With a renewed push in Albany for further gun restrictions, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is reviewing the state pension fund's investments. But YNN's sister station NY1 has already found that state workers' pensions are invested in companies that manufacture firearms. Zack Fink has the story.
NEW YORK STATE -- Following the Newtown shootings, state lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo have been negotiating a package of stricter gun control laws. That could include a tightening of the assault weapons ban and comprehensive background checks for purchasing firearms. But it turns out New York State invests its public employee pensions in companies that manufacture guns. And some say that sends the wrong message.
"Certainly divesting. I mean, there are private equity firms that are looking into doing that just because it’s the right thing to do. And certainly we should be looking at the pension funds and any public entities," said Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.
New York State has a roughly $150 billion pension fund for its public employees. More than $1.1 billion of that is managed by Boston based Acadian Asset Management. As of its latest quarterly filing, Acadian held roughly $22 million worth of stock in the gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson.
In addition, according to the state Comptroller's office, which directs the pension fund, public employee pensions also directly hold $2 million worth of shares in gun maker Sturm Ruger and $9.6 million in Alliant Techsystems, which also makes guns.
"Well I have had to recuse myself from comment because my company has done business with all the pension funds. I can just tell you personally I do not own, do not have any investments in companies that either manufacture and sell cigarettes or manufacture and sell guns," said Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor.
A spokesman for Comptroller Tom Dinapoli says fiduciary responsibility is what guides investment decisions, but a comprehensive review is currently underway.
There had been talk of a special legislative session in Albany before the end of the year to pass new gun control measures, but insiders say a couple of things worked against that. Number one, there was concern about calling enough lawmakers back in time to have a quorum, number two the parties negotiating have not yet reached an agreement which means Governor Cuomo will likely push a package in his state of the state address next month and there could be early action in the legislature.