Defund Iran is a newly formed national 501-c-4 organization. It will combat the terrible abuse of federal power by the Obama Administration by placing on the November 2016 general election ballots state constitutional amendments codifying and strengthening state Terrorism Divestiture laws. Our focus will be the key strategic battleground states – and as many states as possible.
Sarah Steelman earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia. She served as Missouri state senator representing the 16th District, when she served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce and the Environment. She also served as a member of both the Senate Committee on Aging, Families, Mental and Public Health and of the Senate Committee on Education; and a member of the Senate Committee on Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight. Between 2004 and 2008, Steelman served as Missouri State Treasurer. She has also worked for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Revenue, and as an adjunct professor in economics at both Lincoln University and Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Josh Mandel is the 48th Treasurer of the State of Ohio and the youngest State Treasurer in America. He was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 – winning both elections by double-digits. Josh is a Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq and previously served two terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. Last year, Josh was the only State Treasurer in America to be recognized with the Association of Government Accountants award for “Excellence in Financial Management,” and was given the American Society for Public Administration’s “Public Integrity Award” for “outstanding contributions to responsible and ethical conduct in public service.” Josh and his wife Ilana live in the Cleveland area with their children Rosie and Judah.
Waller earned his B.S. in political science from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 1992, his M.S. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota in 1998 and his J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law in 2003. His professional experience includes working as Deputy District Attorney for the 10th Judicial District of Pueblo Colorado, Reservist for the legal office of 21st Space Wing, Peterson AFB, Space Systems Operator for Schriever AFB and a private attorney. Waller served as an officer in the United States Air Force.
While many oppose President Obama’s so called P5+1 Iran Nuclear deal, including the State of Israel, several historical Arab Allies, every Republican presidential candidate and a majority of Americans, Defund Iran is solely focused on combating one specific provision of the agreement – the US Government’s requirement to use “all available authorities” to get States and localities to rescind their Terrorism Divestiture laws and allow taxpayer money to be invested in and spent with corporations doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism.
Paragraph 25 of the Agreement says:
“If a law at the state or local level in the United States is preventing the implementation of the sanctions lifting as specified in this JCPOA, the United States will take appropriate steps, taking into account all available authorities, with a view to achieving such implementation.
The United States will actively encourage officials at the state or local level to take into account the changes in the U.S. policy reflected in the lifting of sanctions under this JCPOA and to refrain from actions inconsistent with this change in policy.”
That means President Obama will be the Ayatollah’s lobbyist – using “all available authorities” of the Federal government to pressure the 30 states with Terrorism Divestiture laws and rule to rescind those statutes and allow their taxpayer dollars to be invested in and spent with corporations doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism. These state laws were passed with wide bi-‐partisan support, sometimes unanimously.
The Obama Administration will do whatever it can to persuade, cajole, or threaten State Legislators, State Treasurers and Governors into rescinding their Terrorism Divestiture laws. President Obama may try to issue an executive order mandating the rescission of these State anti‐terrorism laws. Or the Administration could try to tie up Federal funding for States that continue to refuse to invest in or do business with State Sponsors of Terrorism, like Iran.
Defund Iran wants to amend State Constitutions to prohibit tax money and pension money from being directly invested in companies that have active business operations in strategic industries in countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism. This would generally codify the existing anti‐ terror statutes and policies in the 30 States that already have passed. If these provisions are in State Constitutions, the Federal Government and the Obama Administration lose their leverage with a State’s elected officials.
While each ballot measure language will be reflective of its State, generally the language of the amendments will say:
“In order to ensure that taxpayer money and pension money does not support international acts of terrorism, the State of ___ and its retirement systems shall not contract with or invest in stocks, bonds or any direct holdings in companies that have active business operations in strategic industries in countries designated by the US State Department, as of January 1, 2015, as State Sponsors of Terrorism.
Existing contracts and/or investments must not be renewed, and must be cancelled or divested at the earliest prudent opportunity. Under no circumstance shall such contracts and/or investments be in force past December 31, 2018.”
Prohibited countries will be added to the list when designated by the US State Department as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Countries can be removed from the prohibition list only upon their reclassification by the US State Department, and an affirmative majority vote of the State House and State Senate and the signature of the Governor, or by the overriding of the Governor’s veto by the State House and State Senate by a 2/3rds vote.
Strategic industries include:
We want voters to have a chance to vote on this amendment at the November 2016 election ballot. In many states, the State Legislature will need to vote to put the amendment to a vote of the people. In some states citizens’ initiative petitions can place the issue before voters. Defund Iran will use both methods to give voters the right to say “Yes” to anti‐terrorism laws and “No” to the Obama Administrations attempts to get states to invest in and spend money with corporations doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism, including Iran.
No. The Federal government can cajole a State to spend its money in certain ways, but cannot command the State. That’s why the Obama‐Iran deal specifically says it will use “all available authorities” to “actively encourage officials at the state or local level”. We want end the Federal Government’s ability to pressure lawmakers by placing the anti‐terror provisions in State Constitutions. We want to give voters the opportunity to say clearly, “We will not invest in or spend our tax money with corporations doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism!”
The short answer is every state. We are staring with Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri and Ohio. The goal is to get the Defund Iran initiative on the ballot in a minimum of 25 states in 2016, and to have legislation seeking referral to the ballot introduced and voted on in all 50 State Legislatures.
The National Honorary Co‐Chairs of Defund Iran are former Missouri State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel, and former Colorado House Minority Leader Mark Waller. A National Board of Advisors and State Co‐Chairs are being announced. To see who is leading in your state, click National & State Leaders.
National polling by John McLaughlin and Associates show voters in favor of the Defund Iran initiative by a 70%‐to 19% margin. There is strong bi‐partisan support as 4 out of 5 Republicans (81%) 3 out of 5 Democrats (60%) and 7 out of 10 Independents (70%) said they would support the measure.
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