JUNEAU – Senator Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) introduced a Sense of the Senate Monday urging the Permanent Fund Corporation to divest their investments from all Russian companies that are on the United States’ sanctioned list since 2014 for undermining Ukrainian sovereignty and the illegal annexation of Crimea.
“These investments represent 0.1% of the value of the fund. Our funding of these organizations exposes the people of Alaska to economic and political risk, and provides material support for unsavory world actors,” said Sen. Begich. “The Permanent Fund Corporation needs to divest from any company currently sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Treasury to support American ideals of human rights and national sovereignty.”
Last week, the Trump Administration announced additional sanctions against individuals and companies accused of election meddling and cyber-attacks on U.S. infrastructure. These sanctions, which have expanded over the last four years due to Russia’s continued aggression in the region, are a policy tool to curtail future profitability of Russian state-owned companies.
“Russia has shown to be a destabilizing force throughout the world. Alaska can play a role in stabilizing the region by refusing to invest in these companies,” said Sen. Begich. “These sanctions are not only supported by the Federal Administration but our congressional delegation as well. I am truly surprised that the State Senate Majority did not take this opportunity to increase stability in the Permanent Fund, especially at a time where the future of the Dividend is unknown. This is not about a social investment strategy. It’s about prudent investments.”
Members of the Alaska Senate Democratic Caucus will also be sending a letter to the Permanent Fund Corporation urging them to divest their investments from these Russian companies.
The Sense of the Senate failed on a vote of 4 to 14. Those who voted in favor were Senator Tom Begich, Senator Berta Gardner, Senator Dennis Egan (D-Juneau), and Senator Bill Wielechowski.