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Washington D.C. – The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a field hearing Monday on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) newly announced climate risk disclosure rule. Since the SEC announced its final decision earlier this month, extreme lawmakers backed by special interests from the oil and gas industry have attacked the rule, including 22 attorneys general who filed several lawsuits against the SEC. 

“This hearing is another example of extreme policymakers in the pockets of the oil and gas industry leveraging their positions of power to undermine responsible investing,” said Kyle Herrig, spokesperson for Unlocking America’s Future. “Research consistently shows that attacks on ESG threaten the transparency of America’s financial ecosystem, families trying to save for retirement, and the environment. Americans overwhelmingly and across party lines support the SEC’s rule, and they agree financial managers should be empowered with this information.”

One of the key witnesses, Whitney Hermandorfer, Director of the Strategic Litigation Unit at the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, has ties to rightwing judicial activist Leonard Leo. 

Hermandorfer works directly under Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, a leading member of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). RAGA has taken over $20 million in funding from Leo’s network over the last decade. Hermandorfer has also recently been a featured speaker at several Federalist Society events in recent months, a conservative organization where Leo is the co-chair. 

Hermandorfer claimed the SEC rule “pushed the envelope” beyond what companies should be required to disclose. “It’s not just a disclosure regime – when you start telling companies they have to disclose things relating to climate that aren’t material, what we know is you’re trying to drive an end outcome to further the climate agenda,” she said.

Fact: Shortly after the SEC released its initial proposal, nearly 200 investment firms, nonprofits, and State Treasurers sent a joint letter reaffirming their support for the rule and outlining imperatives for the standard transparency requirements. 

Committee members used the hearing to push misinformation around climate disclosures. 

Representative Andy Barr (KY-06), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy, claimed during the hearing that “inundating Americans with trivial and non-material information and disclosures is not in keeping with what the American people want or need and [the SEC] need[s] to do a better job listening to the American people.”

Fact: New polling from Workiva also shows that nine out of ten investors believe the new SEC rule will help them make more informed investment decisions.