A group of Republican Senators has sent letters to over 50 of the largest law firms in the U.S., warning them about the advice they provide to clients regarding ESG initiatives, and advising them to preserve documents related to clients’ ESG practices in preparation for planned activities in Congress to investigate ESG-related antitrust violations.
In the letters, sent by Republican Senators Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Mike Lee (Utah), and Marco Rubio (Florida), the politicians claim that the “ESG movement attempts to weaponize corporations to reshape society in ways that Americans would never endorse at the ballot box.”
The letters mark the latest move in an ongoing anti-ESG push by Republican politicians in the U.S. In August, 19 Attorneys General signed a letter accusing investment manager BlackRock of acting with “mixed motives” in its pursuit of an anti-fossil fuel and pro-net zero agenda for following a “social purpose” not aligned with a focus on financial returns. Florida recently passed a resolution to no longer allow ESG considerations to be used by fund managers for its $228 billion of pension funds, and Texas publishing a list of fund slated for potential divestment from its pension funds, due to their strong ESG credentials and support for net zero investing and advocacy.
The letters point out the “particular concern” that there is a “collusive effort to restrict the supply of coal, oil, and gas,” resulting in higher energy costs and “empowering America’s adversaries,” and warns the firms of plans for Congress to “increasingly use its oversight powers to scrutinize the institutionalized antitrust violations being committed in the name of ESG.”
The Senators wrote:
“Although businesses would certainly be wise to lawyer up before undertaking ESG initiatives, your firm has a duty to fully inform clients of the risks they incur by participating in climate cartels and other ill-advised ESG schemes.”
Click here to access the letter.