Left-wing environmental, social, and governance policies in corporate America are “a clear and present danger to consumers and to our democracy,” according to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.
“An unelected cabal of global elites is using ESG to hijack our capitalist system, capture corporations, and threaten hard-earned dollars of American workers,” Marshall, a Republican, said before the U.S. House Oversight and Accountability Committee during a hearing with state attorneys general examining environmental activism, social justice activism, and governance practices at corporations.
“Since President [Donald] Trump’s election, the global elites have formed at least 10 alliances dedicated to implementing radical ESG plans,” Marshall said. “These alliances threaten consumers by limiting output, raising prices, risking retirement funds, and creating anti-competitive conduct. They also undermine our system of government because unelected elites are making policy decisions outside of democratic processes.”
ESG threatens America’s energy independence and national security. America achieved energy independence during the Trump administration, but ESG weakens America by constricting foundational economic sectors like energy, such that we now must beg foreign countries for oil.
ESG also makes America dependent on products made in China like solar panels and electric battery components. This threatens to give China and other bad actors a competitive advantage and leverage against the United States.
Other witnesses at the hearing included Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican, and Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, a Democrat, who was the Democrats’ witness.
“When it comes to material data, it’s irresponsible to tell investment professionals to ignore information that they can use to do their jobs better,” Frerichs said. “Frankly, I’m deeply concerned by the highly orchestrated attacks on the investment profession and the focus on restricting investors’ freedom to exercise their professional discretion and fiduciary duty.”
“To ask investment professionals to ignore material risks and investment opportunities is asking us to stop doing our jobs. For example, should we ignore what health care companies understaff their operations and jeopardize the safety of patients?” Frerichs asked. “Would you expect a company that does this continue to increase in shareholder value?”
Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, the grassroots arm of The Heritage Foundation, weighed in on Wednesday’s hearing.
“The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing on ESG is the first of several related hearings that will highlight the way the Left is attempting to subvert the free market and subject Americans to policies that are antithetical to their values and financial well-being,” Anderson told The Daily Signal in an emailed statement. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“Each hearing will explore the Left’s elevation of ESG and its increasingly harmful impacts on key national industries, like banking, farming, manufacturing, energy, and technology,” Anderson said. “Members of Congress have a duty to push back on the coercive impact of ESG and ensure that asset managers uphold their fiduciary responsibility to make investment decisions that will provide beneficiaries with the highest possible returns.”
So far in 2023, the governors of Utah, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana, and Florida have signed legislation into law aimed at combating ESG policies, The Daily Signal previously reported.
In March, a group of 19 Republican governors from “freedom-loving states,” as they called themselves, led by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, announced an anti-ESG alliance. The alliance includes Govs. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Spencer Cox of Utah, Jim Justice of West Virginia, Mark Gordon of Wyoming, and Kay Ivey of Alabama, among others.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct one of Marshall’s quotes about global elites.
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