Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched a new initiative with 18 other states on Thursday to fight back against President Joe Biden’s woke environmental, social, corporate governance (ESG) agenda.
The other states that are joining the effort include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
A press release from the governor’s office said that ESG was “destabilizing the American economy and the global financial system.” The effort comes after Congress passed legislation to keep politics out of the retirement funds of American citizens, an effort that Biden opposed.
“We as freedom loving states can work together and leverage our state pension funds to force change in how major asset managers invest the money of hardworking Americans, ensuring corporations are focused on maximizing shareholder value, rather than the proliferation of woke ideology,” the joint statement from the states said. “[Biden’s actions] puts the pensions of thousands of hardworking Americans at risk to the radical environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) movement, rather than prioritizing investment decisions on the highest rate of return.”
“Retirees, already suffering from the reckless fiscal policies of the Biden Administration, will continue to experience diminished returns on the investment of their hard-earned money while the corporate elite continue to use their economic power to impose policies on the country that they could not achieve at the ballot box,” the statement continued. “The proliferation of ESG throughout America is a direct threat to the American economy, individual economic freedom, and our way of life, putting investment decisions in the hands of the woke mob to bypass the ballot box and inject political ideology into investment decisions, corporate governance, and the everyday economy.”
The statement outlined the following two efforts that the states agree to fight together on:
- Protecting taxpayers from ESG influences across state systems: Among other actions, this may include blocking the use of ESG in all investment decisions at the state and local level, ensuring that only financial factors are considered to maximize the return on investment, protecting retirees and taxpayers alike. This may also include eliminating consideration of ESG factors by state and local governments when issuing bonds or prohibiting state fund managers from considering ESG factors when investing taxpayer money.
- Protecting citizens from ESG influences in the financial sector: Among other actions, this may include banning the financial sector from considering so called “Social Credit Scores” in banking and lending practices aimed to prevent citizens from obtaining financial services like loans, lines of credit, and bank accounts. This may also include stopping financial institutions from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs, such as owning a firearm, securing the border, or increasing our energy independence.
DeSantis said in a statement that he gave the directive to fight against “the pernicious effects of the ESG regime by directing our state pension fund managers to reject ESG and instead focus on obtaining the highest return on investment for Florida’s taxpayers and retirees.”
“At the time I said we would spearhead an initiative to join with other like-minded states to send an even louder message to the financial industry that the American people have rejected ESG at the ballot box, and ideologues cannot and should not circumnavigate the will of the people,” he added. “Today, we have delivered on that promise. Florida has emerged as America’s economic engine, with an unemployment rate consistently lower than the nation’s and the highest rate of business formations of any other state. We will not stand idly by as the stability of our country’s economy is threatened by woke executives who put their political agenda ahead of their clients’ finances.”