The state teachers' fund also terminated Holland in 2006 for the poor performance of the assets it managed, according to the business publication Crain's. Holland did not respond to a request for comment.
Obama spokesman LaBolt said that Obama worked with leaders in the state legislature to push for the increased use of minority investment managers after the pension boards failed to meet their own diversity goals.
"We didn't have to implement a formal program," Obama recounted in his speech to the Urban League. "I simply said, 'Listen to what these folks have to say.'"
The executive director of an Illinois ethics watchdog group calls it politics as usual. "Did he get contributions from those companies down the line? Yeah. That story's been told a million times in American politics, and it will be told a million times more," said Jay Stewart of the Illinois-based Better Government Association. "I don't think Obama's any different."