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The Ankle-Biters

Steve Pearlstein has a fun column today calling out the "ankle-biters" of the financial crisis. He names a bunch of names, but for sheer chutzpah, it's hard to top Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer, who brought the challenge against the Chrysler bankruptcy to the Supreme Court.

Several years ago a number of Indiana's state pension funds decided to invest $17 million in Chrysler debt at what looked to be the bargain price of 43 cents on the dollar. Unfortunately, things didn't work out and Chrysler slipped into bankruptcy court, where Indiana was offered $12.2 million as part of a final settlement of its claim. That was only $1.5 million less than Mourdock had previously said he was willing to accept, but for reasons that are still unexplained, he was suddenly seized with an overwhelming sense of fiduciary duty and constitutional responsibility -- so much so that he was willing to spend another $2 million of his pensioners' money to hire a fancy Wall Street law firm and pursue his quixotic legal challenge. If he had succeeded and forced Chrysler into liquidation, it would have almost surely cost many hundreds of lost jobs at Indiana factories and dealerships and millions of dollars of lost revenues for the Hoosier state.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 12, 2009; 1:33 PM ET
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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is probably thinking about the GOP nomination for president in 2012, and Mourdock was probably hoping to earn his right-wing looney street cred with this move in hopes that Daniels would take him along for the ride. I'd say he accomplished his goal. Heckuva job, one would say.

Posted by: Rick00 | June 12, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

They don't call them hoosiers for nothing.

Posted by: leoklein | June 12, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Probably he's covering the state pension funds' a**es as well. My bet is there will be huge investigations into why the pension funds (which I have no doubt are subject to some kind of regulatory restrictions as to the riskiness of the investments they are allowed to make) went and bought the magic beans.

Posted by: nolo93 | June 12, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

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