The State Employees Association of North Carolina today announced the filing of a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower for possible breaches of the SEC’s “pay-to-play” rule involving State Treasurer Janet Cowell, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and his wife, JP Morgan Board of Directors member Crandall Bowles.
In the complaint, SEANC alleges that Erskine and Crandall Bowles violated the pay-to-play rule when Cowell worked with Bowles and his firm, Carousel Capital, on investments through the N.C. Innovation Fund after Bowles hosted a fundraiser for her at his home.
I reported two years ago about Cowell’s questionable associations with Bowles, specifically as it related to Cowell’s decision to invest millions of the state pension fund in the Facebook IPO. In short, Bowles and his wife had hosted fundraisers for Cowell, and subsequently Cowell invested in the Facebook IPO – a deal that reaped millions of dollars for two companies on which Bowles sat on the Board of Directors.
In addition, Cowell has received significant contributions from law firms specializing in representing pension funds in class action law suits, firms that Cowell has selected to represent NC’s pension fund in lawsuits such as the Facebook IPO suit. These firms stand to make a lot of money from Cowell’s selection.
Additionally, WFAE in Charlotte has produced a two-part series examining Cowell’s questionable activities; you can read or listen to them here:
Cowell’s actions have raised a lot of questions about pay-to-play dealings, hopefully these questions will be explored in more detail in response to the SEC complaint.