McCain's wife sells Sudan-related investments
By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer 26 minutes
WASHINGTON - Cindy McCain, whose husband has been a
critic of the violence in Sudan, sold off more than $2
million in mutual funds whose holdings include
companies that do business in the African nation.
The sale on Wednesday came after The Associated Press
questioned the investments in light of calls by John
McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee,
for international financial sanctions against the
McCain, who was campaigning in Ohio, said neither he
nor his wife were aware of the Sudan-related holdings.
Last year, at least four presidential candidates
divested themselves of similar holdings involving
companies doing business in Sudan.
According to McCain's personal financial disclosure,
Cindy McCain's investments include two mutual funds
American Funds Europacific Growth fund and American
Funds Capital World Growth and Income fund that are
listed by the Sudan Divestment Task Force as targets
"Those have been sold as of today," said McCain
spokesman Brian Rogers. Both funds have holdings in
Oil & Natural Gas Corp., an India-based company that
does business in Sudan. The American Funds Capital
World Growth & Income Fund also has holdings in
Petrochina, a Chinese government-owned oil company
with vast investments in Sudan.
Last year, in a speech on energy policy to the Center
for Strategic and International Studies in Washington,
McCain cited China's investments in Sudan as an
example of regimes that survive off free-flowing petro
"The politics of oil impede the global progress of our
values, and restrains governments from acting on the
most basic impulses of human decency," he said. "There
is only one reason China has opposed sanctions to
pressure Sudan to stop the killing in Darfur: China
needs Sudan's oil."
On Wednesday, Rogers said: "Senator and Mrs. McCain
remain committed to doing everything possible to end
the genocide in Darfur."
After touring a waste-reprocessing plant near
Columbus, Ohio, described the American Funds as "one
of the country's largest mutual funds."
"Obviously, we didn't know about it and I didn't know
anything about it until I saw the story, because I
don't have anything to do with her finances," he said.
"But they divested as soon as it was brought to us."
For the McCains, the Sudan-related investments are
among scores of different investments listed in his
financial disclosure documents. Cindy McCain is
heiress to a Phoenix-based beer distributing company
whose fortune is in the $100 million range.
Sen. McCain is regularly ranked among the richest
lawmakers in Congress, but under the terms of a
prenuptial agreement, much of the family's assets are
in Cindy McCain's name. While the disclosure reports
provide the identity of income and assets held by
candidates and their spouses, they only offer a range
of the amount of the holding. Indeed, the report lists
Cindy McCain's investments in the two mutual funds as
simply "over $1,000,0000."
In tax returns he released last month, the Arizona
senator reported a total income of $405,409 in 2007.
But Cindy McCain files separate tax returns which she
has not made public. Last week, she said she would
never make her returns public even if her husband
Later Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee
reiterated its call for Cindy McCain to release her
tax returns. "The fact the McCain family was holding
Sudan-related investments even as John McCain was out
on the campaign trail calling for sanctions is a
reminder of why the American people expect and deserve
full disclosure from their elected officials," said
DNC spokesman Damien LaVera.
McCain aides pointed out that the Sudan investments
were contained in publicly disclosed data. John McCain
on Wednesday also defended his wife's decision not to
release her tax returns.
"When we file our (financial disclosure) report in the
Senate, there's quite a bit of information in there,"
The Sudan-related investments illustrate the hazards
for wealthy candidates whose vast holdings undergo
thorough scrutiny during a presidential campaign.
A year ago, several presidential candidates divested
themselves of Sudan-related holdings. Among them were
Democrats Barack Obama and John Edwards and
Republicans Sam Brownback and Rudy Giuliani.
In 2006, Brownback was among members of Congress who
wrote 44 governors to urge them to divest their
employee pension funds from businesses linked to
Sudan. He is now serving as a top adviser to McCain's
At the time, Obama placed the total value of his
divestitures at $180,000. The sales of the investments
were recorded in their financial disclosures.
According to Giuliani's financial disclosure, he
invested between $500,000 and $1 million in a Vanguard
Wellington Fund. Data compiled by the Sudan Divestment
Task Force shows that Vanguard Wellington has a small
percentage of stock in Schlumberger Ltd., a French oil
field services company that does business in Sudan.
Edwards sold stock he and his wife owned in
Schlumberger for between $40,000 and $100,000. He also
invested $50,000 to $100,000 in Evergreen Equity
Income Fund, another fund identified by the divestment
task force as having stock in Sudan-related companies.
"Considering Democrat candidates, including Barack
Obama, had the very same type of holdings, it is the
height of hypocrisy to attack Senator McCain and his
family," said Republican National Committee spokesman
Danny Diaz said.