Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are already gearing up to investigate what they see as “woke capitalism,” a reference to Wall Street firms that treat climate change as an economic risk, The Washington Post reports.
Polls suggest the GOP will retake the House, and Republicans there are preparing to grill the chief executives of big financial firms as well as Gary Gensler, the Democratic chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, about their efforts to curb climate change. In the Senate, where polls show a toss-up battle for control of the chamber, key senators are pushing legislation to punish businesses that prioritize environmental, social and governance causes—known as ESG—rather than pure profits.
The moves are sure to escalate the battle over ESG investing and have a further chilling effect on Wall Street, where some CEOs are scrambling to emphasize that their firms are still investing in fossil fuels.
Rep. Garland “Andy” Barr, R-Ky., said in an interview that ESG principles “will be one of the major focuses of oversight of a Republican majority” on the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees the nation’s banking, insurance and real estate sectors.
“My view is that ESG investing is a cancer within our capital markets,” Barr says. “It is a fraud on American investors.” Read the full story from The Washington Post (subscription) here.