Newsom Wants to Block Russia’s Access to California’s $1 Trillion Investment Portfolio

”Everyone has to put some skin in the game” says governor

If speaking truth to power doesn’t work with Russia, perhaps money might speak louder.

California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted Monday night that he has called on the state’s retirement and pension funds to block Russia’s access to almost one trillion worth what Newsom calls the state’s “global investment portfolio.”

“Everyone has to put some skin in the game,” Newsom wrote.

California’s and the nation’s biggest pension funds also have connections to Russia.

Newsom said CalPERS and CalSTRS  have a combined $1.5 billion in Russian investments, according to the Los Angeles Times. According to a CalPERS spokeswoman, the pension provider has investments in publicly traded Russian companies, real estate, and private equity ranging from $900 million to $1.1 billion. CALSTRS holds $32 million in Russian government debt, amongst other financial associations.

State Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire said Monday he planned to introduce a bill that would require the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and California State Teachers’ Retirement System to divest themselves from Russian investments.

“We must stand strong for the people of Ukraine,” McGuire said in a statement Monday. The state had to use their economic power to “stop this autocratic thug, Putin, by advancing this critical legislation and enacting our own financial divestments,” he added.

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