Brown calls on CalPERS and CalSTRS to divest from Iran

'Time for our public pension funds to show some leadership,' attorney general says

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. has called on the country's two largest public pension funds--the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS)--to "honor the state law" that requires them to divest from companies doing business in Iran.

"CalPERS and CalSTRS need to honor the state law requiring them to divest from companies doing business in Iran," Brown said. "It's time for our public pension funds to show some leadership and stop supporting companies that do business with a tyrannical regime."

The California Public Divest from Iran Act was signed into law in October 2007 after the state Senate and Assembly passed the bill by unanimous vote. The law requires CalPERS and CalSTRS to annually report holdings in companies doing business in the defense, nuclear, petroleum, and natural gas industries in Iran and to divest from any company that fails to take substantial action to cease or limit operations in Iran.

According to Brown, both CalPERS and CalSTRS filed annual reports at the end of 2009, but the reports failed to:

- Explain whether investments in companies with ties to Iran have been reduced;

- Describe when the funds anticipate fully divesting from these companies;

- Summarize investments transferred to funds that exclude these companies; and

- Calculate divestment costs or losses.

The U.S. Department of State's "Country Reports on Terrorism 2008" states that Iran remains "the most significant state sponsor of terrorism."

Brown's office said that CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the nation with more than 1.6 million members and more than $200 billion in assets. CalSTRS is the largest teachers' retirement fund in the country with 833,000 members and more than $130 billion in assets.

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Posted by lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Jerry Brown has held teachers in contempt for years. He sold Oakland Public Schools down the river, was in cahoots with Perata. buy gas from companies who purchase their oil from Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9-11 terrorists are from. What are you going to do about that? Keep your paws off STRS and CalPERS. You and the idiot govenor are dying to get your hands on something that is working for public servants just so that you can mess it up. Politician dogs.

Like this comment
Posted by Student
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I can say firsthand that the people of Iran are the exact opposite of "the most significant sponsor[s] of terrorism" The people there hate their government. They hate that they are oppressed and they want a democracy. Iran's backward government claims to be enforcing the rules of the Quran while they fuel their own agenda. Everyone, including the citizens of Iran, despise them. I urge Americans to see that Iranians are on our side they are not terrorists' nor do they support terror. If you claim that the banning of business with Iran is to not support terrorism you might as well stop dealing with the Middle East all together.

Like this comment
Posted by Ngo Moonbeam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:37 am

Why is the State Attorney General spending time on CalPERS and CalSTRS investments in Iran. Not that is not a serious issue, but the State Attorney General needs to be focused on his job. Sounds like his main focus is on running for Governor Moonbeam (oh, it even hurts to remember how loonie he was the first go-round).

If Moonbeam wants to worry about CalPERS and CalSTRS investments, he should be focused on how the State raided CalPERS and CalSTRS for money to run the state. If the State goes bankrupt, they get screwed. Since that move is very likely quite illegal, that is something the Attorney General should be focused on.

Like this comment
Posted by NOT public union
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I'm so glad Brown provided us with official information on PUBLIC union membership and CalPERS $$1.6 BBBBillion in assets and CalSTRS $$130 BBBBillion in assets. That tells it all. Those 2 PUBLIC union OWN our legislature. They prevented Gov Schwarzenegger's 2005 speical fixes election from fixing our structual demise...mainly public union power & $$. They will also elect Jerry Brown back to Governor again....NO matter what others spend. Many states today do NOT have PUBLIC employee unions. Gov Moonbeam is who gave CA PUBLIC employee unions when he was gov 25 years ago Today CA is collapsing under the burdensome weight/costs of PUBLIC unions...the problem must be fixed. Since Jerry Brown CAUSED this problem...we will be doomed since he the LAST one that would have the integrity needed to FIX the problem. (we missed our one moment in time to do the fix). Stupid voters are truly dangerous !

Like this comment
Posted by Angry Pensioneer
a resident of another community
on Feb 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Jerry and many other politicians and assorted fools need to stop using government pensions as political tools. These pensions are designed to provide money for daily living expenses for the people who have paid into the funds. Why should these groups have to forego having profitable funds when others do not? Is Jerry also going to make sure the GM funds are not invested in Iran?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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