REPORT: House Republicans To Investigate Chamber Of Commerce Over ESG If They Take The Majority

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Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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House Republicans plan to launch investigations into the Chamber of Commerce for its endorsement of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing if they retake Congress in November, multiple congress members and operatives told The Intercept.

The Chamber of Commerce said in July it was “supportive of the development of ESG investing.” The Chamber also released a report on “ESG Reporting Best Practices” in 2019. Some Republicans have criticized large asset managers that use ESG criteria in their investment practices for allegedly “boycotting” the fossil fuel industry. Several state treasurers and governors have taken actions against ESG in response.

“How is it again that you can discourage investment in American energy when you own, or when you’re controlling board seats, of an American energy company, but you’re pushing it offshore to a Chinese energy company?” one conservative congress member told The Intercept, referring to ESG asset managers investing in Chinese fossil fuel companies after boycotting American companies in the same sector. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: There’s A $10 Trillion Behemoth That’s Hellbent On Forcing America To Be Woke)

“Then you throw that over into Judiciary [Committee hearings] and say, how do you reconcile this from an antitrust perspective?” the congressman continued, according to the report. “How can somebody actually be duty-of-care to the shareholders of one entity when you’re duty-of-care to the Chinese Communist Party’s-controlled energy company?”

A Chamber spokesperson, who spoke anonymously, said there isn’t “much to investigate” and added that “The Chamber is at the forefront of fighting the SEC climate, human capital and similar disclosures and believes fiduciaries must focus on maximizing return,” according to the report.

In May, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rules which would require investors to disclose how their business lines up with ESG concerns, a move which the Chamber endorses.

ESG is an investing practice which takes environmental and social considerations into account when making investment decisions, and penalizes companies which allegedly hurt the environment or are not socially constructive enough, according to Investopedia.