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Palin Administration Opposed Darfur Divestment

In a little-noted comment from Thursday’s vice presidential debate, Gov. Sarah Palin was quick to take credit for a push among some Alaskan lawmakers to pull the state’s investments in Sudan — a recognition of the country’s years-long Darfur genocide:

When I and others in the legislature found out we had some millions of dollars in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars to make sure we weren’t doing anything that would be seen as condoning the activities there in Darfur. That legislation hasn’t passed yet but it needs to because all of us, as individuals, and as humanitarians and as elected officials should do all we can to end those atrocities in that region of the world.

There’s only one problem: It wasn’t true.

Writing on the Huffington Post today, Shannyn Moore, a liberal, Anchorage-based talk-show host, does a nice job laying out the chronology of the episode, revealing that Palin and others in her administration either ducked or outright opposed the divestment legislation until just a few months ago.

For example, Moore quotes Mike Burns, the appointed head of Alaska’s oil-revenue-based “permanent fund,” as saying the divestment legislation would “complicate” the work of fund managers like himself. “Managing money according to a social or political agenda is a bad bet,” Burns said.

There were other instances, Moore writes, when the administration’s opposition was revealed:

On February 9, 2008, Governor Sarah Palin’s appointed Deputy Commissioner, Treasury Division, Brian Andrews, spoke to the Alaska House State Affairs Committee on bipartisan HB 287, which would require the state to divest from Sudan. He agreed with Mike Burns who said divestment was ‘not the right tool.’ He stated, “The legislation is well-intended, and the desire to make a difference is noble, but mixing moral and political agendas at the expense of our citizens’ financial security is not a good combination.”

Right. The permanent fund is only $40 billion (almost $60,000 for every man, woman and child in the state).

Wouldn’t want to let a thing like genocide get in the way of enlarging it.

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