Sen. Cruz Puts ESG and DEI in the Crosshairs

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives have become hot-button issues in recent years because the left has been quite successful in pushing these policies by circumventing normal legislative channels and using Americans’ own money to fuel their enactment.


Fortunately, we are witnessing a strong backlash against these unpopular and decidedly un-American policies throughout the country, both at the state and federal level.

To date, 13 states—including Florida, Idaho, Texas, and many others—have passed legislation that seeks to ban ESG investing when it comes to state funds, such as public employee retirement plans. A similar pattern is emerging in red states, where governors like Ron DeSantis are banning DEI initiatives in publicly funded universities and K-12 public schools.

While this is all well and good, it only addresses part of the problem. First, ESG and DEI are gaining momentum in blue states, where there is simply too little pushback. Second, they are becoming entrenched at the federal level, mostly due to the fact that they are being fully embraced by the Biden administration, which is using the vast powers of the federal bureaucracy in an attempt to permanently install ESG and DEI without the consent of the governed.

However, this could change soon.

On June 8, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill that would prohibit “companies that manage investment funds held in federal employee retirement accounts from using those holdings to vote in corporate shareholder meetings to force” ESG and DEI upon private businesses.

The bill, known as the STOP TSP ESG Act, specifically targets woke financial giants such as BlackRock, which Cruz argues, “is able to leverage its position as the fund manager to vote in shareholder meetings and to force publicly traded companies to adopt ESG and DEI policies, even if doing so adversely affects investor value.”


According to Cruz:

I am proud to join Congressman Buck and sponsor this legislation in the Senate to hold investment fund managers accountable and ensure they do not misuse their position as a fiduciary to advance an agenda contrary to the interests of their investors. As the managing entity of TSP, BlackRock is leveraging the financial weight of the federal retirement system to push their woke ESG and DEI ideology through other peoples’ investments. BlackRock’s manipulation and brazen politicization of federal retirement accounts is wrong and should not be tolerated.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), added:

For years, BlackRock has been leveraging taxpayer money to force unwilling businesses to accept ESG and DEI policies. Through its position as the manager of the federal Thrift Savings Plan, BlackRock has abused public capital to push a radical agenda and censor conservative media.

Although the bill is unlikely to be passed by the Senate or signed by President Biden, it should be noted that most Americans agree that investment decisions should be guided by maximum return on investment as opposed to furthering woke, leftist policies.

It also should be noted that emphasizing ESG and DEI over investment returns violates the fiduciary duty that investment management companies like BlackRock are supposed to follow according to U.S. law.


As the U.S. Department of Labor states, “The primary responsibility of fiduciaries is to run the plan solely in the interest of participants and beneficiaries and for the exclusive purpose of providing benefits and paying plan expenses.”

More and more, Americans are becoming aware of the fact that ESG and DEI are nothing more than leftist Trojan horses. That is great news for those of us who support shareholder capitalism; and quite worrisome for the elitists and left-wing zealots who assumed they could pull the wool over our eyes with ESG and DEI.

Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is editorial director at The Heartland Institute.


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