This week, the House GOP is at it again with another series of partisan stunt hearings focused on pushing the MAGA agenda by attacking environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment strategies. Even though MAGA policies enacted at the state level to ban responsible investing have already cost taxpayers millions, Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee are desperate to reward deep-pocketed campaign contributors who stand to lose from responsible investing by inviting a slate of witnesses including a revolving door lobbyist with close ties to the Trump administration, a former Trump appointee currently representing a lawsuit aiming to block retirement managers from considering ESG in investing, and an industry shill working for a think tank backed by oil & gas companies. MAGA Republicans currently working to undermine responsible investing would rather pursue partisan stunts than address the real financial issues facing most Americans like inflation.
Mr. Christopher Netram is the managing Vice President of tax and domestic economic policy for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), an advocacy group that worked closely with the Trump administration to craft economic policy and has a history of working against shareholder and consumer protection law. He is also a revolving door lobbyist who spent years as a tax counsel, advisor, and top staffer working for Congressional Republicans.
- Netram Is A Revolving Door Lobbyist Who Spent Years Working For Republicans In Congress. Netram served as a tax counsel and deputy chief of staff to Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) from 2014 to 2017 in the House Ways and Means committee. His biography on the NAM website continues to list this experience, bragging that his draft legislation was “incorporated into the House Republican tax reform blueprint” passed in 2017 under former President Trump. Netram also served in the Senate as a tax counsel and budget advisor from 2012 to 2014 for Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
- Netram Works For The National Association of Manufacturers, An Advocacy Group With A History Of Supporting Corporate Interests Over Consumer and Shareholder Protections. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has a history of challenging consumer and shareholder protections. It launched a lawsuit challenging part of the 2010 Dodd Frank Wall Street reform law passed in the wake of the Great Recession requiring publicly traded companies to disclose whether the products they produce include materials from conflict zones, specifically the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ultimately, the case (and subsequent appeals) found that the government did not violate the first amendment by compelling companies to disclose.
- The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Held Close Ties To The Trump Administration and Trump-Era House GOP. NAM held close ties with the White House and Congressional Republicans during the Trump administration. As Business Insider wrote, “The manufacturing industry suddenly has unfettered access to the White House under Trump, and it’s making a killing.” The former President gave an address to the NAM board in 2017, and the organization later hired several former Trump officials as lobbyists. In 2018, Republican House Ways & Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) suggested that Trump’s hallmark economic policy, the Tax Cuts And Jobs Act of 2017, would not have happened without NAM leadership.
Jonathan Berry is an attorney currently representing an oil company in a lawsuit seeking to block retirement plan managers from considering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in investing decisions. He is also a former Trump appointee who served on the former president’s transition team before joining the Department of Justice and Department of Labor and has a history of taking cases opposing environmental regulations, corporate board diversity requirements, and gender-based pay discrimination.
- Berry Is A Former Trump Appointee Who Served On His Transition Team Before Joining The Department of Justice and Later The Department of Labor. After the 2016 election, Berry joined Trump’s transition team as the chief counsel advising on ethics and legal policy. He was later appointed to the regulatory office at the Department of Labor, where he oversaw the development process of dozens of final rules and drafted guidance on opposing state-level ESG disclosure protections. He also took on other regulatory matters at the Department of Labor, and announced a policy that experts said makes it “easier for tech companies to discriminate against workers” and “impedes efforts to close the gender pay gap in silicon valley.”
- Berry Is Currently Representing An Oil Company In A Lawsuit Against The Department Of Labor’s ESG Rule Protecting Retirement Managers. Berry is currently representing Liberty Energy, Liberty Oilfield Services LLC, and Western Energy Alliance in their lawsuit to block the Department Of Labor’s ESG rule that has been joined by a coalition of 25 Republican state attorneys general seeking to block “the implementation of a U.S. Department of Labor rule governing how retirement plan managers can consider things such as climate change and social justice while making investment decisions.” The case is ongoing in a US District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
- Berry Has A History Of Taking Cases Opposing Environmental Regulations and Corporate Board Diversity Requirements. In 2021, Berry filed an amicus brief on behalf of the MAGA America First Policy Institute in opposition to the EPA’s clean power plan. In addition to opposing environmental regulations, Berry has long advocated against diversity pushes in boards and workplaces, representing a client who sued the SEC for approving NASDAQ’s corporate board diversity requirements and recently celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action admission policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.
Tim Doyle is a policy advisor with a history of working for groups funded by the oil & gas industry who has spent his career shilling for the industry agenda. He currently serves as a senior advisor to the Bipartisan Policy Center – a group that has taken funding from numerous oil & gas companies – and previously served the former vice president of policy for the American Council for Capital Formation, which similarly received millions from the oil & gas industry.
- Doyle Has Worked At Two Organizations That Have Both Been Funded By Oil & Gas Interests. Since 2019, Doyle has served as a senior advisor to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a group that has received contributions from Cheniere Energy, Inc., Chevron Corporation, Devon Energy Corporation, Dominion Energy, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and Pioneer Natural Resources. Prior to joining the Center, Doyle was the vice president of policy and general counsel of the American Council For Capital Formation (ACCF), which has received millions in funding from the oil & gas industry, including $1.8 million from ExxonMobil and over $550,000 from the American Petroleum Institute.
- Doyle Has Consistently Shilled For the Oil & Gas Industry Agenda, Praising Trump Administration Initiatives and Executive Orders Propping Up The Industry. Throughout the Trump administration, Doyle consistently supported efforts to deregulate the oil & gas industry. In 2018, Doyle praised the Trump administration’s guidance against state-level protections for ESG investing disclosures, saying the administration supposedly “took action to ensure investors are protected from the political agenda of activist fund managers.” In 2019, he claimed former President Obama’s “energy regulation agenda was committed to its demise,” and later praised Trump for executive orders supporting gas pipelines like Keystone XL in order to “check the misuse of environmental laws by activists and their patrons in state elective office and regulatory agencies.” Doyle also attended a Trump White House event announcing new initiatives to deregulate environmental policy, later issuing a statement calling Obama-era regulations efforts to “unfairly punish industries and harm the economy that would destroy opportunities for working American families.