Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stopping Our Tax Dollars From Financing Terrorists

Stopping Our Tax Dollars From Financing Terrorists

As your State Representative it is my goal to work hard in advocating
for the concerns of House District 31 constituents.

The most frequent requests I receive are for a change in the law or
advocacy for a new piece of legislation. Over the first few months in
office, I fielded a number of suggestions and developed a long list of
potential legislation. I believe it is important to give every
constituent's proposal due and fair consideration.

Such was the case earlier in the year when a citizen contacted me with
a request to investigate whether or not Oklahoma pension funds were
being used to invest in foreign companies doing business in the
terrorist-sponsoring countries of Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan.

This type of information is rather hard to come by, but after some
research, I obtained a 2004 report developed by The Center for
Security Policy, showing several startling facts.

Nearly 18% of the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement Fund and 14% of the
Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement Fund are invested in foreign
companies who do business in terrorist sponsoring nations. This
represents an investment of about 1.2 billion of our teachers', state
employees' and taxpayers' funds. Worse still, this figure only
accounts for the investments of two of Oklahoma's seven retirement

You might ask why it is a problem for us to invest monies in these
countries such as Iran?

It is basically illegal for businesses based in the United States to
do business with the government of Iran. However, because foreign
companies are outside the jurisdiction of the United States, they can
ignore the US policy of not allowing businesses to work for the
government of Iran in rebuilding the aging infrastructure of this
terrorist nation. The revenue generated by rebuilt infrastructure and
the technology provided by these companies can be used by Iran to arm
and train Hezbollah terrorists, shelter members of Al Qaeda, build
Shehab 3 ballistic missiles, and even piece together nuclear bombs.

I do not believe that the average state employee, teacher and taxpayer
is fully aware that their retirement funds have been used to help
finance the enemy. If they were made aware of this, I feel lawmakers
would have little option but to enact a change of policy.

This change of policy would help stop the rehabilitation of aging oil
supply infrastructure in Iran and make it more difficult for the
Iranian government to continue their policy of financing terrorists
organizations. Oil revenue is estimated to account for a large
percentage of Iran's revenue. However, several European companies,
including those in which Oklahoma funds are invested, have snubbed
their nose at US policy and are working to help Iran. Without the
threat of divestment, these I believe companies will continue to
support our enemies.

Legislation is being offered in several other states to start the
divestment process. Foreign companies stand to loose billions of
dollars of American pension funds if they continue to support terror.

Very soon I plan to introduce a resolution on the House floor to call
for Oklahoma retirement systems to start the disinvestment process. I
will ask the speaker to impanel an interim study so we can begin the
process of writing appropriate statutory language to make sure our
money will not be invested in companies which help develop
infrastructure in terrorist states.

In short, it is vital that we dry up the money which funds our

A copy of the 2004 report showing Oklahoma's investment in these
companies can be obtained online at www.HouseDistrict31.com.

As always, please feel welcome to send me your comments or concerns.
Without the involvement of a very reform minded House District 31
constituent, I would have been unaware of the need to advocate for
this important issue.

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