Congressional Integrity Project research exposes witnesses, dark money behind dangerous anti-ESG push
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 6, 2023
CONTACT: Yael Sheinfeld, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. — Today, the House Oversight Committee held its second hearing designed to attack responsible investing — the strongest indication yet that Republicans aren’t just using anti-ESG as a wedge issue to drive culture wars, but as a critical piece of the Republican economic agenda.
Rhetoric from Republicans and their witnesses on responsible investing was noticeably more extreme, including dubbing ESG practices the “China ESG agenda” or the “climate cartel” and accusing companies with high ESG ratings of discriminating against white people. Witnesses also parroted talking points from right-wing activist Leonard Leo and his anti-responsible investing group, Consumers’ Research, by attacking Blackrock’s business decisions.
Ahead of the hearing, the Congressional Integrity Project released a memo exposing the extreme witnesses and the dark money behind these widespread and unpopular anti-ESG attacks.
“This hearing is part of a well-coordinated and funded right-wing attack by the oil and gas industry and other special interests seeking one goal: to put restrictions on businesses and their freedom to invest,” said Kyle Herrig, Executive Director of the Congressional Integrity Project.
“What this hearing says about Republican priorities is no different than what we’re seeing in general from James Comer’s Oversight Committee,” Herrig added. “Far-right fringe conspiracy theories and priorities have a home in this committee. Chairman Comer does not want to work on issues that help the American people, he only wants to play to the lowest common denominator in his party. It’s shameful, and it’s doing nothing to help the American people.”
Congressional Integrity Project research revealed that all three of the Committee’s witnesses have a history of pushing conspiracy theories and extreme right-wing policy positions, a trend that intensified at today’s hearing. The full memo can be found here.
Judicial activist Leonard Leo has helped orchestrate the coordinated campaign against companies making climate-friendly investments through his organization Consumers’ Research. Consumers’ Research received nearly $6 million from Leo’s group DonorsTrust and already, the group has spent more than $4 million on an ad campaign targeting BlackRock for speaking out about the clean energy transition.
The Congressional Integrity Project recently launched MAGABigOil.com to highlight Republicans’ hypocrisy. CIP also released research showing MAGA Republicans on the Committee have taken millions of dollars from Big Oil — and exposed numerous members for privately holding assets in ESG-linked investment firms.