Officials in Kentucky asked managers of the commonwealth’s pension funds to ensure that environmental, social, and governance investing, also known as ESG, has no place in the management of taxpayer dollars.
Several conservative states have been opposing the investment methodology over concerns that the approach mingles left-wing political causes with the maximization of profits. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball told the managers of the commonwealth’s public pension authority and teachers’ retirement system, which handle a combined $66 billion, that ESG investment practices “violate statutory and contractual fiduciary duties,” according to a letter provided to The Daily Wire.
“We write today to request that you, as the executive directors of the Commonwealth’s major public pension systems, advise our offices about your systems’ efforts to ensure that ESG considerations are not being implemented in your systems’ investment decisions, consistent with Kentucky law,” the letter said. “Your response is essential to guaranteeing that politics has no place in Kentucky’s public pensions.”
The officials cited an opinion from Cameron asserting that “investment managers entrusted to make financial investments for Kentucky’s public pension systems must be single-minded in their motivation,” meaning that activism “has no place” in commonwealth investment decisions. “Whether these ancillary purposes are societally beneficial is beside the point when speaking of the duty of fiduciaries,” he argued.
“Kentuckians worked hard for decades to earn their pensions and rely on them for livelihood in retirement. It is important their investments are maximized, not politicized,” Ball said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire. “As the watchdog of taxpayer dollars, I remain committed to ensuring funds are invested and spent consistent with the law.”
Multiple conservative states have already divested from entities supporting ESG, arguing that the movement inevitably entangles social agendas with fiduciary duties. Missouri, South Carolina, and Louisiana have pulled over $1 billion from asset management company BlackRock, which has taken “voting action on climate issues” against dozens of portfolio companies. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has stated on multiple occasions that “climate risk is investment risk,” necessitating the support of a rapid global transition toward renewable energy.
“The joint action of Treasurer Ball and Attorney General Cameron sends a clear message to Kentucky’s pension fund investment managers: their obligations are to work for the pensioners, not the Democratic Party, international climate groups, or megalomaniacs like Larry Fink,” Consumers’ Research Executive Director Will Hild said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire. “We applaud both officials in standing up for the citizens of Kentucky, who are being crushed due to reckless, illegal actions by companies like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street that put progressive politics above their legal and moral duties.”
Nineteen state attorneys general launched an investigation this month into six major banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, to evaluate their degree of involvement with ESG and their commitments to pursue the reduction of carbon emissions. An exclusive poll from The Daily Wire showed that American investors would prefer that companies commit solely to the pursuit of profits, with 58% of respondents agreeing that companies leveraging their power for political or social ends is a “bad thing.”