Here's an interesting story in the Christian Science Montitor about the politics of state employee pension funds -- and where they're being invested.

This first came to my attention a couple years ago, when human rights groups began calling for state pension funds to divest from companies that do business with Sudan. 

Now, though, states are increasingly moving their pension investments from companies dealing with countries that the US considers state sponsors of terror:

"This is an empowering action for Americans who have looked for a way to do their part about terrorism and the countries sponsoring it," says Missouri state treasurer, Sarah Steelman, whose efforts have resulted in what is considered the first state-level "terror-free" financial-management program. ...

"Terror-free investment is a train that we believe is picking up steam," says Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington and a force behind the effort. He says analysis of the largest pension funds in the US shows that about a fifth of their portfolios are in companies doing business in countries listed by the US as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.