A Republican in Montana’s House special election has financial connections to Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the U.S., according to The Guardian.
Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteKathleen Williams, Matt Rosendale to face off for Montana House seat Gianforte wins Montana gubernatorial primary Key races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries MORE reportedly owns shares of funds that have holdings in other companies, including Russian natural gas utility Gazprom, that are sanctioned by the U.S.
Gianforte owns $92,400 shares in ISHARES MSCF Russia AND $150,000 in VanEck Vectors Russia ETF, the report said. Gianforte made millions after founding a technology company in the 1990s.
A spokesman for Gianforte told The Guardian that the candidate will place his assets in a blind trust should he win the election.
“The situation with Russia is the result of the last eight years of a failed policy by President Obama,” spokesman Shane Scanlon said of Gianforte’s Russia position.
“The US and our allies need to work together on a long-term strategy to stand against Russian aggression in the region and to ensure the sovereignty of our allies is protected. In any foreign policy decision, we must always ensure that America’s interests are protected.”
A former State Department official who worked on sanctions policy told The Guardian that while the ties create a “question,” his “initial reaction is that this is not something to freak out about.”
“Index funds are usually just like mutual funds, excluded from consideration from a sanctions perspective because the ownership stake per person is incredibly small,” Richard Nephew said.
A spokeswoman for Rob Quist, Gianforte’s Democratic opponent in the race, slammed the Republican over the financial ties.
“Montana voters deserve to know why Greg Gianforte held on to his shady Russian investments after Putin invaded Ukraine, and again when Russia was accused of interfering in the presidential election,” Tina Olechowski said.
“Instead Gianforte kept his Russian ties secret during his failed run for governor last year.”
The Montana special election will take place on May 25.
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