Inside a conservative group’s war against BlackRock’s ESG investments

A conservative group known for targeting “woke capitalism” has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign attacking BlackRock and its CEO Larry Fink for “weaponizing” retirement funds with its push for more ESG investments, which promote environmental, social and governance responsibility.

Why it matters: The campaign by Consumers’ Research aligns with the posture of a growing faction of the GOP. House Republicans plan to make an assault on ESG a central part of their legislative and investigative agenda if they take back the majority in November’s midterms.

Between the lines: The crusade against ESG investments is something many conservatives feel deeply about — they view these companies as cultural enemies who are misusing investment funds to promote pro-climate policies.

As a result, key GOP committees are already planning to haul in the CEOs of investment firms — like BlackRock — for public lashings if Republicans are in power come January, Hill sources tell Axios.

The anti-ESG sentiment is also spreading through Republican-run state and local governments.

19 state attorneys general, led by Arizona’s Mark Brnovich, recently wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking the agency to look into BlackRock’s ties to China and whether it is prioritizing its fiduciary responsibility to investors.

Driving the news: Consumers’ Research’s latest campaign, out Wednesday, is a multi-pronged effort to raise awareness of BlackRock’s ESG efforts and paint them in a negative light.The group has circulated a “Consumer Warning” claiming BlackRock — the world’s largest asset manager — is using investors’ money to push a “radical agenda” that puts Americans’ retirement dollars “at risk in the name of progressive politics.”

The warning was shared in a letter to the governors of states where inflation is hitting the hardest, including Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Idaho, Alaska, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. The letter recommends the states review their connections with BlackRock.

Consumers’ Research launched a national television ad titled “BlackRock to Blame,” attacking the investment firm for allegedly contributing to rising inflation and gas prices.

Inside a conservative group’s war against BlackRock’s ESG investments

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