The Republican party is continuing its attack on what they feel are 'woke' investment and consulting firms that have Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) policies, as the Attorney General for the state of Utah has now filed a letter on behalf of over 20 states to challenge two major investment proxy firms that have staunch ESG policies.
Recently Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes sent the letter to Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass, Lewis & Company with an allegation that the firms allegedly violated their contract and legal obligations by dismissing proposals and other investment opportunities that did not sufficiently speak to ESG goals.
ISS prides itself on its ESG solutions to "enable investors to develop and integrate responsible investing policies and practices, engage on responsible investment issues, and monitor portfolio company practices through screening solutions."
Glass, Lewis & Company specializes in corporate governance with over 1,200 investment clients across the world, providing research papers and a custom proxy vote management solution for large investor bases. In two decades of business ISS has focused on "providing corporate governance solutions that deliver transparency and efficiency to investment, operations and compliance teams."
In the letter Reyes sent he accuses both companies of violating state and federal laws as well as violating agreements with the state investment vehicles. Reyes also reminded the firms of laws and regulations regarding proxy voting, deceptive trade practices and confirming the importance of staying true to economic value and principles.
For over a year the Republican party and Republican state attorneys general have made a public showing of their dismay of the ESG movement and the investment and consulting firms related to ESG. The GOP has received a lot of resistance from the firms, who can stand toe-to-toe with the party when it comes to financial backing and resources.
Political insiders have noted that the Republican-led anti-ESG stance is related to their obligation to their fossil fuel stakeholders.