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Kennedy calls for legislator pension fund to divest from guns, jabs Biss

Chris Kennedy and running mate Ra Joy outside the Thompson Center Tuesday. They called for state legislators to divest General Assembly pension funds that go to gun and ammunition manufacturers. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy called on Illinois legislators to halt all General Assembly pension fund investments that go to gun and ammunition manufacturers and called out opponent, state Sen. Daniel Biss, for being in line for those retirement benefits while simultaneously promoting gun control.

“Just like a budget is a reflection of an organization’s values, so too is an investment portfolio a reflection of an organization’s morality,” Kennedy said Tuesday afternoon outside the Thompson Center in the Loop, steps away from where Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer was fatally shot last month.

“I think it’s a little under $10 million,” Kennedy said of General Assembly funds invested in gun and ammunition companies.

“Daniel Biss is taking positions on both sides of an issue. Once again Biss claims this is the moral issue of the day yet finds a way to flip flop and benefit from being on opposing sides,” Kennedy said.

Biss’ campaign dismissed it as a “another ridiculous campaign stunt.”

“This is why this is just silly: Is Chris Kennedy making that same call to other members of the General Assembly who have endorsed his campaign?” Biss spokesman Tom Elliott said. “I really doubt it.

That’s because this is just another ridiculous political stunt by the Kennedy campaign.”

But Kennedy said it’s a matter of integrity.

“We need people of integrity. When we integrate what we say with what we do, then we have integrity, but unfortunately with Daniel Biss, we do not have that integrity today,” Kennedy said.

“The state has been moving from actively managed funds to index funds. … Many of them have gun and ammunition manufacturers in those indexes,” Kennedy said. “It’s really simple to fix.”

Elliott defended Biss’ record on guns.

“Kennedy’s assertion that Daniel Biss is not strong on gun control issues is absolutely absurd. He has a long record of supporting gun control in the state,” Elliott said before attempting to turn the tables.

In January Biss called for his gubernatorial opponents — including Kennedy — to divest from “dirty energy companies.”

“Kennedy was silent,” Elliott said. “But if you want to talk about integrity, we should start there.”

“Those companies were part of an index fund and Chris divested last year from those companies,” Rebecca Evans, Kennedy’s spokeswoman said.