A prominent conservative group that is combating “woke capitalism” rolled out a mobile billboard Tuesday as part of a new ad campaign against President Biden’s first expected veto to preserve his ESG investing rule.
Consumers’ Research, an opponent of environmental, social and corporate governance investing or ESG, launched digital ads and three mobile billboards that will roam the streets of the nation’s capital.
The mobile billboards pose the question “What Does ESG Really Stand For?” and provide three “definitions” of ESG: Enabling Slave labor & Genocide; Elitists, Socialists, & Grifters; and Erasing Savings & Growth. The billboards also target some of the movement’s biggest Wall Street supporters, including BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street.
“Allowing retirement plans to include ESG considerations undercuts the will of the American people by permitting ESG elites, like BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, to have unfettered control of the American people’s retirement dollars,” Consumers’ Research Executive Director Will Hild said. “President Biden clearly cares more about politics than people.”
Mr. Biden is preparing to issue his first veto in the coming days to block a congressional resolution that would overturn a new Labor Department rule allowing 401(k) fiduciary managers to engage in ESG.
The GOP-led congressional resolution that Mr. Biden is set to veto was passed earlier this month with the help of three vulnerable Democrats who joined all Republicans: Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, and Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia. Congress will be unable to secure a veto-proof majority, which means the administration’s ESG rule will remain in place.
Opponents of the ESG rule say it jeopardizes Americans’ retirement savings and that clients may be unaware their money could go toward causes they don’t support while proponents argue ESG is a decades-old practice that considers relevant factors outside standard fiduciary risks to maximize returns.
The campaign from Consumers’ Research comes amid Republicans’ broader war against ESG and just days after the advocacy group rolled out an anti-ESG playbook for how the GOP can dismantle the movement. Their 31-page report includes detailed questions that they want Republican lawmakers to pose to witnesses during ESG hearings on Capitol Hill.
In a note to congressional leaders, Mr. Hild called ESG an “existential threat to our liberty.”
Andrew Behar, CEO of the pro-ESG shareholder advocacy nonprofit As You Sow, said Mr. Biden’s ESG rule is about allowing free markets to work without Washington getting in the way.
“While some politicians are playing politics with retirees’ hard-earned savings, this administration has committed to protecting American workers’ and retirees’ financial security by allowing them to make investment choices without government interference,” Mr. Behar said.