The State Investment Board, or SIB, met Friday morning for their monthly meeting. A major portion of the meeting was devoted to the management of North Dakota’s more than $8 billion oil tax fund: the Legacy Fund.
Members of the board discussed controversial foreign investments and how state open records laws apply to information SIB is withholding from the public.
Due to growing public pressure, SIB discussed the possibility of pulling its investments from the controversial Chinese company, Alibaba.
For the fiscal year 2019-20, Alibaba was the largest foreign holding company in the Legacy Fund, and the eighth largest fund holder overall at nearly $15 million.
KX News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the fiscal year 2020-21 which shows that North Dakota’s Legacy Fund is invested in Alibaba even more at nearly $20 million.
Another topic of discussion was the lieutenant governor’s blocking of information that would have shown the amounts that consultants are paying chief financial advisor Callan to be recommended to manage Legacy Fund dollars.
The ongoing KX News investigation found that the majority of money managers on the Legacy Fund have paid Callan and were recommended by Callan to the board.
The assistant attorney general assigned to the SIB signaled that the entire board would need to vote to make that decision and not one individual.
Sen. Merrill Piepkorn (D-Fargo) said he’s going to do anything it takes to get the SIB to release the amounts so that the public can know if the consultants who are paying Callan the most are getting preferential treatment.
“The people of North Dakota should know how much the people who are acting as consultants who are spending and investing the Legacy Fund. We should have the right to know how much these people are paying Callan to then be recommended to fill these positions,” said Piepkorn.