WASHINGTON, District of Columbia — Republican state treasurers from across the country launched their strategy against leftist Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies at the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) conference last week.
The Republican state treasurers last Monday launched a website, Our Money Our Values, along with a video explainer, hoping to educate Americans on the dangers of ESG policies. Multiple state treasurers explained to Breitbart News at the conference that ESG policies hurt each state differently. Hence, they must make a joint effort to combat the left-wing policies masquerading in economics.
“We’re committed to our fiduciary responsibilities to our constituents. We’re not seeking a political agenda. We’re not seeking to politicize or weaponize the assets that we have under management,” Nebraska State Treasurer John Murante said when announcing the new website and initiative. “We are seeking to get the best financial returns that we possibly can for our constituents.”
ESG policies are a form of leftist activism in financial investing that has become the latest vector to influence the way Wall Street financial firms and corporations continue to take social and political positions that do not relate to their business, such as stances associated with climate change, as well as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda. Wall Street firms, such as BlackRock, for example, sell ESG as a way to invest in specific criteria that the political left pushes on voters and consumers.
This all comes as state treasurers like Murante and the rest of the SFOF, who are in charge of their state’s investment and 401k, pension, or retirement funds, are standing up to demand full financial analysis of any investment product to figure out where money is being invested. Members of the SFOF also demand full disclosure of the fee structures that an investment adviser gets from an ESG investment versus a non-ESG investment, in addition to a comprehensive report detailing the metrics used by their advisers to determine if an investment meets ESG standards.
“Unfortunately, we have seen a commitment from large financial institutions and asset managers to collude with left-wing politicians both in Europe and the United States to accomplish a radical political agenda that they cannot get accomplished in Congress and in state legislatures,” the Nebraska state treasurer said during the rollout of the initiative. “We’re here to say that we are not going to allow the assets under our management to be politicized and weaponized. We’re committed exclusively to the financial best interest of our constituents,” he added.
Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder, who is the national chair of SFOF, added that he didn’t pick the fight between the companies, but that he’s “not gonna let any company through its corporate boardrooms and some of these World Banks, as I like to call them, put Louisiana out of business, or Kentucky or West Virginia.”
“I very clearly sent a message to corporate American through BlackRock along with Virginia and Utah, Arkansas and Missouri,” the SFOF national chair said, listing state treasurers who joined him in the effort. “We’ve now moved almost $2 billion from BlackRock … and I think we’re just starting on that.”
Schroder — who said he’s been accused of participating in a culture war when going against ESG policies — stated that he was elected to represent the Louisianans who make a livelihood from jobs in the fossil fuel industry. He explained that if the industry itself wants to change, it should be allowed to change, but that it should not be forced to do so by radical left-leaning policies pushed by corporate boardrooms.
“Let the politicians who are elected by their constituents push policy that they would like to see, let the businesses run their business, banks should be in the banking business, and let the elected officials who are elected to represent our states, represent our states,” he stated.
Thank you for the compliment, @TuckerCarlson. I will always act in the best interest of LA's citizens. Investing in a firm that wants to destroy one of our biggest industries is lunacy. #BlackRock #lalege #SFOF #latreasury #ESG
Full video @FoxBusiness 👇https://t.co/e25oOsDM7H pic.twitter.com/zcBeNmhQaF
— John M. Schroder Louisiana State Treasurer (@LATreasury) October 19, 2022
Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball told Breitbart News that during her seven years in office, she’s been able to have a front-row seat watching ESG progress over the years. She explained, “What ESG is, it really is pushing different ideologies and kind of dressing them up as investments. … It’s not about making sure that you can retire at the end of the day.”
When asked about how she explains what ESG policies are to constituents, Ball said it’s “so much simpler than people realize,” because when people hear an acronym, they usually believe it is very complicated, but “it’s really just that your pensions are supposed to be about making sure you can retire — that you get good returns. And there are people that are asset managers who are running your pensions, and they want to use the money to push certain agendas rather than just making sure you get a good return.”
Additionally, Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick explained to Breitbart News that the easiest way to explain what ESG is to his constituents is that it comes down to their money — either from their taxes or retirement — that “is being used by the people who are managing it on your behalf to advance social and political causes that you would not agree with … that also, by the way, are not in your financial interests — that are costing you money.”
“The thing that people need to understand is that ESG is just the latest acronym to describe what people want them to believe for good, well-intentioned advocacy, what is really just political advocacy for things that the Democrats cannot get passed through the democratic process, and they’re using your money to do it,” Fitzpatrick added.
He also said that the “highest form of hypocrisy” is actually that these large asset managers in charge of the money for the state’s retirement fund are “placing climate mandates on energy producers in America, but then turning around and investing in energy producers in China … that do the same thing, and they do it less clean, and they’re not having the same sort of requirements or mandates placed upon them.”