Republican lawmakers will probe the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and large private investors for their role in pushing an environmental agenda throughout the financial sector after the midterm elections.
Republican Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said that investigating the Biden administration and Wall Street’s use of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) principles will be a major focus of his committee if Republicans gain a majority in the House on Nov. 8, according to The Washington Post. The lawmakers argue that large financial institutions have withheld investment from businesses that they don’t consider to be eco-friendly based on their ESG criteria. (RELATED: Kentucky Officials Demand Proof That State Pension Funds Aren’t Used For Woke Investing)
“My view is that ESG investing is a cancer within our capital markets,” Barr told the Post. “It is a fraud on American investors.”
Barr and other Republicans hope to force SEC Chairman Gary Gensler to answer questions on the agency’s proposed climate disclosure rule, which would require all publicly traded companies to disclose their carbon emissions and climate change risks, the Post reported. The rule could allow climate-focused investors to more easily discern the “climate risks” of certain businesses and pressure them to become more eco-friendly.
Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska introduced a bill in May to combat major investors’ influence and will continue discussing such actions with industry executives, his spokesman told the Post.
“We’ve become the loud noise in their right ear after all the screaming in their left ear,” Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said about GOP efforts to push back against Wall Street firms’ climate-focused investment strategies, according to the Post.
Republican Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri and ranking member on the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions told the Post that he wants to force BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street executives to testify in front of the financial services committee as the three massive money managers have used their financial influence to push companies to adopt their climate agenda and other political movements.
BlackRock, which manages nearly $8 trillion in assets, has been scrutinized by Republican attorneys general and state treasurers over its alleged failure to place the interests of its investors above the firm’s stance on climate change.
The Republicans are expected to take back the House in the midterm elections and will hold a majority in the House Financial Services Committee as well as other committees that can be used to probe the SEC, banks and asset managers.
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