Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bennet Makes Big Money from Chinese and Russian Human Rights Violators

Senator made as much as $165,000 in profits from Russian and Chinese companies with ties to Iran, Sudan, Venezuela

DENVER—Appointed U.S. Senator Michael Bennet made as much as $165,000 in profits from corporations with dreadful human rights records, including companies with ties to Iran and genocide in the Darfur region in Sudan. The companies include Russia’s Gazprom, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), Huaneng Power International and PetroChina Company.

“Sen. Bennet must explain why he profited from these human rights violators,” said John Swartout, Buck’s campaign manager. “The fact that Bennet invested in companies with ties to tyrannical regimes and genocide, should be of great concern the people of Colorado.”

Both Gazprom and CNOOC have ties to Iran, and could be in violation of the 2009 Iran Sanctions Act. In 2008, before Bennet divested these stocks, Gazprom reached an agreement with Iran to develop the country’s gas fields and build refineries.

Gazprom has also worked with the Russian government to cut off gas supplies to American allies in Eastern Europe.

“Sen. Bennet was fine profiting on from these companies, until he considered it might hurt his political career,” added Swartout.

China’s state owned company, China National Petroleum Company, parent to PetroChina, was blocked by Congress in 2005 from buying Unocal 76. Congress blocked the deal because of the adverse risks it would have on the United States’ economy and national security.

CNOCC was also criticized for its $1 billion investment to increase oil revenue in Sudan, money which is being used by the Sudanese government to fund genocide in the Darfur region. Harvard University sold its shares in PetroChina in 2005, after it became clear that PetroChina was funding genocide in Sudan.

“Sen. Bennet is scheduled to attend the Walk for Sudan on Oct. 17,” added Swartout. “Before he does, he needs to explain why he profited from companies that have contributed to genocide. If Bennet wasn’t running for Senate, would he still have money in these companies that are helping our enemies?”