GOP report blasts Wall Street firms over climate, alleging ‘collusion’

House Republicans are blasting Wall Street firms over climate-minded investing, the latest flare in the party’s criticism over environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

House Judiciary Committee Republicans on Tuesday released a report accusing leading investment firms of “colluding” with climate groups.

Specifically, they accused major asset managers BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard of being part of a “climate cartel” that also includes activist groups.

The report itself primarily focuses on the actions of activist organizations that seek to move these and other asset managers away from investing in planet-warming industries like fossil fuels.

It alleged specifically that a group called Climate Action 100+ “Bullies and Threatens Asset Managers, Weaponizing Their Clients to Force Them to Join and Obey the Climate Cartel.”

The group, which promotes climate-friendly investing, denied the accusations, saying in a statement that it was “unduly politicized.”

“Investors who undertake investor stewardship on climate change are pursuing a common-sense approach driven by the pursuit of delivering the best long-term returns for their clients and beneficiaries,” said a Climate Action 100+ spokesperson in a written statement.

“Climate Action 100+ investors act as independent fiduciaries, responsible for their individual investment and voting decisions,” the spokesperson added.

State Street left Climate Action 100+ earlier this year, and BlackRock transferred its participation to its international division. Vanguard is not a member, and left the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative in 2022.

Vanguard spokesperson Netanel Spero said in a written statement that ”as an independent asset manager owned by the investors in our funds, Vanguard’s singular mission is to help individual investors achieve their financial goals by giving them the best chance for investment success.”

Meanwhile, the GOP report also blasts the Biden administration, saying it “has failed to meaningfully investigate the climate cartel’s collusion—let alone bring enforcement actions.”

The panel described its findings as part of an “interim” report and says it will continue its investigation.

It also said that it will continue to look into whether Congress should pursue legislative reforms to “protect competition in the American economy.”

Any legislative efforts are unlikely to gain traction in the current Congress, as the Senate is controlled by Democrats and President Biden is also unlikely to sign Republican reforms into law.

But the effort, alongside the GOP’s broader push against ESG investing, could provide a window into the party’s agenda if it’s able to win the presidency and both chambers of Congress this fall.

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