Regulations: In 2012, the Alaska Retirement Management Board adopted a resolution to divest from companies doing “material business” with Iran (1).
Effect: The Board maintains a list of sanctioned companies but it is unclear whether or to what extent it has divested (2).
Key actors: In 2012, State Representative Lynn Gattis introduced HB 2, aiming to limit Permanent Fund, retirement system, Supplemental Annuity Plan and deferred compensation program investment in Iran-linked companies. The bill died in committee (3). Also in that year, State Senator Bill Wielechowski (D – Northeast Anchorage), sponsored SB 131 (HB 241) aiming to mandate divestment from scrutinized companies with ties to Iran (4). In 2009, former Governor Sarah Palin introduced similar measures under SB 92 (HB 81). Both attempts to mandate divestment of public trusts failed. In 2012, Governor Sean Parnell wrote a letter urging the Permanent Fund, the state Department of Revenue and Alaska Retirement Management Board to divest from Iran (5). Only the Retirement Management Board acceded to his request to create a list of scrutinized companies. “Some places have very active social policies as part of their mandate,” Permanent Fund CEO Mike Burns told reporters. “We don’t.” Governor Parnell had previously been neutral on the issue of divestment (6).
Of note: The Alaska State Assembly and Senate has tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation mandating the $37 billion Alaska Permanent Fund divest from Iran-linked companies three times in the past decade (http://www.adn.com/article/20111112/legislators-want-permanent-fund-drop-iran-investment7). However, no law requiring public fund divestment has ever passed in Alaska. A Legislative Research report estimated the Permanent Fund had $79 million worth of assets in companies with ties to Iran.