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Calvert Appoints Controversial Head Of Screening Committee

Massachusetts State Rep. Byron Rushing, who led a widely-publicized and controversial effort to limit the state of Massachusetts' dealings with the military government of Burma, has been selected as the new chair of the Calvert Social Investment Fund Advisory Council.

Rushing's effort sparked the ire of business interests and was challenged last year in the Supreme Court, where it lost by a narrow margin.

The council offers guidance on screening securities in Calvert's socially responsible mutual funds. It looks at issues of product safety, human rights and weapons contracting among other things.

Most recently, the council steered Calvert toward examining companies' involvement with the rights of indigenous people, said Calvert spokeswoman Elizabeth Lorienzo. "Someone with Byron's background and his tremendous history -- particularly in human rights--contributing to Calvert's social analysis is extremely powerful."

The council meets twice a year and includes more than two-dozen members from various political, artistic and academic backgrounds. Calvert, which has 27 mutual funds with more than $7 billion in assets, offers six funds under the Social Investment Fund brand.

Rushing is a longtime member of the company's steering and membership committees. He is an historian who served as director of the Museum of Afro-American History before joining the state legislature almost 20 years ago. He also oversaw the state's antiapartheid divestment of public pension funds.