MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski called on the state Monday to shed any investments with Russian entities in response to the Ukraine invasion.
Godlewski, a Democrat in the midst of a run for U.S. Senate, issued a news release calling for the state investment board to identify any direct Russian holdings and make a divestment plan.
The investment board’s main responsibility is managing the state employee retirement account. The board’s spokesman, Chris Preisler said about 0.06% of the retirement account is in Russian-linked assets. That accounts for about $90 million of the $147 billion fund, he said.
External managers outside of the board’s control manage more than 80% of those accounts and none of the remaining assets are direct investments in Russian stocks or bonds, he said. Finding willing buyers for those assets is difficult given the situation in Ukraine, he added.
Godlewski also chairs the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands by virtue of her position as treasurer. She said she plans to divest any Russian holdings from the board’s accounts. The board invests funds from fines and forfeitures and timber sales to provide additional money for Wisconsin schools.
President Joe Biden has directed U.S. financial systems to sever ties with Russia’s largest banks and impose sanctions on Russian elites and their family members in an effort to hurt the Russian economy and military operations. About a dozen U.S. governors are already reviewing or cutting financial ties with Russian companies.