House Republicans Warn ESG Policies May Violate Antitrust Laws, Demand Documents from Investor Group

Posted 106 days ago


Six Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have launched an investigation looking into whether major climate groups are violating federal antitrust laws in their effort to push the “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) agenda.

Their concerns were raised in a letter dated Dec. 6 to two executives on the Steering Committee for investor group Climate Action 100+, in which they argued that ESG, at its core, was “merely partisan politics masquerading as responsible corporate governance.”

The ESG agenda has now included “stifling investment in oil and gas,” gun control, abortion access, and “fake news dissemination,” according to the letter.

The lawmakers likened the climate action investor group to a “cartel,” whose job was to “ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change,” quoting from the group’s website.

“Woke corporations are collectively adopting and imposing progressive policy goals that American consumers do not want or do not need. An individual company’s use of corporate resources for progressive aims might violate fiduciary duties or other laws, harming its viability and alienating consumers,” the lawmakers wrote.

They added, “But when companies agree to work together to punish disfavored views or industries, or to otherwise advance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals, this coordinated behavior may violate the antitrust laws and harm American consumers.”

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The letter was signed by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Dan Bishop (R-N. C.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Scott Fitzgerald (R-Wis.), and Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.). Jordan, currently the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, will be the committee’s chairperson in the Republican-led House in January.

“Corporate America’s collusion in pursuit of ESG goals may violate federal or state antitrust laws,” the lawmakers added, pointing out how antitrust law is usually “skeptical of cooperation among competitors.”

“When enterprises like Climate Action 100+ or Ceres invite or facilitate collusion to achieve progressive policy goals, that activity can aid anticompetitive and unlawful agreements and behavior,” they added. Ceres is a nonprofit organization and a co-founder of Climate Action 100+.

The letter cited an op-ed written by Sean Fieler, the president of New York-based investment firm Equinox Partners. The Wall Street Journal published the op-ed, titled “The ESG Movement Is a Ripe Target for Antitrust Action,” in June.... (Read more)

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