Skip to main content

New CNN reporting reveals how the Foundation for Government Accountability, a “little-known, right wing think tank with deep ties to conservative billionaires,” is steering GOP leaders on major issues, including anti-responsible investing measures taken up by state legislatures across the country. 

From the story Emails show how a right-wing group steers GOP leaders on major policy issues

The “anti-woke” investment measures have cost states hundreds of millions of dollars in additional investment fees and can lead to smaller returns for public employee retirement plans. One study estimated a 2021 Texas law would cost taxpayers up to $500 million in higher interest rates just on bonds sold in the first eight months after the law passed. Another study calculated that the law cost local governments $270 million a year in added fees, resulting in an annual $668 million in lost economic activity and thousands of full-time jobs.

The article goes into depth on Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s war on responsible investing including his anti-ESG rule. The article continues:

Ashcroft said his rule is intended to protect investors, and that ESG policies can threaten people’s retirement money. However, nonpartisan studies have concluded that anti-ESG policies adopted in Texas drove up the cost to taxpayers of bond issuances by up to $500 million in less than a year. In Kansas, Indiana and elsewhere, anti-ESG bills were gutted after studies suggested they could cost state pension plans billions of dollars by restricting investment options.

Anti-responsible investing laws, rules, and regulations are unpopular with the American public, despite FGA continuing to enact its policy priorities.

Take the ongoing efforts to stop ESG. Legislatures in 24 states will consider at least 118 Republican anti-ESG bills this year, according to an analysis by Pleaides Strategy; many of those bills are based on models from FGA or its allies. Such measures, said Wisconsin’s Rep. Shelton, are disconnected from the average voter’s concerns. “They are funded by very wealthy donors who are interested in perpetuating the culture war for their own benefit,” Shelton told CNN. “They are creating the crises they want to address through legislation, not the crises that everyday people want them to address.”