Alaska lawmakers urge divestment from Russian companies

a permanent fund seal in window
An Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. sign in the office in Juneau, March 14, 2016. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Democrats in the Alaska Senate are asking leaders of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. to divest assets from any Russian government or Russia state-owned institutions amid Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Paulyn Swanson, a spokesperson for the corporation that manages assets of Alaska’s nest-egg permanent fund, said the corporation “is not contemplating a divestment strategy at this time.”

“We are closely monitoring the situation and as always, will strive to do what is in the best interest of the Alaska Permanent Fund,” she said in an emailed statement.

The statement noted that the corporation, as a “global investor,” is “working closely with our partners and custodial bank to monitor the developing situation in Ukraine and mitigate any issues associated with sanctions. Exposure to Russia represents 0.2% of the Alaska Permanent Fund’s total assets under management.”

The total value of the fund, at the end of January, was about $81 billion.

In a letter urging divestment, five Senate Democrats in the minority caucus cited provisions of Alaska law that declare support for a so-called nuclear freeze policy. The lawmakers said those provisions require the state to take action to reduce the risk of nuclear war and said they believe those also mean implementing “a divestment plan from Russian government or state-owned companies.”

Two House members, Democratic Rep. Zack Fields and Republican Rep. David Nelson, sent a separate letter to the chair of the permanent fund corporation’s board urging divestment.

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