Iran-Related Investments and the Connecticut Senate Race

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Oil and gas contributions have become campaign fodder in Senate races across the country this year, but in Connecticut, a different connection to the energy industry has emerged: investments in companies that do business with Iran's energy sector.


Republican Linda McMahon's investments in such companies were reported today by a Connecticut paper; Democrat Richard Blumenthal, meanwhile, has a much smaller stake in companies that do business with Iran's energy sector, as part of a family investment in a hedge fund.

McMahon's more substantial holdings were reported today by the Journal Inquirer's Don Michak, who pointed out that McMahon had publicly disclosed investments of between $157,000 and $480,000 in seven of the 41 foreign companies identified by the Government Accountability Office to have commercial activity in Iran's energy sector, including a formerly state-owned Russian energy company, Gazprom, that helped in the financing and construction of Iran's first nuclear plant. She made between $15,000 and $50,000 off those investments in 2010.

McMahon, who supports sanctions on Iran, is dropping those investments, her campaign announced today after the Journal Inquirer asked about them. McMahon's critics, naturally, have jumped all over this.

Blumenthal, meanwhile, also has investments in companies that do business with Iran's energy sector--albeit in a much more limited and indirect fashion.

The Democrat has disclosed between $250,000 and $500,000 in family-held investments in a Hong Kong-based hedge fund that, as part of its portfolio, invests in two companies on the GAO's list, according to a financial disclosure form Blumenthal completed in January. Blumenthal's investment is through his wife's family's investment group. Investments in GS Engineering and Hyundai Heavy make up .6% and .5% of the fund's net asset value, respectively, meaning Blumenthal would, by extension, have a stake of $1,500 to $3,000 and $1,250 to $2,500 in each. Blumenthal made between $15,001 and $50,000 on his investment in the fund in 2009.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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