Governor Scott Walker had nominated John Peterson III to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. The nomination was received with a fair amount of controversy including an objection from SWIB’s retired executive director, David Mills. Seems that he didn’t have the common sense to recuse himself during an earlier board stint and voted in favor of investing in a company that had ties to a company he had ownership in…many viewed this as an apparent conflict of interest even back in 2001 when the action occurred.

But today he withdrew is nomination. I would imagine the recall and yesterday’s John Doe indictments may have swayed his interest in the position. That and the grilling he received on Wednesday from the Senate Committee on Financial Issues and Rural Affairs.

Mr. Peterson feared (and I can guarantee it would have) it would become a “highly partisan affair”.

“Although I looked forward to serving on the Board, I have no wish to serve under these circumstances,” Peterson wrote in an e-mail to Eric Esser on Friday afternoon.

But only two days earlier he didn’t seem quite so concerned…and even comes off a bit cocky:

“I’m probably the most experienced person available. I’ve made mistakes as a person and arguably as a trustee. They will not be repeated. . . . In retrospect, should I have recused myself? Yeah. OK, but it was an indirect investment instead of a direct investment. The facts speak for themselves. It just didn’t occur to me at the time,” Peter sen told members of a Senate committee.

If only he had ended his apology with, the “should I have recused myself…Yeah”. But he couldn’t stop himself there and went on to qualify the apology instead. Insincere? I didn’t believe a word of it.

One less Gov. Walker crony on the SWIB is a good thing…and one less ally when the governor tries to privatize public pension funds!

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