The financial industry is the latest to attract the attention of DeSantis, a potential presidential candidate in 2024, for supporting what he considers “woke ideology.” He previously targeted Disney for opposing a bill that banned the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity to young kids. He championed a new law that limits how businesses train their employees on topics like race and privilege. He also signed legislation that requires state universities to administer campuswide ideological surveys intended to snuff out bias against conservative viewpoints.
DeSantis has been hinting at plans to challenge Wall Street since at least May. DeSantis addressed the Florida Bankers Association in Tampa that month, where he took shots at New York banks that he accused of using their financial power to advance policy, two attendees told CNN. DeSantis ripped financial institutions that wouldn’t do business with gun manufacturers and specifically called out JPMorgan Chase, which had a table of representatives at the event.
DeSantis suggested to the bankers that Florida could wield its massive pension fund like a cudgel against these financial institutions. The state oversees about $ 200 billion in retirement funds and another $ 40 billion in other funds, according to the State Board of Administration’s most recent monthly report.
The ESG movement is based on the idea that companies should recognize they have a role in solving rising external threats
, like climate change and racial inequality
. Conquering these systemic problems is not only better for society at large
, they argue
, but is financially prudent in the long run
. Among its most prominent adopters is Larry Fink
, the CEO of BlackRock
, a firm that manages $ 10 兆
. In his annual letter to corporate executives
, Fink argued that companies that adopt ESG principles are
“performing better than their peers
” 和 “enjoying a
“Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics,” Fink wrote. “It is not a social or ideological agenda. It is not ‘woke.’ It is capitalism, driven by mutually beneficial relationships between you and the employees, 顾客, suppliers, and communities your company relies on to prosper. This is the power of capitalism.”
Florida’s new rules stop short of declaring state pension managers cannot consider environmental factors when making investment decisions
, a key pillar of the ESG Investing movement
. Other states
, like Texas and West Virginia
, have proposed punishing companies that divest from fossil fuels in an effort to fight off a movement toward green energy projects and away from oil and coal
, according to reports from 纽约时报
DeSantis has accused the ESG movement of standing in the way of American energy independence, but Florida’s draft rules do not include the punitive measures pursued by other states. 代替, the proposed policy explicitly states “社会的, 政治, or ideological interests” are factors that state investment managers cannot consider.
在给CNN的声明中, DeSantis spokesman Bryan Griffin said, “Prohibiting pension investments according to political and ideological objectives will include ESG-style favoritism towards entities who use the environment as a cover for their politicking.”
“Simultaneously, the governor will continue to champion the environment through state initiatives like Everglades restoration, water quality improvement programs, and red tide research,” 他加了.
Under the new policy, pension fund managers would also have to exercise their voting power as shareholders “solely in the interests of participants and beneficiaries” of the Florida Retirement System. 今年早些时候, DeSantis was critical of Twitter’s board for attempting to beat back a bid by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to buy the social media website. DeSantis argued the board was not acting in the best interest of shareholders and DeSantis said the state pension board pressured Twitter’s board to consider the offer.
“If this is politics, we’re going to hold you accountable,” DeSantis said at an April news conference.
DeSantis has accused financial institutions of putting politics over profits. At a July press conference, DeSantis singled out major banks that are refusing to do business with GEO Group, a private prison company based in Boca Raton that has operated detention facilities for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
(The CEO of GEO Group, George Zoley, 捐赠的 $ 103,000 to DeSantis’ first campaign for governor and the company has contributed $ 150,000 to the Republican Party of Florida in the past year.)
“Those activists cannot implement those policies through the ballot box,” 迪桑蒂斯说. “People don’t want to abolish prisons, people don’t want to abolish ICE, people don’t want to defund law enforcement. And so they try to do it through the backdoor by basically kneecapping some of these companies.”
At his July press conference, DeSantis proposed partnering with other conservative states to drive out socially and environmentally conscious investment strategies using their combined shareholder power.
“What we need to do is get other like-minded states to have all of our retirement systems voting rights used as a block basically,” 迪桑蒂斯说.
DeSantis also said he expects to put forward legislation that will go after credit card companies, banks and money transfer services that block access to their services for political or religious reasons.
DeSantis accused PayPal of freezing the assets of Moms for Liberty
, an organization that is mobilizing parents around conservative education priorities
, and he previously criticized the crowdfunding website GoFundMe for cutting off funds to truck drivers that protested coronavirus restrictions in Canada
PayPal had previously cut ties with a crowdfunding site that was used by the Proud Boys and other rioters at the January 6, 2021, 袭击美国国会大厦.
国家代表. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, wrote on Twitter that DeSantis was “Forcing companies to work with Nazis.”
The presumptive incoming House Speaker Paul Renner affirmed this would be a priority for his chamber when lawmakers return to Tallahassee next year.
“This is a pocketbook issue,” Renner said at DeSantis’ July press event, “and we will not relent until we start dismantling this dangerous form of ESG.”