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Spot.us Wants Your Help Probing U.C. Regents' Investments


We've talked about Spot.us before on this site. In fact, just over a year ago, we highlighted it as a peek into the future of journalism. Whether or not that prophecy comes true remains to be seen, but this precocious start-up is currently going after the Regents of the University of California.We've made a lot of hay about the dire financial situation facing the U.C. system. (We already felt justified in doing so, but The New Yorker wrote about it, too, so now we know we're golden.)Anyway, an interesting pitch regarding public higher education in California is now up on Spot.us, submitted by investigative journalist Peter Byrne. (Video pitch embedded below.)Byrne wants to find out what the investment committee of the Regents of the U.C. system-which includes California Sen. Dianne Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, and Paul Wachter, a financial advisor to the Governator-is doing with the $53 billion in public funds that it oversees. He's particularly interested in possible conflicts of interest: situations where the movement of a lot of money from the U.C. fund between corporations and investment positions can benefit the Regents personally."Their concern does not appear to be education, as much as it is business operations (in terms of the $53 billion portfolio)," says Byrne about the Regents in his video pitch. "What happens with the portfolio drastically affects what happens with student tuitions and fees and the educational sector."Byrne estimates that the total cost of reporting a two- to three-part series looking into the behavior of the Regents' investment committee will cost $10,000 for himself and a team of research assistants.If you want to donate to the effort (either with money or your talents), head here.Photo via Flickr user Sarah Smith-Sell[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4umea1hudNY
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via Jason S Campbell / Twitter

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