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Wall Street Secrets Pit $75 Billion Pension Plan Against Trustee Tasked With Protecting It

Director at troubled Pennsylvania retirement fund refuses to be a rubber stamp

Pennsylvania State Senator Katie Muth at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania State Senator Katie Muth at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

Photographer: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg

When State Senator Katie Muth joined the board of the Pennsylvania teachers’ pension fund last year, she knew she had a lot to learn: With a college degree in athletic training, her financial education consisted largely of paying off her student loans. But she saw the unpaid trustee position at the $75 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System as a way to protect teachers and state taxpayers — and an extension of her job as a lawmaker.

Little did the 38-year-old know she was about to get a crash course in high finance and sharp-elbowed pension politics. Or that she would be forced to sue her own fund to get access to internal documents.