Well, for a start, there the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. They're joined by plenty of educational institutions -- and beyond. Here's Joe Nocera's list.
The State of Wisconsin Investment Board put up $100 million. The University of Texas endowment made a $75 million commitment; the Regents of the University of California kicked in $40 million; the University of Missouri endowment was an investor. So were the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension system, the Indiana Public Retirement System, and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (which kicked in $400 million). And plenty of others. ...Nocera, NYT
There's an excuse that been used through the ages for, say, not divesting in apartheid South Africa, back in the day. Money trumps. Nocera reports:
When I called these investors to ask their rationale for investing in a fund that financed a gun “roll-up,” as the Cerberus strategy is called, I got three main responses. The first was that the percentage of their investment that went to Freedom Group was minuscule. “We have a very small investment in Bushmaster, which translates to about $1 million,” said Dianne Klein, a spokeswoman for the University of California system. (She added that the California system was going to divest its gun holdings.) Jennifer Hollingshead at the University of Missouri told me that the endowment’s exposure was less than $450,000 — “which represents about 0.01 percent of our total portfolio.”
The second response was that, as limited partners, the institutional investors didn’t have a say in how Cerberus invested the money. The fact that Feinberg decided to buy companies whose guns have repeatedly been used for mass slaughter was, in effect, his decision to make.
The third was that the core duty of a pension fund or university endowment is to maximize returns. Nobody made this point more vehemently than Bruce Zimmerman, a spokesman for the University of Texas Investment Management Company. “We have no plans to divest,” he said. “We invest strictly on economic considerations, and we do not take into account social and political consideration.”...Nocera, NYT
When you invest in something like Bushmaster, the name probably doesn't appear on your monthly statement. In this case, you'd see "Cerberus," Cerberus Capital Management, a company not unlike Bain, Romney's baby. Many investors like to this of this as a kind of neutral territory, as we've all learned during the campaign, beyond the reach of morality nerds. You maybe heard about Cerberus back when they took over ailing Chrysler in 2007.
It is also the fund that bought Bushmaster Firearms, the company that made the assault weapon used by Adam Lanza to massacre 20 children and seven adults in Newtown, Conn., last month. It bought Remington Arms, the maker of the pump-action shotgun that was among the guns James Holmes used to kill 12 people and wound 58 in Aurora, Colo. It bought a handful of other firearms companies, which it then merged into a new parent company, Freedom Group. At which point, Cerberus was the largest manufacturer of guns and ammunition in the country.
Doncha just love that name "Freedom Group" when it's about anything but freedom? It reminds me of our latter-day "conservatives" who don't know what the word means but like the idea because it sells. Or the words "health care" in the brochures of United Health Care. Or "democracy" in America.
And have you noticed that the NRA doesn't want us to call an assault weapon and assault weapon?