NH pension funds mulling challenging Sudan divestment law

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New Hampshire has ordered its two public pension systems to shed any investments that support Sudan’s campaign of genocide and rape in Darfur, but pension officials say the order may be unconstitutional.

The system that covers retired judges and other court employees asked Gov. John Lynch to veto the divestment bill last month, and now is studying whether to sue because Lynch refused. The larger pension system for non-court employees also is studying its legal options.

Concord lawyer Chuck Douglas, executive director of the New Hampshire Judicial Retirement Plan, says divesting will cost money that otherwise would not be spent which conflicts with the fund’s fiduciary duty to look out for the interests of beneficiaries and avoid outside influences.

That duty is spelled out in the state constitution and state law.

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