiry late
on Monday, the newspaper reported.
It quoted the governor's spokeswoman, Kelly Kraft, as saying
the inquiry is focused on public statements concerning a measure
passed last year intended to shore up the retirement system.
"We are fully cooperating" with the inquiry, it quoted her
as saying. "We feel our disclosure was always accurate and
The newspaper, citing Robert Kurtter, a managing director in
the public finance division at Moody's Investors Service, said
as issue being examined is whether Illinois was taking future
savings and treating them as current reductions in the cost of
the pension fund.
A measure Illinois took to save costs was to raise the
retirement age for newly hired Illinois workers.
The newspaper said Kurtter mentioned the inquiry in a report
released on Monday evening.
The SEC informed the state about the inquiry in September,
the newspaper quoted Kraft as saying.
She said Illinois has included mention of the SEC inquiry in
documents being prepared for the sale expected in the next few
weeks of an approximately $3.7 billion bond, the newspaper said.
Illinois' underfunding of its pension system is one of the
worst among U.S. states.
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