A new report out earlier this month shows that Wall Street’s near-religious adherence to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards is an effort run by Democrat political operatives at the nation’s premier financial institutions.
On Aug. 9, the American Accountability Foundation (AAF), a nonprofit governmental watchdog, published a 47-page report chronicling Wall Street ties at the “Big Three” asset management firms, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, with Democrat politicians who have a history of radical activism.
“The number of liberal staffers that are now serving in influential roles in financial firms raises the question — has a new ‘revolving door’ come to Washington?” researchers wrote in their memorandum of the report. “While traditionally D.C. staffers will go from official positions to K Street — there now seems to be a new trend emerging of D.C. staffers going from official positions to Wall Street.“
Together, the “Big Three” asset management firms control about $22 trillion in assets, of which BlackRock CEO Larry Fink acknowledged, “none of it is our money.” Assets include taxpayer pension funds, 401(k)s, and IRAs, which inspired the title of AAF’s report, “‘None of It is Our Money’: An Introduction to the Leftist Activists and Liberal DC Insiders at BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street Using Your Money to Advance Their Political Agenda.”
In January, West Virginia Republican Treasurer Riley Moore pulled his state’s taxpayer money from BlackRock’s management over the firm’s championship of ESG standards to constituents’ detriment.
“Environmental issues in particular have become important to these asset managers,” AAF researchers wrote. “All three of BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street are signatories to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative — which requires signers to commit to an investment strategy aligned with achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”
The emissions-free initiative has robbed states rich in fossil fuels such as West Virginia from critical investment as firms shy away from projects threatening to bring down their ESG scores, i.e., left-wing social capital.
Researchers at AAF highlighted several influential individuals in particular involved with the three major firms’ “stewardship” teams responsible for mediating shareholder engagement. BlackRock’s Jon Rosen, the author of Fink’s annual letter to shareholders, for example, is an alum of the Obama administration and worked on the former president’s 2008 campaign. While at BlackRock, Rosen donated to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential effort, according to the report. In May, Rosen charged Republicans with supporting “mass murder” one day after a shooting in Buffalo left 10 dead.
AAF also highlighted the radical left-wing activism of State Street Vice President of Asset Stewardship Holly Fetter, who is on the board of several left-wing groups including the Soros-funded North Star Fund. Since 2016, the North Star Fund has received more than $850,000 from Democrat mega-donor George Soros. In August 2020, the group sponsored an event to “abolish, defund, reform,” police.
Fetter’s resume also includes a stint at Stanford University where she co-taught a course titled, “What is whiteness?”
At Vanguard, John Galloway is the firm’s global head of investment stewardship. Galloway previously worked in President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget and served with the National Economic Council. After his time in the administration, Galloway led “Future44,” a group at Georgetown University to help fellow alumni of the Obama White House find private-sector employment.