Democrats push for Russian divestment | News, Sports, Jobs


State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has already ordered his staff not to invest state pension funds in Russian companies — but 30 state Senate Democrats want DiNapoli and his staff to go further.

Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, D-Rockland/Westchester, circulated a letter late last week signed by 30 of his Senate colleagues urging DiNapoli to divest the $279 billion state pension fund companies based in the Russian Federation or doing business with citizens of , or companies based in the Russian Federation.

“New York’s economy is the 10th largest in the world, and we should use our economic leverage to support the effort to punish Putin and stop Russian aggression in Ukraine,” he added. said Reichlin-Melnick. “The steps taken so far by the comptroller are important first steps in disengaging Russian interests, but they do not go far enough. We must take a stand against Vladimir Putin’s murderous invasion of Ukraine by turning the Russian Federation into a pariah state and supporting the international effort to isolate and degrade the Russian economy until the end of the war and the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty.

On March 1, the same day DiNapoli issued its personnel directive, Reichlin-Melnick introduced S.8446.

the “Law on Stopping Russian Aggression” Block the awarding of New York State contracts to any company doing business in Russia and ask DiNapoli to begin divesting the state pension system’s pension fund from any investments in companies that make business in Russia.

Reichlin-Melnick noted that New York State does not currently invest or support companies doing business in North Korea or Iran.

“This legislation goes beyond targeting entities owned or controlled by the Russian government and encompasses a much wider range of businesses, affecting any entity with business ties to the Russian Federation, thus having a much wider impact on the Russian economy. The purpose of this bill is to treat Russia the same way Iran and North Korea are treated, as international pariah states,” Reichlin-Melnick wrote in his legislative rationale.

Governor Kathy Hochul has already signed an executive order banning New York State from doing business with Russia. She ordered state agencies to hand over money and assets of companies or institutions helping Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Russian divestment is a popular sentiment among state governments. Wisconsin’s treasurer on Monday called on the state to withdraw the $90 million investment in the state pension fund tied to Russian assets. California and Pennsylvania have also made divestments from Russia or Belarus, a close Russian ally.



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