Press release: Rutherford certifies state's portfolio clean of Iran investments

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford issued the following news release Wednesday:

PRESS RELEASE

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford Certifies State’s Portfolio Clean of Investments from Iran

CHICAGO – February 29, 2012 – Following a thorough scan undertaken at his directive, Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford announced today that the entire state’s investment portfolio under his management is devoid of any holdings in companies conducting business with Iran including, but not limited to, oil, petroleum, and mineralextraction activities.

“Divestiture from Iran was a policy I supported when I served in the Illinois General Assembly and I continue to support today as the state treasurer. Keeping dollars from rogue countries like Iran helps with global security and our own state’s financial well-being. Financial prudence requires me to steer clear of any investments involved with Tehran’s energy sector. After all, this is a country that violently suppresses any political dissent within its own borders, supports international terrorism, reportedly hatched an assassination plot against foreign diplomats in our nation’s capital, and continues to foster instability throughout the Middle East,” said Rutherford.

“The state’s Iran divestment program from our state pension funds was a success, both extracting us from substantial risk and selling our assets in a manner that was profitable for the taxpayers of our state. I am proud to be able to declare that all state funds under my authority are in no way assisting Iran’s continuing drive for nuclear weapons, in flagrant violation of international law,” Rutherford said.

Jay Tcath, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, which was at the forefront of the advocacy campaign to pass that Iran divestment law in Springfield, praised Rutherford’s initiative, saying, “While that 2007 Illinois law compelled the state’s pension funds to divest from Iran, and some $133 million ultimately was divested, there was no such obligation placed upon state funds managed by the treasurer’s office.

Nonetheless, Treasurer Rutherford committed to make any investment adjustments that were determined to be necessary. Divestment and other economic measures are essential components of efforts by the United Nations, the European Union, the U.S. Administration and Congress to peacefully prevent the terrorist-supporting state of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon capability. It is both substantively and symbolically important that State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is advancing that noble cause.”

Rutherford also pledged to voluntarily uphold another part of the 2007 Iran divestment law: Each bid for a contract with the treasurer’s office must include a disclosure if the firm has any business dealings with the government of Iran.

This commitment to ensure that state funds are not being invested in ways that place undo risk on taxpayers’ dollars or undermine important American values or national interests is consistently upheld by Rutherford, who as a state senator co-sponsored legislation to divest all Illinois pension investments away from any companies doing business with Sudan.

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