DeSantis announces 19-state coalition to fight ESG agenda
"We will not stand idly by as the stability of our country’s economy is threatened by woke executives who put their political agenda ahead of their clients’ finances," the Florida governor said.
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On Thursday, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis declared the formation of an 19-state alliance to combat environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing practices that the Biden administration has endorsed.
The practice has come under scrutiny from Republicans who have asserted that asset managers must prioritize profitability when making investing decisions or risk breaching their fiduciary duties to investors.
"We will not stand idly by as the stability of our country’s economy is threatened by woke executives who put their political agenda ahead of their clients’ finances," the Florida governor said, according to The Hill.
DeSantis took the first steps towards fighting ESG practice in January when he barred asset managers handling state funds from considering ESG concerns while investing.
"The proliferation of ESG throughout America is a direct threat to the American economy, individual economic freedom, and our way of life, putting investment decisions in the hands of the woke mob to bypass the ballot box and inject political ideology into investment decisions, corporate governance, and the everyday economy," reads a joint statement from the participant states, according to The Hill.
Florida, along with Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming, make up the coalition's members.
"We as freedom loving states can work together and leverage our state pension funds to force change in how major asset managers invest the money of hardworking Americans, ensuring corporations are focused on maximizing shareholder value, rather than the proliferation of woke ideology," they continued.
At the national level, both the House and Senate have approved legislation to terminate a Labor Department rule permitting ESG investing practices, though President Joe Biden will likely veto the measure.
The practice has faced renewed scrutiny amid the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and other financial institutions that heavily emphasized ESG initiatives.
Former Assistant Treasury Secretary Monica Crowley said on the "John Solomon Reports" podcast in March that ESG practices affected the ruin of those banks. "[I]n this situation the DEI and ESG are part of this," she said. "It is 100% true that we are seeing industries, companies across the board that changed their focus to a social justice platform more than their actual core business, there are deleterious effects on that core business."
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.