Bush Signs Sudan Divestment Bill into Law

President Bush signed legislation on Monday that makes it easier for mutual funds and private pension funds to sell their investments in companies doing business with Sudan.

Though the president signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, Bush’s administration has expressed concern that the bill could interfere with its right to set foreign policy (See Letter Voices Administration’s Sudan Divestment Proposal Opposition). Bush’s signature was accompanied by a proviso known as a signing statement, reserving his authority to overrule state and local divestment decisions if they conflicted with foreign policy, the New York Times reported.

The bill was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate last month. The measure permits U.S. state and local governments, as well as mutual funds and private pension funds, to divest their investments in companies involved in four Sudanese business sectors – oil industry, mineral extraction, power production, and the production of military equipment.

Additionally, the legislation requires federal government contractors to certify they are not involved in business in these four areas.