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John McCain's Wife Divests Sudan-Related Holdings


Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, has decided to sell more than two million dollars in mutual funds in companies that do business in Sudan. Her husband, John McCain, had called for international financial sanctions against the Khartoum government as a way to end genocide in Darfur. The sale reportedly came after news organizations questioned Mrs. McCain’s investments in light of her husband’s criticism of the Sudan government.

On December 31, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007. The law bars companies from receiving federal contracts unless they certify they do not work with Sudan’s energy or military sectors. It also allows asset funds and pension fund managers to divest from companies doing business in Sudan’s energy sectors.

African American radio talk show host Joe Madison is president of the Sudan Campaign Coalition. He told VOA he hopes other individuals, universities and companies would follow the example of Cindy McCain.

“I'm very pleased that she has taken this step, and I hope that others will follow suit and do the same, not only individuals but institutions like universities, those that haven’t divested from the their portfolios as well as other holding companies,” he said.

Madison said Cindy McCain, who is the wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, probably decided to divest because she wants to obey the divestment bill signed recently by President Bush.

“It’s now a law, so she is in compliant with the law. My second response to that is it’s better late than never. My third response is that it’s obvious that it is going to have political implications. And I would hope that the other candidates, including the Clintons, and Obamas and members of Congress would follow suit. It’s better late than never, and whatever the motivations, she is now on the right side of history,” Madison said.

He said Cindy McCain’s divestment move sends a very strong signal in the international effort to end the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.

“It basically says that we will not, as a nation, as a government, as a people allow our money, our pensions, be it the pensions of teachers, be it the pensions of individuals, the portfolios of universities, that we will not have our futures tied to the blood money of the Khartoum regime. And I again hope that not only would others in the United States follow suit, but I hope other nations, the international community will follow suit,” he said.

Last year, Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards divested themselves of Sudan-related investments.

On December 31, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007. The law bars companies from receiving federal contracts unless they certify they do not work with Sudan’s energy or military sectors. It also allows asset funds and pension fund managers to divest from companies doing business in Sudan’s energy sectors.

Madison praised New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne who is also chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa for sponsoring the bill.

“It’s a law that’s been a long time coming, and I can tell you that Donald Payne has been one of the true champions on Capitol Hill. He is a true champion of people’s rights around the world, but particularly on the continent of Africa. And which is why we hold Congressman Donald Payne in high esteem and refer to him as Mr. Africa on Capitol Hill,” Madison said.

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