Utah Sues National Association of Attorneys General over Taxpayer-Funded ESG Investments

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Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) filed a lawsuit against the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) requesting an accounting of its taxpayer funds amid reports that NAAG uses those funds to invest in companies that promote left-wing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.

The lawsuit comes more than one month after Breitbart News revealed that NAAG uses public funds to invest in ESG.

Reyes’ lawsuit asks a Utah court to determine whether NAAG’s funds are subject to Utah’s State Money Management Act, a law that ensures “public funds are held and invested in accordance with Utah’s public policy.” They also request that the judge grant an account order to determine the portion of public funds that NAAG holds for Utah.

As the complaint states:

NAAG is a custodian of Utah’s public funds—so its investments must comply with the Act. NAAG holds public money from a series of legal settlements entered by Utah and other States who are (or were) NAAG members. In those settlements, the parties agreed to create special purpose funds—totaling over $100 million—for the public’s benefit and appointed NAAG to administer the funds. In fact, in a recent letter to Utah’s Attorney General, NAAG confirmed that assets in the funds belong to Utah and that NAAG is investing the funds on Utah’s behalf.

But it appears that NAAG does not comply with the Act. NAAG operates Utah’s funds at a surplus and invests uncommitted assets in securities, real estate, and other financial products. In other words, NAAG invests Utah’s public money in financial products other than those specified by the Act. NAAG also deals with non-state-approved institutions and does not report to the state treasurer.

To address the inconsistency between NAAG’s actions and what the Act requires, Utah brings this case to declare NAAG and its Chief Financial Officer to be public treasurers or custodians of public funds under the Act. Utah also seeks an accounting to determine what share of NAAG’s assets qualify as Utah public funds.

The complaint also cites a recent letter from Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach (R) that expressed “serious concern” about whether NAAG holds or invests public money “‘in ESG-oriented funds.”

As Breitbart News detailed:

Some goals of ESG include forcing economic and social change by cutting American fossil fuel production in order to promote the climate change agenda and forcing racial quotas on the boards of companies.

These priorities have seen attorneys general disassociate from the organization. But with the revelation of tangible public-fund investment into left-wing social priorities, some state leaders are looking at the prospect of suing for the return of their taxpayers’ dollars.

Notably, Reyes’ lawsuit cites several Breitbart News reports, including a report about NAAG’s taxpayer-funded investments in ESG and an interview with former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R), where he criticized the organization for its increasingly “left-leaning” slant.

Consumer rights organizations applaud Utah’s attempt to gain transparency from NAAG over their taxpayer-funded investments into ESG.

Consumers’ Research executive director Will Hill said:

I applaud Attorney General Reyes for taking legal action against NAAG which continues to put politics over consumers by investing in ESG. Utah is practicing good governance by standing up for consumers and not letting the ESG elites dictate American policy. Leaders like Reyes are on the front lines of the battle against the progressive’s political investment charade and Consumers’ Research will continue to offer our full support in the fight to end woke capitalism.

Further, Alliance for Consumers executive director O.H. Skinner praised Reyes “for going to court over the money at NAAG, putting his state and his consumers first.”

“NAAG has a track record of playing money games, including taking money from consumer settlements, investing that money in ESG-linked investments, and engaging in other questionable financial behavior,” Skinner said. “We’ve made it our mission to call out this behavior, and we stand ready to support Attorney General Reyes and any other Attorneys General who take action like this. We will not stop until the money at NAAG goes back where it belongs.”

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at jdixonhamilton@breitbart.com or follow him on Twitter.


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