Wasserman Schultz, Crist Lead Florida Democrats Calling On Florida To Divest From Putin’s Russia

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) sent a letter signed by all Florida Democratic Members of Congress calling on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to immediately divest the Florida Retirement System from Russian-owned or headquartered businesses and entities in response to Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and horrendous invasion of Ukraine. The Florida Retirement System contains approximately $300 million worth of investments in Russian-owned and Russian-headquartered assets and companies – some of which are directly supplying weapons, supplies, and fuel to the Russian military.
“Nearly a month into this despicable, horrendous invasion by the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, and Governor DeSantis still has not divested Florida taxpayers’ dollars from the Russian companies arming Putin’s invading force. Why not?” said Rep. Crist. “Russia is killing innocent Ukrainians, propping up socialist and communist dictators in Latin America, and threatening the safety of Floridians. Giving him more resources is unconscionable. Do the right thing, Governor. Get Floridians’ hard earned money out of Russia!”
“Urgently isolating Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs saves Ukrainian lives, and I’m repulsed that DeSantis and his fellow Republicans refuse to divest Florida’s Russian-tied assets,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “I’m also stunned that, given the chance, Florida’s Republican Members of Congress refused to sign this straightforward letter urging their counterparts in Tallahassee to wipe this blood-stained money off Florida’s investment books. Whether it’s Trump, Tallahassee or FOX News, Republicans still coddle and praise Putin. For the sake of the Ukrainian people, that must end immediately.”

The letter can be found here, with text appearing below.

March 24, 2022

Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dear Governor DeSantis,
We write today to request that you immediately divest Florida from Russian-owned assets and companies. As the Ukrainian people fight for their freedom against Russia’s heinous, unprovoked invasion, you must prevent our state from providing resources to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and the Russian armed forces.
Since the invasion began, the United States has unified the free world behind crippling economic penalties on Russia, including sanctions on the entities and people complicit in the suffering of innocent Ukrainian men, women, and children. These actions have been devastatingly effective and have shown Vladimir Putin our resolve – we do not cower to bullies; we confront them head on.
As of January 2022, the Florida Retirement System contained approximately $300 million worth of investments in Russian-owned and Russian headquartered assets and companies. Some of these companies are the same ones supplying the Russian armed forces and lining the pockets of Putin and his allies, including Rosneft Oil Company, Sberbank, Norilsk Nickel, Lukoil, and Magnit.
Floridians, our constituents, are patriotic Americans with deep convictions. Floridians stand up for what is right. It is time for our state’s government to do what is right and sever its ties to Russia.
Putin is providing a lifeline of support to the nefarious activities of Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel. By refusing to divest from Russian-owned assets and companies, Florida is propping up these dictators.
Now is the time for Florida to take decisive action and respond to Russia’s unprovoked attacks on the people of Ukraine. Through your role as head of the State Board of Administration, we request that you immediately divest from all Russian-owned assets and all companies headquartered in Russia. Given the absence of rule of law in Russia and the close ties between Russian companies, the Russian armed forces, and Russia’s elite, any such investments simply provide resources towards achieving Vladimir Putin’s heinous agenda – murdering innocent Ukrainians, reinventing the Communist Soviet Union, degrading democracy, and making the American people and Floridians less safe.
We look forward to your response.

Charlie Crist Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Stephanie Murphy Darren Soto

Kathy Castor Frederica S. Wilson

Al Lawson Lois Frankel

Ted Deutch Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick

Val Butler Demings