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McCain's wife sells Sudan-related investments

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080514/ap_on_el_pr/cindy_mccain_sudan McCain s wife sells Sudan-related investments By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer 26
    Message 1 of 1 , May 14, 2008

      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
      Sudanese leadership.

      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
      for divestment.

      "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
      becomes president.

      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,"
      he said.

      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.
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