Republican Party loses more financial corporate support due to 'anti-woke' agenda
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Isolating the Investment Community

As Republicans get ready to take control of the House of Representatives in January, their staunch 'anti-woke' agenda has isolated what used to be a longtime ally in the corporate world--the financial and investment industries.

The investment firms targeted by Republicans manage client investments in publicly traded companies and have a major influence on company operations, policies and affiliations with non-government organizations.

The motivation for the GOP's efforts is maintaining the current level of fossil fuel use to support their special interest groups, so the party has been persistent in its attempts to minimize large investment firms pushing climate and social agendas, also known as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.

"What's the real story behind this manufactured war?" Sierra Club Director Ben Cushing wrote in a Dec. 8 post. "It is an insidious, coordinated effort among Republican-elected officials, conservative dark money groups, and fossil fuel interests that is attempting to block progress to make the financial sector more sustainable...Republican politicians, serving fossil fuel donors, want to force institutions to ignore those risks, which puts their constituents' savings--and the entire economy--in jeopardy."

The GOP attack on investment firms is coming at both the federal and state levels, and current GOP legislation from Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer from Missouri would require managers of passive investment funds to vote on corporate shareholder proposals in accordance with the instructions of their investors, according to Politico.

The Fight versus Fink

A major target of the GOP's efforts against the investment community is the giant BlackRock investment firm, and specifically its CEO Larry Fink, as the firm manages nearly $8 trillion of investments and has the political power and capital to go toe-to-toe with the Republican party.

Fink has been an outspoken advocate for ESG goals, and he has pushed hard for companies that BlackRock invests in to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of their industry. Fink has also pushed for companies to be more transparent on social issues.

The Republican argument against Fink's 'wokeness' is that he is pushing his social agenda ahead of investor returns. Fink counters that argument by calling his management style 'stakeholder capitalism' at a New York Times event in November, and offers up the fact that BlackRock has provided its investors with a nearly 8,000 percent return on investment since 1999.

Neutral for the New Year

Most investment firm trade associations are staying on the sidelines for the fight between the GOP and investment firms. One large investment firm has come out on the side of the GOP, Vanguard, which abandoned an international climate change group this month, according to Politico. Republicans count this as progress, while their political opposition says this stance is doing nothing but further isolating the party from the new generations of younger voters, who prefer publicly traded companies have a strong commitment to ESG goals.

"The right wing attack on sustainable finance is little more than a stalling tactic that is bound to fail," Cushing stated in his Dec. 8 post. "The delay is just the latest form of climate denial."