[Editor's Note: The Denier Roundup will be on vacation next week, enjoying a beach before the seas rise up and take it back. We'll return on August 9th!]
Do Republicans actually support a "free market," or is that phrase just longstanding code for the party's support for whatever happens to make their donors more money?
It's the latter, and always has been, but there's no longer any way for anyone to pretend otherwise.
As we discussed seven months ago, the professional disinformation crew has taken on an anti-ESG campaign to attack businesses that are at least pretending to try to be decent corporate citizens, and not suckers who invest in loser industries like smoking and coal. (Un-)professional bigots like Jordan Peterson are making it part of their grift, and in May, Mike Pence all but confirmed that it's a priority for the Koch network.
A year after Koch cronies started it, the campaign is up and running, with elected Republicans doing the bidding of companies that kill the climate and fund their campaigns.
The Republican Study Committee recently published a memo with its anti-ESG talking points and an exclusive at white-supremacy-laundering Breitbart. "ESG is a cornerstone of Democrats’ Green New Deal agenda" said Jim Banks (R-IN), "and one of the most serious long-term threats to energy independence and Americans’ pocketbooks. The Republican Study Committee will push to make combatting ESG a priority after 2022."
That means totally serious bills like the "Ensuring Sound Guidance (ESG) Act," which Breitbart (copying from the RSC's memo verbatim but just putting quotes around the funniest part) reported "would force investment advisers and ERISA plan sponsors to prioritize maximizing financial returns over 'fake ESG factors.'” Yes, factors like — to choose one company at totally random — not subjecting your Black workers to "plantation" conditions and women to situations where they may get a $250,000 settlement because the CEO allegedly flashed and propositioned them, factors like that are apparently "fake"!
Other bills would block the SEC's climate disclosure rule, "rein in proxy advisors" who do ESG ratings, and somehow "empower American investors by giving them a seat at the table and providing transparency in the corporate governance system."
Republicans at the state level aren't waiting for their party to win back Congress. Florida Governor, Murdoch-darling, and weirdo Ron DeSantis announced this week that the state's pension-fund managers can't use "political factors when investing the state's money," and since "political factors" are whatever a politician says, apparently, that means ESG investing. But Emilie Oglesby, the State Board of Administration spokeswoman, told News4Jax "neither the SBA nor its managers use ESG factors as a way to screen or limit the available investment opportunity set.”
Things are going much smoother in West Virginia, where yesterday state treasurer Riley Moore announced he was banning five big finance firms because they refuse to waste money on the coal industry. JPMorgan told the New York Times that “this decision is shortsighted and disconnected from the facts,” because its “business practices are not in conflict with this anti-free market law.”
Similarly, BlackRock said it “does not boycott energy companies” or "pursue divestment from sectors and industries as a policy," and Morgan Stanley said it too "does not boycott fossil fuel energy companies."
But hey, if elected Republicans were going to let facts and reality dictate their policies, they'd get primaried by dark money interests, and wouldn't stay elected for long.