Ohio State Reps. Shannon Jones and Josh Mandel are pushing for state legislation that would prohibit some state investment funds from owning shares of companies doing business with Iran. They, like other politicians nationwide, are discovering that this is a very complicated situation and have since disclosed owning shares of a U.S. firm that does business in that country. The two say that company has pledged to no longer seek business there, but it must honor certain agreements through 2008.
There are 12 other countries or regions accused by the U.S. government of supporting terrorism, and several states — Missouri, California, Georgia, New Jersey, Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania and Vermont — have pushed for investment bans affecting these nations. Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray aims to bring certain state portfolios in line with federal guidelines.
Jones has said that the proposed Ohio bill does not cover U.S.-owned companies, which are federally regulated. The U.S. Congress, though, is now targeting U.S. firms for such business ties.