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To: Interested Parties
From: Unlocking America’s Future
RE: Upcoming congressional hearings on responsible investing (ESG)
Date: January 9, 2024

This week, House Republicans are expected to hold hearings on issues related to responsible investing: 

As we head into the hearings, we expect to hear more of the same baseless, debunked attacks on responsible investing.  These attacks are being led by House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Oversight Committee who collectively have received over $16,000,000 (appendix A) in campaign contributions from big oil.  While House Republicans attack responsible investing to protect the special interests that back their campaigns, it’s important to keep in mind that these attacks hurt everyday Americans and are unpopular across the political spectrum.     

Attacks on responsible investing hurt everyday Americans, resulting in billions of dollars of losses from pensions and harm to local economies. 

  • The Kansas State Division of the Budget projected reduced returns of $3.6 billion over 10 years for the Kansas Public Retirement System if anti-ESG investment restrictions were adopted. 
  • The Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System estimated that they could lose $30 million to $40 million per year due to an anti-ESG bill that would require the State Treasurer and public entities to divest assets from certain institutions that use ESG-related metrics. The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System estimated that the system could lose an additional $7 million or more per year as a result of the legislation. 
  • An analysis by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found that Texas municipalities will be paying $300 million to $500 million in additional interest because of the state’s anti-ESG law – and that’s just on the $31.8 billion borrowed in the first eight months after the law went into effect.   
  • An analysis by the economics consulting firm ESI for the Sunrise Project found that taxpayers in six states — Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Missouri — could be on the hook for up to $700 million in excess interest payments if restrictions on sustainable investing are implemented.
  • A 2022 study found Texas’ anti-responsible investing laws would result in up to $500 million in undue interest over the first eight months of enforcement, costs which would ultimately be borne by taxpayers in the state.

Attacks on responsible investing are unpopular among Americans across the political spectrum.

  • Poll after poll shows that Americans do not support attacks against responsible investing. 
  • Both Democrat and Republican state officials have denounced these attacks, citing the economic impact of legislation that would block sustainable investments. 
  • More than half of national likely voters (53%) support their state investing public retirement funds in assets related to clean energy.

Self-interested special interests are behind the attacks on responsible investing. 

  • Fossil fuel companies are “the major driver in the fight against sustainable finance,” according to documents obtained by InfluenceMap.  
  • Leonard Leo, the conservative kingpin known for remaking the judiciary, has spearheaded several initiatives and organizations to target responsible investing.