FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Report Shows Progress in Terror-Free Investment Efforts in Pa.
HARRISBURG, Nov. 1 — The latest report published by the Pennsylvania Treasury Department shows that companies are continuing to divest from the rogue nations of Iran and Sudan, as mandated by the Protecting Pennsylvania’s Investments Act, according to state Sen. Mike Stack and state Rep. Dan Frankel.
The law (Act 44 of 2010), which Stack authored and for which Frankel strongly advocated, requires Pennsylvania’s public "Four Funds" — Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS), State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS), Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System and the Treasury Department — to divest from companies that have certain scrutinized business activities in Sudan or Iran.
Since July 2011, 24 companies with ties to the state’s pension plans were determined to have divested operations in Sudan and/or Iran, according to the report.
As of July 2012, 50 companies remain scrutinized for having financial interests in one or both of the rogue nations. They must divest by next summer or else the state’s public pensions will sever ties with any companies currently in holdings.
"We are making significant progress toward becoming a commonwealth that has absolutely no financial ties with these two nations that promote terrorism and genocide," said Stack, D-Phila. "The fact that one-third of these scrutinized companies have divested from Iran and Sudan shows that Pennsylvania is standing up to these volatile countries and to the companies that unwisely choose to do business with them."
Frankel, D-Allegheny, said: "Iran’s president has made multiple threats to the nation of Israel and Sudan has allowed the torture and genocide of its own people. We must not have any association with these nations, notorious for violating the rights of their own people. Pennsylvania’s effort toward ensuring divestment from companies who do business with Iran or Sudan is an ongoing process. But all reports are that these kinds of economic sanctions are having an impact. I’m grateful that the Treasury Department continues to monitor companies for compliance with the law."
The report is mandated by the law. It includes the most recent list of scrutinized companies, a summary of correspondence between the commonwealth and these companies, and the course of action taken either by each company to become compliant, or by the commonwealth to divest or set a course for divestment.
Stack and Frankel continue to seek methods to prohibit financial dealings with rogue nations. Next year, they plan to reintroduce their legislation that would prohibit companies with direct investments in Iran’s energy sector from bidding for state contracts.
Their measures would prohibit an individual, financial institution, or company that provides goods and services or a line of credit worth at least $20 million to the energy sector of Iran from entering into a contract of $1 million or more with the Pennsylvania Department of General Services.
The department would be required to develop a list of people, organizations and companies that are engaged in investment activities with Iran and update the list every 180 days.
If individuals, organizations or companies want to enter into a contract with Pennsylvania, they would be required to file a certificate with the Department of General Services that they are eligible to enter into the contract.