Under the auspices of our Investment Security Program (ISP), the Claremont Institute reviewed the state pension systems of California and found that the retirement dollars of firefighters, police officers, teachers, and other public employees are being used to underwrite some of the world's most dangerous terrorist-sponsoring governments (i.e., Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria).
Hundreds of publicly traded companies, many of which are owned by your public pension systems, help generate billions of dollars in revenues and introduce advanced, dual-use equipment and technology to governments that sponsor terrorism. The list of companies includes some U.S. corporations operating through their overseas subsidiaries, but is primarily comprised of European and Asian entities. Scores of these now operate in, for example, North Korea and Iraq. Unbeknownst to most Americans, investments in these companies help provide crucial financial life-support for some of the world's worst tyrannies and our country's most dangerous adversaries.
Despite the significant ethical issues at stake, most public pension systems have not even taken steps to identify those companies in their portfolio with links to terrorist-sponsoring countries.
The Claremont Institute has propelled this issue across the nation. In January, 2003, we sent packages to officials in all 50 states containing a detailed letter describing the problem and the types of policy responses open to them, a video of news broadcast from New York, and a number of articles on the subject. We have since appeared on and been quoted on a number of newspapers and television and radio networks. Since the program began, the Arizona state legislature has recently introduced legislation to address this issue. Many other states are now looking into it as well.