House Judiciary Expands ESG Probe into Top Financial Firms ‘Potentially Violating U.S. Antitrust Law’

Craig Bannister | July 7, 2023
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Led by Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), three members of the House Judiciary Committee sent letters to three of the nation’s biggest financial firms and two net-zero activist coalitions of activist financial firms, demanding information about their potential antitrust violations in pursuit of an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda.

On Thursday, letters signed by Chairman Jim Jordan, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) were sent to the leaders of five organizations:


The committee is seeking documents relating to apparent coordinated agreement to "decarbonize" assets under management and reduce emissions to net zero, the similar letters sent to the two financial activist coalitions explain:

“We write because the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM) are potentially violating U.S. antitrust law by coordinating their members’ agreements to ‘decarbonize’ their assets under management and reduce emissions to net zero—with potentially harmful effects on Americans’ freedom and economic well-being.”

The letters to BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street – three of five largest asset management companies – warn that they are “potentially violating U.S. antitrust law” by coordinating their investment decisions in furtherance of ESG goals.

BlackRock, for example, is a member of two activist initiatives, Climate Action 100+ and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM), which have facilitated the asset manager’s apparent collusion, the congressmen write:

“Through Climate Action 100+, BlackRock appears to have reached a collusive agreement with other institutional investors to “work with the companies in which [they] invest to . . . deliver[] net zero [greenhouse gas (GHG)] emissions by 2050.

“Similarly, through NZAM, BlackRock appears to collusively have agreed with other asset managers to “[w]ork in partnership with asset owner clients on decarbonisation goals, consistent with an ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner across all assets under management.”

Vanguard had been a member of NZAM until December 2022, when it dropped out in an effort to avoid attracting further scrutiny of its ESG-motivated practices.

On Thursday, in response to a Daily Caller request for comment about the letter from the congressmen, Vanguard issued a statement implying that the firm isn’t putting ESG considerations above the financial interests of its clients:

“As an asset manager owned by the investors in our funds, our unique, independent approach is focused on helping everyday retail investors achieve their long-term financial goals. We look forward to reviewing and responding to the Committee’s request.”

ESG has prompted activist asset managers to either favor or boycott industries, based on how “green” they are – not on their potential to improve their clients’ financial well-being. Boycotting the fossil fuel industry for a less profitable green industry, for example, doesn’t just hurt energy workers and increase utility bills, it also deprives clients of higher returns on their investments.