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Labor-Treasurer-Legislative Coalitions Coalesce to Counter the Anti-ESG Tempest

On Thursday, February 9th, 2:30pm EST, a who’s who of labor leaders and state treasurers launched a new coalition to counter the attack on ESG. Mary Kay Henry, Sean McGarvey, Randi Weingarten, and Becky Pringle, the presidents of the SEIU, NABTU, AFT, and NEA, joined Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, to "discuss the latest assaults by anti-labor, climate deniers who are coming for our members' pension funds, disguised as an attack on ESG investing."

Their announcement stated: "This anti-worker effort is spreading like a virus throughout the country with various states caving to bullies, monopolists and ideologues from the Wall St. Journal editorial page, MAGA world and beyond who oppose the progress we have made in establishing higher standards, lower risks, more competition and better long-term value for pension funds.” During the event, President Pringle promised that the alliance would establish state campaigns to rebut and resist the state by state attacks.

On Capitol Hill on February 23rd, a new Congressional Sustainable Investing Caucus was formed —co-chaired by Reps. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), that also includes Reps. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). Congressman Casten and twenty-five other members were active in former Congressman Andy Levin’s DOL letter submission to restore ESG.

As Heartland Governing Board officer David Keto points out in an upcoming media op-ed, "Leonard Leo and others who spearheaded the successful multi-year campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade are now leading the effort to politicize investing by attacking ESG-guided or sustainable investing, supported by over a billion dollars in dark money from an array of fossil fuel interests and right-wing billionaires."

We’ve included a few timely pertinent articles on this manufactured tempest-in-a-teapot, including an opinion piece published today, by Treasurer Freichs:


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