Jim Jordan Subpoenas Top Asset Managers In Woke Investing Collusion Investigation

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Will Kessler Contributor
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The House Judiciary Committee sent subpoenas to two asset managers on Monday as a part of a probe alleging collusion over the adoption of left-wing environmental, social and governance goals (ESG).

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the committee, sent subpoenas to both Vanguard and Arjuna Capital ordering the companies to hand over documents and communications related to possible violations of antitrust laws with a collusion agreement to promote ESG policies in the broader economy, according to a House Judiciary announcement. The subpoenas follow requests from July and August for the companies to produce the documents, and deem their previous responses to be “inadequate.” (RELATED: Proposed Banking Regulations Won’t Save Sector But Will Hurt Your Wallet, Experts Say)

“Corporations are collectively adopting and imposing progressive environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-related goals, and The Vanguard Group Inc. (Vanguard) appears to have entered into collusive agreements to ‘decarbonize’ its assets under management and reduce emissions to net zero in ways that may violate U.S. antitrust law,” the letter to Vanguard reads. “To advance our oversight and inform potential legislation related to collusive ESG policies, the Committee must understand how and to what extent Vanguard may have colluded to promote ESG-related goals.”

The investigation by the House Judiciary began in December 2022, when Republicans demanded that organizations that were a part of the ESG initiative Climate Action 100+ send relevant documents related to possible collusion between firms in violation of antitrust laws. The committee accused companies on the board of Climate Action 100+ of acting like a “cartel” to bring down corporate greenhouse gas emissions.

“Vanguard is committed to working constructively with lawmakers and has cooperated with the Committee’s requests, including it has never been a member of Climate Action 100+, despite claims from the committee. “As an independent asset manager owned by the investors in our funds, we remain focused on helping everyday investors achieve their long-term financial goals.”

Vanguard has produced 3,619 documents, still far lower than other companies contacted, with a number of those documents not related to the inquiry, such as copies of newsletters, out-of-office messages and meeting reminders, according to the letter.

“Contrary to your representation to the Committee, the documents that Arjuna has produced suggest that Arjuna may have artificially limited its collection of responsive documents,” the letter to Arjuna Capital reads. “Arjuna does not appear to have provided documents from its Managing Partner and Chief Strategist Farnum Brown, to whom the Committee’s requests were co-addressed, or from any other custodians.”

Arjuna Capital has only produced 1,934 documents so far to the committee, but is a member of both Climate Action 100+ and another ESG company coalition, the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, according to the letter.

The House Judiciary Committee deferred the DCNF to the subpoena notices. Arjuna Capital did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the DCNF.

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