EXCLUSIVE: House Oversight Chair Probes IRS On Potentially Illegal ESG Practices

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer sent a letter Thursday to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, inquiring about how environmental, social and governance (ESG) actions by retirement plan administrators violate the IRS Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

The Daily Caller first obtained a copy of the letter, in which Comer requests information about state pension fund compliance with the IRC’s “exclusive benefit” provisions. The Kentucky Republican also accuses blue-state retirement plan administrators of using participant retirement assets to pursue anti-oil and gas policies.

“As part of an ongoing investigation into efforts by leftist activists to impose favored environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies across the U.S economy and society, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating whether state-sponsored pension funds are violating provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) related to investing for the exclusive benefit of their enrollees. The Committee seeks certain information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to advance its oversight of this matter,” Comer wrote.

Here Is What Comer Asks For In The Letter: 

  • The process used by the IRS to determine plans’ compliance with the exclusive benefit requirements of 26 U.SC. § 401.
  • Copies of any guidance the IRS has published to ensure the “exclusive benefit” test is met by plan sponsors.
  • The number of enforcement actions the IRS has taken against plan sponsors related to the “exclusive benefit” test in fiscal years 2018-2024 along with a brief description of the facts and circumstances underlying the enforcement action.


(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

“Recently some state pension funds have acted in ways that clearly are not ‘for the exclusive benefit’ of employees, instead using the plans’ assets and their associated shareholder voting rights to pursue their own political agenda,” Comer continued. “Blue-state retirement plans’ administrators have become aggressive in using the voting rights associated with their participant retirement assets to pursue anti-oil and gas policies, potentially in violation of the IRC’s exclusive benefit requirements.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Oversight Chair Probes Federal Reserve On Potentially Illegal ESG Practices)

In May 2023, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing to look into how asset managers and activist shareholders are partnering with left-wing advocacy groups to push ESG priorities. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Jim Jordan, House Republicans Launch Investigation Into BlackRock, Vanguard, Others Over ESG Practices)

Comer called for the requested information to be provided to him no later than June 20, 2024.