Sarah Palin talked big with claims of her administration’s leadership role in an attempt to divest Alaska holdings from Darfur. Sound too good to be true? Guess why. Here’s the real story from (D) Rep. Les Gara, who filed legislation cosponsored by (R) Rep. Bob Lynn to require Alaska to divest from companies supporting the genocide in Darfur.
Les didn’t even get to hear the last half hour of the VP debate, because as soon as Palin dropped her little bomb about Darfur and how she “called for” divestment as soon as she found out about it, his phone started ringing off the hook with people saying, “HUH?”.
Palin’s Debate Claim Not Accurate That She Opposed Darfur Investments When She First “Found Out” About Them
Documents Show Palin Administration Supported Investments in
Businesses Linked to Darfur Genocide Until March, 2008
“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.”
—Sarah Palin, Oct. 2, 2008, VP Debate.
1. In November, 2006, members of Congress wrote personally to the Governor to ask that she join other states in divesting their assets from companies implicated by the human rights community in the Darfur genocide.
3. In December 2007, members of the Save Darfur Coalition Met with the Governor’s office, without success, in an effort to gain support for divestment.
4. The Palin Administration testified in opposition to divestment from companies implicated in the Darfur genocide. On February 9, 2008, the Alaska Legislature’s House State Affairs Committee held its first hearing on Rep. Lynn & Gara’s HB 287. The Palin Administration and the Permanent Fund Corporation testified against the bill. Brian Andrews (since deceased), Deputy Commissioner of the State of Alaska, Department of Revenue, testified on behalf of the Palin Administration. This testimony helped kill this bill, with 4 members of the Governor’s Republican party stating their opposition to the bill (Reps. Bob Roses, Craig Johnson, Kyle Johansen and John Coghill). The bill never left this committee, and died when the legislative session ended on April 12, 2008. Deputy Commissioner Andrews testified at length against divestment from Sudan, and stated in part: “[T]he 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.”
(Feb 9, 2008 House State Affairs Committee testimony Minutes).
5. Through February and March, 2008, the Save Darfur Coalition and Rep. Gara kept working to change the Administration’s position. The former held a rally on the capitol steps. “I was pretty angry at how lightly the Permanent Fund and Administration took this issue, and began pushing for meetings to convince them that investing in genocide was wrong,” said Gara. Rep. Gara’s office held meetings with both the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue, Pat Galvin, and Permanent Fund Corporation Director Mike Burns. In late March of 2008 the Commissioner of Revenue and Governor agreed to change course and support the divestment effort. On April 1 Commissioner Galvin testified in favor of a companion Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Hollis French (D – Anch.). But with 12 days left in the legislation session at that point, the bill never made it to the Senate or House Floor for a vote, and House Bill 287 never made it out of the House State Affairs Committee.