Dr. Stein submitted the following statement in response to a request for comment from Daily Beast reporter Yashar Ali prior to the publication of his article on Dr. Stein's finances. If Mr. Ali is truly interested, as a responsible journalist, in full disclosure of one's conflicts of interest, he must also address the conflict of interest posed by Chelsea Clinton's position on the board of directors of IAC, which owns the Daily Beast.
An updated response to the Daily Beast article has been released. Please click here to view the full response.
Like many Americans who hold retirement accounts, pension funds, or who invest in the American economy, my finances are largely held in index funds or mutual funds over which I have no control in management or decision-making. Sadly, most of these broad investments are as compromised as the American economy - degraded as it is by the fossil fuel, defense and finance industries. Over the years I have taken steps to divest from the worst of these holdings - transferring my checking and savings accounts from Bank of America largely to a credit union, and divesting from GE, Dupont and Merck stocks I had been given decades ago.
While I have explored “green” mutual funds, I found their investments in fracking and large scale biofuels not much better than the non-green funds. I have not yet found the mutual funds that represent my goals of advancing the cause of people, planet and peace. Admittedly I have not spent a lot of time researching elusive ethical investments. I prefer using my time fighting for social, economic and ecological transformation, and recycling capitalist money into the fight to do so.
Of note, my husband and I hold separate investments that reflect somewhat different approaches to money management. These separate holdings are reported as such in my FEC filing.
I was fortunate to have inherited over a half-million dollars from my parents. I have used this resource to help build the social and political movements needed for transformative change. I used this money to fund my presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2012, statewide campaigns before that, and to help build the Green Party -- because, unfortunately, the most green, just investments won’t count for squat if the corporations and the super rich funding the Democrats and Republicans are still calling the shots. I also used this money to support my work with radical non profits, including the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, and the Global Climate Convergence.
Participating in the American economy by holding investments in mutual funds, retirement accounts, and index funds is a far cry from the Clintons’ back room fundraising and quarter-million dollar speeches for the predatory banks, health insurance industry, and fossil fuel tycoons. It’s also a world apart from the predatory economics, tax payer bailouts, and tax-dodging of Donald Trump. To the contrary, these investments are what tens of millions of working Americans must do to secure crucial resources for retirement. We need real options for ethical investing, including investments in the cooperative economy.
Retirement security should be a human right, guaranteed through expanded Social Security, not privatized through these types of investment accounts where financial managers make unsavory decisions for us. And above all, we must build political power that is independent of multinational corporations and the political elite that serve them. This is essential if we are to restore the elusive promise of American democracy and avert the imminent threats of climate catastrophe, endless war, and nuclear confrontation -- and build the just and sustainable future that is within our reach.