Jim Jordan Subpoenas ESG Advocacy Groups Amid Probe Into Possible Antitrust Violations

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
November 2, 2023Congress
Jim Jordan Subpoenas ESG Advocacy Groups Amid Probe Into Possible Antitrust Violations
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks during John Durham’s testimony in Congress in Washington on June 21, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) subpoenaed a coalition of financial institutions and a corporate social responsibility advocacy group on Nov. 1 after they allegedly failed to respond to requests for documents as part of an ongoing probe into whether major climate groups may be violating federal antitrust laws.

The Ohio lawmaker, who heads the House Judiciary Committee, demanded documents and communications from “As You Sow,” which is a member of Climate Action 100+, and the “Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero” (GFANZ) as part of the committee’s wider investigation into possible violations of antitrust laws through agreements promoting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.

In a press release, Mr. Jordan said the committee first wrote to As You Sow in August asking that it turn over various documents relating to how it advances ESG policies, as well as other information.

“Corporations are collectively adopting and imposing left-wing environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-related goals, and the Committee is concerned that As You Sow appears to facilitate collusion that may violate U.S. antitrust law,” the lawmaker wrote in the subpoena letter to As You Sow, which describes itself as “the nation’s non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy.”

“To advance our oversight and inform potential legislation related to collusive ESG policies, the Committee must understand how and to what extent As You Sow may facilitate collusion to promote ESG-related goals,” Mr. Jordan continued.

In Wednesday’s press release, the lawmaker said that to date, As You Sow has not produced a single document in response to the committee’s requests and “has made clear that it does not intend to comply voluntarily with the Committee’s requests.”

Additionally, the committee wrote to GFANZ in July to request it hand over various documents relating to its ESG policies, Mr. Jordan noted.

NTD Photo
Mark Carney, U.N. special envoy for climate action and finance and co-chair of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, speaks onstage during the Bloomberg Transition Finance Action Forum at The Plaza Hotel in New York on Sept. 19, 2023. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bloomberg Philanthropies)

Emission Goals Would Require ‘Radical Steps’

In that original letter, Mr. Jordan accused GFANZ and its Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM) initiative—a sector-specific group of international asset managers within GFANZ that supports net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and has over $59 trillion in assets under its management—of coordinating and entering into collusive agreements to “decarbonize” assets under management and reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, which he said may possibly violate federal antitrust laws.

In his July letter to GFANZ, Mr. Jordan said such agreements could have “potentially harmful effects on Americans’ freedom and economic well-being.”

Reaching net zero by 2050 would require draconian “declines in the use of coal, oil, and gas,” the lawmaker wrote, noting that the declines could be as much as 98 percent for coal, 94 percent for oil, and 86 percent for fossil fuels overall.

“This, in turn, would require radical steps such as halting sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars by 2035, and phasing out all unabated coal and oil power plants by 2040,” he continued. “It also would mean that no new oil and gas fields must be developed, choking off investment in these industries.”

Additionally, the Republican said such “collusive agreements” harm both competition and consumers and are illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.

BlackRock logo
The BlackRock logo is pictured outside their headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City on May 25, 2021. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Concerns Over ESG Policies

Mr. Jordan said that while GFANZ responded to the initial letter in August, and responded again in early September, those replies were “inadequate” and provided “limited documents.”

The responses from GFANZ also excluded pre-2022 documents and communications related to its founding that had been requested, the Ohio Republican said.

“Despite discussions with and assurances of cooperation from GFANZ, GFANZ’s response without compulsory process has been insufficient and the Committee’s requests remain outstanding,” he said in the news release.

Mr. Jordan also sent similar letters to Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street, all three of which are the world’s largest asset managers, back in August.

The subpoenas come as Republican lawmakers continue to raise concerns over ESG policies, which are widely being adopted by a number of companies as a way of assessing their business practices and performance as they relate to environmental, social, and governance issues.

GOP lawmakers fear such policies could hamper investment returns and economic growth, which could have ripple effects across the economy, and many states have subsequently pulled their investments in BlackRock, among others.

Responding to Mr. Jordan’s letter on Wednesday, As You Sow President Danielle Fugere told The Hill her organization would “answer reasonable questions.”

However, she claimed the subpoena is “flawed, with demands that are inapplicable to As You Sow, and is so broad as to be virtually unbounded.”

She added that “the antitrust allegations at the heart of the Committee’s argument twists both the facts and the law.”

The Epoch Times has contacted GFANZ for further comment.

From The Epoch Times

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