Steele on Sudan
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele has called on the managers of the state's pension system to divest its holdings in companies doing business in Sudan.
Steele, who is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, said he was "deeply troubled" to learn that the state has about $25 million in funds and accounts that may hold securities invested in companies engaged in business dealings with the government of Sudan.
"The current situation in Sudan can only be described as extremely contrary to U.S. foreign policy and humanitarian objectives," he said, citing episodes of human slavery, mutilations, rape, starvation, and the murder of non-Arab black Africans in Darfur.
Illinois, Oregon and New Jersey, as well as several universities, have begun either divesting funds from Sudan or restricting investments in companies there.
Some Democratic state lawmakers in Maryland have been backing legislation that would impose a similar push for divestment, but said yesterday that the proposal failed last year and is "on life support" as the 2006 session nears its April 10 adjournment.
The bill's sponsor, Del. Salima S. Marriott (D-Baltimore) said yesterday that she believes the issue transcends political partisanship, and appreciated Steele's help lobbying for the bill's passage.
"The situation in Sudan demands this level of collaboration," Marriott said.
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