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October 3, 2008


Despite Sarah Palins claims that she led an Alaskan campaign to divest in companies that do business with Sudan, the Washington postrevealed that her administration was initially against the divestiture movement before it was for it.
The Alaska Permanent Fund still invests in companies blacklisted by advocates.

Palin's claim during the Vice Presidential Debate, October 3, 2008
"When I and others in the legislature found out we had some millions of dollars in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars to make sure we weren't doing anything that would be seen as condoning the activities there in Darfur."

The Facts as printed in the Washington Post, Oct 4:
An Alaska saving fund, The Alaska Permanent Fund, has around $22 million invested in international trading companies such as China Petroleum and Alstom of France, that do business with Sudanese oil interests.

Alaska Permanent Fund officials made clear from the outset that they were opposed to any divestment effort. Executive director Mike Burns told a local Anchorage TV station, KTUU, on December 11 that they were looking for the "best return" on the investments, and never took into account "socially responsible investments . . . whether it's tobacco or alcohol or hospitals that perform abortions or hospitals that don't perform abortions."

In January 2008, a bill known as HB 287 was introduced into the Alaska House of Representatives restricting investments in companies that do business with Sudan. During a committee hearing in February, a Palin administration representative, deputy revenue commissioner Brian Andrews, testified against the legislation on the grounds that it would do nothing to help "the afflicted in Sudan," and would add to the fund's administrative costs.

A co-sponsor of the legislation, Anchorage Democrat Les Gara, said that Governor Palin apparently had a change of heart on the divestment issue in March. During a brief hallway conversation, she expressed sympathy for his bill. By that time, however, the bill had effectively died in committee.
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